Wednesday, 31 December 2008


We've had a few problems over the last few days. On Christmas Day, we had a theft of money and of a parishioner's coat. Yesterday, a hat was taken. Today we had vandalism in the church. I suspect that the same person was responsible for all these offences. So I phoned the police. These days there is only one line for the whole of Sussex (I didn't want to phone the emergency 999 [=911]). Although I phoned during working hours (4.30pm), the phone rang for twenty minutes without an answer, and even without a voice to tell me that my call was important, and the lines were busy. Just, no answer.
So I've locked the church. 

How sad.

Happy new year to you all.


gemoftheocean said...

That's very sad. Particularly the vandalism. When I was a youngster, over 40 years ago, someone had stolen a sweater in church and it was shocking then. I'm afraid this is becomming more common. We still keep the church open from a little before morning Mass, when the regulars come in, until just before dark. (A little before 5pm here now. The hat and coat are bad enough (you may have a tramp in that case.) But the vandalism is just evil. There's no need for that. What's worse when you can't get the police. Our church is in the middle of a tourist area, so there are always people coming and going ... which is GOOD ... but even we have had incidents over the years. 20+ years ago someone had hidden in the church and done damage to both the 4th station and a statue of the Blessed Mother. What incensed the priest in residence at the time in particular, was they couldn't be "bothered" to come and take a report, fingerprints, etc. But in serving Mass that morning, it was obvious had they even DONE their jobs, there might have been a change at catching the guy...because it was CLEAR that at the base of one of the candle sticks was the same chalk like substance the statue was made from. Gee, can we dust for fingerprints. That rankles to this day. I'm sure if a MUSLIM mosque were damaged today it would be world-wide news? Catholic church? "You people should hire security guards." That attitude. Move along, Nothing to see here.

(can some sort of security came be installed?) Everyone has to suffer, and life is less enjoyable, because SOME people have to ruin it for everyone.

Jane said...


I was so sorry to read your news.
And Fr Blake had a murder close to his church a few days ago. Difficult to celebrate the New Year with confidence, but in Christ's name we do and must. May he strengthen you and all priestsas you go forward into 2009.

Adrienne said...

Happy New Year, Father. Thank you for your wonderful blog and for being a priest.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can put up a sign declaring your awareness of what's going on and offering to help with clothing or money. Or just leave a certain amount in the alms box for the thief and a coat similar to the one stolen. I once remember a story in Sa'di's Gulestan where a thief broke into the house of a poor saint. The saint pretended to be asleep, but knowing he had nothing to steal, he pushed the rug he prayed on in a place where the thief was sure to see it so the thief would not leave his house disappointed.

PeterHWright said...

If anyone broke into my flat to steal anything, he'd leave disappointed. In fact, he'd probably leave a tip. In any case, most of the stuff belongs to the landlords.

LuisLiviaLuisa said...

A Holy and Happy Feast of the Epiphany!
I invite you to listen a special episode dedicated to the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord.
32 minutes of Christmas carols in many languages, something about Russian Christmas also celebrated during this week, a meditation by Father Roberto Mena, some traditions about this feast and much more…
Jesus loves you and Mary too.
Luisa from Lima - Peru
You can listen to it in:
“God is shining forth in the most unwanted and unsuspected places…” St. Anthony Messenger

Anonymous said...

We had a similar situation a while back. We informed the police and worked quite closely with the Local Special Constable/ Community Police Person or what ever they are called. It turned out that the culprits were responsible for far more than just slight damage to our church and that the police had a file. The knowledge that we were willing to involve the police actually prevoked them into greater vandalism not just to the church but to property belonging to members of the congregation, and that was enough for the police to come down quite hard. That was the end of it, ( for the moment at least). I think it is so important to keep the church open.