Pastor charged with using church money to pay for trips

A pastor is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his former church in Ottawa County.
Apr 16, 2014

Gary Petersen, a former pastor of Wellspring Church in Hudsonville, is facing two counts of embezzlement for allegedly using church money for his personal vacations. He's out on a $2,000 bond and scheduled to be arraigned April 23.

Court documents show how Petersen allegedly stole about $3,000 with a credit card that church leaders didn't know about. The documents allege Petersen opened an American Express card connected to a Wellspring Church bank account in 2006.

Investigators say Petersen charged about $1,400 on the credit card for a cruise in Italy with his wife in 2010. Then, Petersen allegedly spent about $1,500 from the credit card to pay for a resort vacation in Avon, Colo.

Before the investigation began in September 2013, Petersen left the church and is now pastor of Rock Church in Grandville.

Wellspring Church released a statement saying, "The greatest desire and intention of Wellspring Church is to move forward and to keep its focus on Christ with the ongoing ministry of the church. We ask others to respect the privacy of this matter and not to engage the interests of those who only wish to highlight the moral failures of (a) Christian leader."

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