NORTHEAST COBB, Ga. — Unity North Atlanta Church on Sandy Plains Road in Northeast Cobb, Georgia, received an unusual gift last week from a generous churchgoer: winning lottery tickets.
The church member, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated three Georgia Lottery tickets totaling more than $4,000 to the northeast Cobb institution.
Staff claimed the prize on behalf of the church Aug. 1.
The Rev. Richard Burdick said the money would go toward the church's mortgage and monthly bills.
"The country is in a recession, and we, along with other spiritual communities, have been affected by it," he said. "We are very grateful for this donation. We've held fast to the principles we teach that the universe supports us and prosperity comes in unexpected ways."
The donor, who is a regular lottery player, gave his first two winning tickets totaling about $3,000 to the church on July 31, Burdick said. On his way home after services, the donor bought another winning ticket for about $1,000, which he presented to the church the next day.
Staff member Al Mango said the donor was using a spiritual practice of good begetting good.
"The more you give, the more you get," Mango said. "His motive was to help the church, and his goal is to pay off the church's mortgage."
The first two winning KENO! tickets were purchased at the QuickTrip at 671 North Cobb Parkway in Marietta on July 28. The second ticket was sold by the Chevron Food Mart at 1023 Sandy Plains Road in northeast Cobb.
While some institutions may frown upon the lottery because it is a form of gambling, Burdick said his church neither condemns nor condones it.
"We believe in the power of personal choice," he said. "Our church does not gamble the gifts we receive, and we do not encourage our congregants to do so. But we are not going to judge a member that has made the decision to play the lottery. We don't see it as being against God or not."
Mango said the gesture has had an inspiring effect on the church community.
"Sometimes people stand out and do remarkably generous things," he said. "His spirit lifted up the church as it goes through an economy that is challenging."
Founded more than 30 years ago, the church is part of the Unity faith movement, which is based on Christianity and an individuals' right to choose a spiritual path that supports the notion of one God. The church, which has between 350 and 550 members, moved to its seven-acre campus about 11 years ago.
(Click to display in gallery)
Thanks to truesee for the tip.