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Baptists commit cardinal sin of investing

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Baptists commit cardinal sin of investing
10:41 CET+01:00
A rocky day on the stock market last January cost an association of Baptist parishes in northern Sweden two million kronor ($317,000) worth of collections funds in a matter of hours.

Officials from the association, Baptists of Västernorrland, suspect the association's money management firm of criminal negligence and have reported the firm to police, according to Sveriges Television.

The association had relied on the firm to manage their money for quite some time.

“Because things had gone so well in the past, the temptation had been great to continue to put our money there,” said Bodil Eriksson, a pastor in the Stöde Baptist parish, located near Sundsvall in northern Sweden.

When asked by news agency TT, Eriksson admitted that the association was indeed guilty of putting all its eggs in one basket.

“Yes, that's accurate. It wasn't always like that, but last year it ended up that way,” he said.

A cashier from the association went to make a withdrawal to cover routine monthly expenses a few weeks only to discover there was no money in the account.

An examination into the incident revealed that the Baptists of Västernorrland were not alone in their misfortune.

According to unconfirmed reports, the money management firm's holdings were reduced by 50 million kronor in a matter of hours.

“All the money has disappeared. It was a shock for everyone involved. The company says that a series of unfortunate incidents took place,” said Eriksson.

The losses came from funds originally collected from members of the Sundsvall Mission Union, one of about twenty Baptist parishes that make up the Baptists of Västernorrland association.

The returns from the invested donations had been so strong that other parishes in the association were able to make withdrawals to cover employee-related and other expenses.

Attempts to reach the investment firm implicated in the case for comment were unsuccessful.

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