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"Trinity OKs easement, gives away the money"
"Freeland's Exxon gas station developers will get their sewer pipe easement from nearby Trinity Lutheran Church.The church's board of directors last week granted the easement, and in the process accepted a donation of $10,000 from A-OOK, the developers of the Exxon gas station project.The church won't keep the money, however. Instead, $5,000 will go to South Whidbey's Helping Hand charity, and the other $5,000 will go to the Friends of Freeland, earmarked for their community property acquisition project.In a letter to the community explaining the decision, Pastor Jim Lindus framed the decision in terms of the church's mission to make service and hospitality the cornerstone of our ministry.The Exxon project has been controversial, as Lindus obliquely acknowledged. Occasionally our mission gets us in trouble, he wrote.However, the directors decided the neighborly thing was to grant the easement. Without it, the Exxon developers would have had to take a more expensive route down the highway to the gas station's septic drainfield, or perhaps attempt to build through an existing easement that cuts through a wetland on church property.The decision also benefits the rest of the community, while doing nothing to retire the church's own construction debt. We are trying to serve all the people, Lindus wrote. We are trying to point to a better way.Lindus' entire letter will be published in Saturday's South Whidbey Record. "