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by Abigail Van Buren

Pastor Sells Truck for Parts and Takes Widow for a Ride

DEAR ABBY: Last year, my husband of 36 years died. My pastor came over a few days later to help me clean up my yard because my husband was a pack rat. I did not realize that some of the items I thought were junk were valuable. My pastor took the items, sold them for scrap and kept the money for himself. He also took my husband's truck to his shop, stripped it and sold the parts.

I have tried calling him but he won't answer or return my calls. I tried talking to him after church only to have him shut the door in my face. I have written him a letter -- no response.

Abby, I don't want to take my pastor to court. I'm beginning to lose my faith. What should I do? -- LOSING MY FAITH IN KINSTON, N.C.

DEAR LOSING YOUR FAITH: My gut reaction is to scream, "Call the cops!" The man you have described is a wolf in shepherd's clothing and it could save other trusting widows from being fleeced as you have been. If you can't bring yourself to take that "pastard" to civil court, at least report these thefts to the judicatory or regional board of your denomination so they can deal with him.