A Southwick church received an early Christmas gift when an anonymous donor pledged to give the financially troubled parish more than $1 million.
The man donated $500,000 to the Christ Lutheran Church up front, and pledged to match up to $1 million more of what the congregation can raise elsewhere over the next three years, said Pastor Jeff King.
The donor is from another part of the country, and has never attended services at Christ Lutheran.
“He said he really believed in our vision,’’ King said. “He said that we are making a difference in the lives of children and that we we’re doing an excellent job of that.’’
King said the church has two child care centers that are responsible for about 150 children, including infants and pupils who attend before- and after-school programs.
“We provide them with early childhood education and we also provide them with Christian values and a Christian background,’’ King said.
The donation will be used to pay off debt the church acquired on its mortgage since the recession began.
“We thought of this as kind of like a Christmas miracle,’’ King said. “We didn’t expect it. It kind of came out of the blue to us and we were just speechless.’’