Rockford church looks to community for help, new grill needed

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:45 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A valuable possession stolen from a Rockford church prompts leaders to raise money so they can continue serving the community.

The stole grill had been a part of the church for more than 20 years. Parishioners and leaders cooked meals for kids, the community and the homeless, but that ability was stripped from them overnight.

Just 24 hours before a Christian Union Baptist Church had a troubling realization, it hosted 200 people for a “Back-to-School” event. Providing fun games, giving away free backpacks and grilling delicious good. When the morning came, the grill was gone.

“I had been cooking on that grill for almost 20 years,” said Daryl Stephens, who has been an elder with the church for years.

Stephens says cooking is his passion. Especially when he’s feeding the community. His dream is to feed the homeless, but without a grill he’s not sure if it’s possible.

“I’m getting older by the day and I wanna make that dream come true and we want to have an impact on the community,” he said.

While he didn’t file a police report, he says he did post about it on Facebook with the hope someone would come forward. Church members say they are in disbelief someone would steal from them.

“I was amazed. It’s such a large unit,” said Constance Sturdivant, a member of the church.

“It was custom made. Something that we couldn’t just ordinarily go out and buy,” said Dennia James, another member of the church.

Because of the large size of the grill, some members think it was a pre-meditated plan to take it. They are sure someone scoped out the layout during one of their events, but they won’t let this stop them from doing what they do best; serving the community.

“This does not stop us at all. If anything it continues to energize us to continue and do more,” said Sturdivant.

“We are a small congregation with a big heart. We love our community and we want to be a blessing,” said James.

Stephens tells me once the church is able to buy a new grill, they will chain it down to the concrete to make sure this never happens again.

If you would like to help Christian Union Baptist Church raise fund for a new grill, you can visit their Go-Fund-Me page at