The season of Advent was about to begin when someone made off with the tree Faith Lutheran Church in Courtenay had planned to cut down for Christmas.
Now, because of some local generosity, the church community will have its Christmas tree this holiday season.
Pastor Tim Rumsch told the Comox Valley Record that Faith Lutheran immediately received a tree from Doveside Christmas Tree Farm in Courtenay, which came forward after the story about the theft broke. The Doveside connection happened in part through a friend of his son.
“We actually had two people offer,” he says. “I’m totally surprised.”
The church also heard from Harold Macy about a tree but already received the Doveside offer. For Rumsch, these acts of generosity from local people serve as a reminder of the meaning of Christmas.
“In a way, it turned out to be a real blessing,” he said.
Mike Day of Doveside said he was alerted to the story from his son, who saw it online.
“As soon as I heard, I thought, ‘That’s not right,’” he said.
Day, who is Presbyterian, realized the theft would deprive a whole congregation of its tree this holiday season, and for him, the trees are as much about spreading Christmas spirit as they are a business.
“It’s a whole congregation that would’ve been robbed,” he said. “It was the least we could do…. It’s from our congregation to theirs.”
Rumsch says he was surprised by the reaction to the story, as he even received a request for a TV interview. He also heard from his son in Victoria immediately, who had already heard about the news story online. Likewise, the offer of the tree arrived almost instantly. When Rumsch spoke to the newspaper, it was on his Monday off, so he did not expect to come into his office on the Tuesday to find the discover about the donation.
Their fir tree had been stolen over the night of Saturday, Nov. 30, just before Advent began that Sunday. The church had considered cutting down the fir, which had been growing too close to the building, a few days earlier but Rumsch wanted to wait until closer to Christmas.