12 March 2019 | According to Barbados Today, Danforth Francis, president of the Barbados-based East Caribbean Conference of the Adventist Church, has spoken out against what he sees as a trend of people trying to prey on the generosity of church members in order to defraud them.
His comments were linked to an incident last month that took place in Government Hill SDA Church in Bridgetown, Barbados.
A man at the church reportedly tricked members out of $100 ($50 USD) by saying that he wanted to make a donation to prison ministry but needed change for a $100 bill.
“It seems someone attempted to change the money and gave him $100 in change without receiving $100 from him. Apparently, the man said he would have to go out to his car and get the money and then he disappeared,” said Francis.
He said that the willingness of some members to help the apparently needy made them targets.
“This particular situation is the first I’ve heard about, but we’ve heard of situations where people come to the church seeking help and they may not be individuals who need help, but are using the same concept of us being a loving, sharing and helping community and thinking that they can abuse those circumstances,” said Francis.
The leader said that local churches would be increasing security efforts.
“We have to be careful and smart and the church needs to put in place a number of precautions for security. Let no one think that because this happened that any church in Barbados is open for that type of behaviour. I reject that because there is no excuse, regardless of how poor you are. We don’t have to steal and we don’t have to abuse each other,” said Francis.
The East Caribbean Conference of the Adventist Church, which is comprised of the islands of Barbados and Dominica, had 26,853 members as of June 30, 2018, according to the denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research.