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Got an unpaid parking ticket? If you're in the Boise, Idaho, area on Dec. 12, you're in luck: A group of outreach-motivated followers of Christ will pay off your ticket for you—no strings attached.

The event, called the Grace Gift Parable, is the brainchild of a coalition of local pastors, leaders and business professional. It was first held in 2004 when believers gathered to pay off $7,500 in tickets. The following year, the Grace Gift Parable supplied free gasoline to complete strangers.

"It’s an example of grace,” says Dennis Mansfield, a former worker for nonprofit Mission Media, which helped organize the event. “Grace is unearned. It’s an unmerited favor. At this time of the season, we want to show God’s grace. In the process, we help families.”

According to Montie Ralstin Jr., pastor at Boise Valley Christian Communion, the outreach is a perfect opportunity to show people the forgiveness Christ offers, regardless of what mistakes people have made. “We want to help people understand, in a practical way, that even though we’ve all made mistakes, God’s grace and forgiveness is received, just by asking.”

The group of pastors present will pay off tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis until 1 p.m. or until $10,000 is spent, whichever comes first. [AP, 12/4/09]

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