The past year-plus churches have found creative ways to keep the faith while limiting in-person services and functions.
As it became safer to rejoice together, Winnetka Covenant Church was excited to have a vehicle to enable more unity in its congregation — a personalized shuttle bus funded by a congregant.
And just like that, it was gone.
The church’s new bus was reportedly stolen from its parking lot in the early hours of Wednesday, Aug. 11.
According to a Wilmette police report, the church at 1200 Hibbard Road in Wilmette was broken into overnight, when windows were shattered to gain entry. Police Cmdr. Michael Robinson said the bus’s keys were taken from inside the building and used to steal the vehicle.
Church officials said it did not appear anything else was taken.
Jen Christianson, the church’s pastor of congregational life, the bus was purchased in July.
“It’s obviously a huge loss for us,” she said. “ … Any church coming back together in person after a year and a half of not being together in the ways we love … there’s a lot of sadness, and for the beloved member of the church who financed the purchase is particularly hurtful.”
The bus transports seniors from Covenant Living of Northbrook, a retirement community at 2625 Techny Road.
Christianson said the church had plans to also use it to take church youth on retreats to Michigan and Lake Geneva.
Prior to the new purchase, she said, Winnetka Covenant Church rented a large van to pick up the seniors from Covenant Living and to drive youth on retreats.
The new bus features the name of the church along its side, she said.
As of press time, police have not seen “any sign of the bus yet,” Robinson said.
Christianson hopes insurance can replace the vehicle.
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