ANCHORAGE -

A bible at the front of the sanctuary in First United Methodist Church, next to the park strip in Downtown Anchorage, is still open to Matthew 28 two days after Easter.

The chapter tells the story of an angel warning two women named Mary that Jesus had risen from the grave. The women get the 11 disciples of Christ to head to a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where Christ urges the group to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." 

Like many churches around town, a larger than usual crowd showed up at First United on Easter to hear the biblical stories and to celebrate the day.

"We had a beautiful service, about 200 people," said Jennifer Miller, the church's administrative assistant. But it seems like someone, maybe one of the people in the crowd that day, was actually just scouting an easy target to burglarize.

Rev. Ronald Myers arrived Monday morning and realized the safe was broken into. All the offerings inside were gone.

"Someone had spent, it must have been hours, stealing all of our Easter offering," Miller said.

The money would have been split between keeping the lights on and various efforts to give back to the community.

The church supports charities around town, including shelters like Brother Francis, Abused Women's Aid in Crisis and Clare House.

To lose what people had given on a day like last Sunday is a significant blow.

"It puts us in a bind," Miller said. "Christmas and Easter are the two biggest offerings a church receives."

The church plans to improve its security measures, and the Anchorage Police Department is investigating the incident.

APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro said no forced entry was found, and no suspect information is available.