Church Receives Gold Coins in Offering Plate

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MANSFIELD, OH -- Do you believe in miracles?  A church in Mansfield received one just days before Christmas and it has all the parishioners talking.

The First Congregational Church in Mansfield got quite a surprise on Sunday morning.

"It's a miracle for us and it could be an angel we rubbed elbows with all during the year and didn't know it," said Senior Minister Bruce Haapalainen.

The miracle was discovered following an early morning chapel service.

"This had to be an intentional act of putting it in the collection plate and they were in plastic wrappers so someone knew they had value and worth," said Haapalainen.

What was placed inside the offering plate were two coins valued at over $2,200, according to a coin expert at Williard Coin Exchange in Mansfield, where the coins sit today.

"It's two $20 Liberty gold pieces. Their main value is the fact that their just under an ounce of gold a piece, which makes them worth in the $1,200 a piece range," the expert said.

The anonymous donation took place after the 8:30 a.m. chapel service, which was attended by fewer than 50 people, most of them regulars. There were two couples who did not sign the guest book, but it remains a mystery of who left the donation.

"I think it's amazing," said Program Director Ellen Eckert. "It's wonderful and the fact that the person is anonymous makes it extra special."

"It says a lot about their character. I think it's a loving gesture. Like I said, it's in the true meaning and the spirit of Christmas.  You know, it's not important who gives, it's that you gave," said Jennifer Tetrick, Youth and Children's Director

Haapalainen says the church exchanged the coins for the $2,200 cash and plans on using the money to follow it's mission.

"We really tried to turn our attention this year more towards the community. We've developed a mission project in the community to support one in the world," he said.

The coins were dated 1903 and 1906, but they are not as rare as one may think.

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