Freed pastor from Hudson's Christ Community Chapel to return to U.S. later this week

by TIM TROGLEN | HUDSON HUB-TIMES REPORTER Published:

Tom Randall, a pastor at Hudson's Christ Community Chapel, will return to the United States later this week, according to the church.

"Randall plans to return to the U.S. later this week and will remain employed with Christ Community Chapel as a pastor at large," according to a Feb. 3 news release from the church.

Randall, who was hired by the church in September, was released from a Philippine jail around 6 a.m. Feb. 3 after being held for 22 days after a charge of negligence, stemming from a human trafficking case, was dropped by Filipino officials.

The pastor was arrested Jan. 12 along with Toto and Jake Luchavez, who are workers at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage, Randall founded. Toto and Jake Luchavez remain in custody.

"We're encouraged and relieved that the investigation into this accusation returned no evidence of wrongdoing on Tom's part," The Rev. Joe Coffey, lead pastor at Christ Community Chapel, said Feb. 3. "We remain concerned for the orphans without a home to return to in Lucena City and will do all we can to care for them."

About than 30 children from the orphanage were taken during the investigation, according to a post on the Free Tom Randall Facebook page, which is not affiliated or operated by the church.

"Many of the boys have been found," according to the post. "However, they don't know where the girls are. He, and others, are working to find them all, and to make sure they are safe, secure, and cared for."

The orphans were removed, detained and questioned, according to a Jan. 23 church press release. Some orphans were released, but the orphanage had already been closed by government officials.

"Our fervent hope is for the safety and care of the children removed from Sankey Samaritan," Coffey said Jan. 23.

Randall, of Stow, is a former pro basketball player in the Philippines and chaplain of the PGA Champions Tour. Randall founded the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage and World Harvest Ministries and has been a missionary to the Philippines for more than 20 years.

"He went over to the Philippines to do relief work for the typhoon and visit his orphanage," Coffey said Jan. 16.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

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