Man arrested for burglarizing Raleigh church asks for forgiveness, joins congregation

Man arrested for burglarizing Raleigh church asks for forgiveness, joins congregation

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Forgiveness through faith -- that’s what Pastor Henry Lavender says Living Life in Victory Church is all about.

"We all make mistakes, but we look for somebody to give us a chance,” said Lavender.

Deandre Bramlett asked Pastor Lavender and the church for a second chance just a few days ago.

"It just feels good to know that I'm forgiven. My spirit feels high,” said Bramlett.

It didn’t always feel that way for Bramlett. Back in January, he was arrested after police say he burglarized the Raleigh church, stealing copper and causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

"It’s kind of fast money, then I got involved with it,” said Bramlett.

After the arrest, Bramlett says the guilt started to set in.

"I was kind of upset about what I done because it was a stupid mistake that could have been avoided,” said Bramlett.

He called Pastor Lavender.

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"On the phone he said, ‘This is Deandre. I want the church to forgive me for what I’ve done’ and I was stunned for a minute. I had to catch my breath. That this is really happening,” said Lavender as he recalled the phone call.

The pastor and his congregation forgave Bramlett. They even threw him a 25th birthday party.

"(We) receive anybody regardless of what they’ve done in the past. That’s what church is supposed to do,” said Lavender.

This turned an opportunity to steal into an opportunity to heal.

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"Ever since then they’ve just been showing me love and I’ve been kind of getting blessed in a certain kind of way,” said Bramlett. "Should no one be afraid to ask for forgiveness. It’s either they’re going to forgive you or they’re not.”

Bramlett is due back in court later this month.

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