Born-again Christians robbed at gunpoint during service
Up to 40 born-again Christians have been robbed at gunpoint during a service in Dublin.
The incident happened at the Compassion Centre in Ballymun at about midday on Sunday.
The congregation were forced to lie on the ground after being threatened with a sawn off shotgun.
Senior pastor John Eniola said it had been a “frightening” experience, but that he forgave the gunman and prayed for him.
He said: “He put a gun to one of the members’ heads, gave him a bag and told him to collect the money and phones. He did that and then he fled.
“It was frightening but we all stayed calm and did not struggle.”
The congregation were ordered to empty their pockets, hand over bags, purses and mobile phones before the robber fled in a stolen blue Fiat Panda.
There were also a number of children in the centre at the time.
Mr Eniola, who had been sitting at the front of the building, added: “He came in through the back door. He had a balaclava covering his face. He came in with a gun, a shotgun, and he was shouting ‘everybody to the ground, bring out your money, your wallets and your phones.’ He said ‘I am not joking, if any of you move, I will shoot’.
“Thankfully nobody was hurt. There was no fire.
“For a moment it was frightening because this man was carrying a gun. We have never seen anything like that before but we pray for him, we forgive him and we would like to see him in church.
“We knew it was a robbery because he was threatening and just asking for wallets and money. If it had been a terror attack it would have been different.
“We suspect it was a man looking for money to buy drugs.”
The Compassion Centre is involved in evangelism and set up its Ballymun outreach centre about a year ago to provide help for the homeless and those with addiction problems.
Gardai have appealed for information.
A spokesman said: “The matter is still being investigated.”