For ten weeks bands of parishioners gathered nightly at First Baptist Church of Maine, New York, to pray for the safe return of their pastor, Donald LaRose. The 34-year-old minister disappeared on Tuesday, November 4, under mysterious circumstances involving suggestions of foul play by Satan worshipers. As of late last month he was still missing. The prayer meetings, however, ended abruptly at mid-month when the official board of the 150-member church announced it had terminated the pastoral relationship.

Head deacon William Brigham, a printer, said an extensive investigation indicated that LaRose had planned his own disappearance. Yet authorities and private investigators were unable to establish any motive. LaRose was in good health, family members and close friends told CHRISTIANITY TODAY that they had noted no changes in his personality, there were no major hassles at church, and his wife Eunice said there were no family tensions (the couple have two daughters, ages 10 and 13). He had little life insurance, he was abreast of debts and taxes, he had told his family and friends he was happy in the ministry, and no amorous connections were uncovered. Neighbors described him as “the happiest man on the street.”

“We’re at our wit’s end,” said Adam LaRose, the minister’s father, a business executive in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In a statement issued to the news media, Eunice LaRose appealed for her husband to return home. Despite the problems caused by his sudden disappearance, she said, “we can work things out.”

LaRose grew up in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area, where he attended the large Calvary Independent Church with his parents and sister. After graduating from Moody Bible Institute, where he met Eunice, he returned to Lancaster ...

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