Page 1 of 1

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:47 am
by Ernest
Our Church suffered a burglary on Friday afternoon. Someone managed to break through a window in the church office and searched. Most things were locked, so they found a laptop and took it. The office door was locked so they didn't get any further to take anything else. Also, that evening, someone forced a side door to our church hall, again an untidy search, but everything was locked up and as far as we can see, nothing was taken.

The response to the burglary from local people has been astonishing. A new laptop is being delivered by a donor today and a local company is offering to install an alarm and CCTV free of charge.

We love our local community and they turned out in solidarity yesterday to our Summer Fayre and the conversation was about "How can people steal from a church" and real support and some cash donations to assist our mission and ministry.

We might be in an urban town on the outskirts of London, but local people call Belvedere "The Village" as it has a village atmosphere. And people love their local church, even though we only have 140 on our electoral roll. Many more come to Remembrance and social events and support our uniformed groups. We have much to be thankful for our supportive community. I have to say that we have five other churches in our "Village" and many people belong to them, so the worshiping community is much broader than just us. :minicandle: :minicandle:

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:54 am
by Emle
So sorry to hear of both break-ins and the damage caused at both the Church and church hall. Losing a lap top can sometimes mean the loss of so much more than the value of a replacement. Hard to believe that someone was bold enough to return the same evening.
What a wonderful community response though with the donations of a replacement lap top and CCTV and alarm which will give you all peace of mind against future attempts.


Burglary at our Church

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:58 am
by Caroline
How lovely that your church has such a warm place in the heart of the community.

:votive2: :votive2: :votive2: for those who saw it as something to be targeted for their own gain.

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:06 pm
by Joe Parrish
Our church had a theft of all of its communion sets in 2013 soon after I retired. One piece dating from WWI was recovered last week by vestry persons, etc., buying it at a discount on Ebay after being alerted by an outsider of its presence and engravings which made it obvious that it was the church's. Be aware of Ebay sales of 'closed church items', and if you see something, please say something, to that church...

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:40 am
by Ernest
The reaction to the burglary has demonstrated something for us. Our Mission Action Plan has at it's heart reaching out to the community, not just staying inside the Bricks and Mortar.

And on all of our activities a year or so ago, were centered on the Church Hall, but we made a decision that all events would include some activities in the church itself. So, that first year, hundreds came through the church doors for the first time, or more likely, the first time in many years.

It was lovely to meet people who remembered being children in the choir forty years before, or whose parents, grand parents were hatched, matched or despatched there in the last sixty or seventy years. People feel a real connection with the church, we have many funerals from families who might have moved away, but come back due to family graves in the corporation cemetery five minutes walk away, or ashes in our garden of remembrance.

And the connection thing, also brings us weddings as well. We have nine booked this year, many of them marrying here due to their qualifying connections. The church is just over 160 years old, built by the Lord of the Manor at the time as a Chapel of Ease for his workers on his estate, and extended through benefactors over time to be adopted as a Parish Church after the Lord's wife before dying expressed a wish for it to be adopted by the CofE. The Church was consecrated by Arch Bishop of Canterbury (Benson) in 1862. The first Vicar stayed for 30 years, building two daughter churches in that time.

Our tradition over the generations moved from early Evangelical, through relatively Anglo Catholic to our now, settled middle of the road tradition, inclusive and multi-cultural. Something like 12 languages are spoken by church members, representative of the diversity of our community.

Our annual multi-cultural service will be held next Sunday, and I will be reading the Psalm in Cockney to represent many of the people in the parish, who share my own London Heritage.

Kent will feature somewhere as many of the original families remain represented in our parish, so a prayer in their vernacular will be included.

As you can tell perhaps, I adore the place that I belong, who welcomed me when I first joined them, supported me through training for Licensed Ministry and continue to support me when I preach and lead. Somehow, we share a strong sense of humour, which helps as we journey together.

I thank God for the place, people and his action with us. :votive1:

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:06 am
by PaulMcP80
These stories are what makes me keep my faith these days. The condition of our world is appalling, and I'm someone who easily falls into despair... But seeing that, somewhere in the world, there are still such communities, communities that gather and help each other and keep traditions alive, warms my heart and reminds me I am on the right path. With so many sad stories about poverty, closing churches, pollution, wars, and political violence, it's good to see a little :votive2: clearing up the darkness when you lift your head.

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:00 am
by Joyce
PaulMcP80 wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:06 am
With so many sad stories about poverty, closing churches, pollution, wars, and political violence, it's good to see a little :votive2: clearing up the darkness when you lift your head.

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:51 am
by Ernest
Thanks for resurrecting this topic. The people in our community, many of whom are not church goers but come to our events, particularly fund raising events always gather around to help when needed.

There is a sense of ownership that it is "their" church, even if they don't come. It was founded 165 years ago, by the occupant of Belvedere House in the locality, who also gave his name to many local landmarks, including pubs and roads.

Belvedere House was pulled down before 1880. The Bell Tower was dismantled and now graces our Church with bell and clock. There are memorials to the family in the Church and a stone memorial in the Church Grounds to them. Our local CofE Secondary School sixth form are to do a citizenship project on that memorial and create a peace or respite garden, a place where people can come, sit and pray or just be in a space surrounded by planting and flowers.

Its is good so have such relationships and our Vicar is arranging for some young people doing community payback to assist in maintaining our grounds as well. Perhaps they will gain some inner peace and release from those demons that cause them to offend by working in our garden, which is beautiful, but many who maintain them are now in their seventies and eighties and slowing down a but.

Not a bad place to live, although a young man from our community was recently killed by knife crime in the borough, and his funeral is going to be with us once his body is released for burial. Sadness among the joy.

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:14 am
by Joyce
:votive2: For the bereaved and all involved.

Burglary at our Church

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:55 pm
by Joe Parrish
Metal 'repurposing' by those who feel they can just pull anything off anything is a problem in parts of the urban US since there are often companies who will buy metals; thus all our drainpipes were torn off, and we replaced them with PVC pipe, which apparently cannot be turned into drug money. However, metal plaques are also removable and turned into scraps well by addicts. A briefly abandoned rectory was broken into probably by someone who had come ostensibly to get a free food package, but who looked for a window easily broken into, and the entire plumbing system was removed. All houses that are briefly abandoned are treated the same say. So indeed there are enemies of the church.