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Church prays offender will change his life
I am the pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church. The Nov. 24 story about Nathan Evans coming to our church needs some clarifying. The journalist could have called me for comment rather than quoting from an email regarding our policies for protecting our children that was sent only to members.
Nathan Evans came to our church and was warmly received as were all the visitors. We did not know any of his history. He did not act in any way that caused anyone alarm. There were no incidents or issues.
He attended worship, adult Bible class and our Thanksgiving Dinner that evening. None of us knew Nathan or that he was just released from prison.
On Monday, while making copies of the notice of pending release of a level 3 sex offender in Oak Harbor for the pre-school to distribute to parents, one of our members recognized the picture as Nathan. We did not call the Sheriff’s Office with intent to “turn him in.” A member of our church phoned the sheriff to find out what rules if any should be followed when he visited again. The protection of our children and members is of highest priority. The detective came to speak with us that morning and indicated that he was in violation of the terms of his release. The officer told us that he must follow certain steps to be allowed to integrate into any church.
And the journalist could have quoted this paragraph of my email: “Finally, let us pray for Nathan. It is difficult for anyone to come back into society after time in prison. When he was here for worship and Bible class, he heard the good news that Jesus died for him. All who repent and believe in Jesus have that forgiveness. We pray that Nathan would have the joy of that forgiveness and the fruit of a new life.”
As a congregation, we continue to pray for Nathan. We are viewing his decision to visit a church as a desire to change his life and to make amends to those he has hurt.
Anyone who would like to ask me anything further about this may call me at the church’s office.
Pastor Juan Palm
Concordia Lutheran Church