Old Newlands church burgled, vandalised

| April 2, 2010

ONE of the Eastern Cape’s oldest churches faces a bleak Easter this year after the 156-year-old church was vandalised, with historic artefacts stolen in a spate of burglaries.

Parishioners of St Luke’s Mission in Newlands, established in 1854, will not be holding church services this holy weekend following the thefts , which stripped the church of all its electric wiring, a chalice, all silverware, ciboriums and a R10 000 lawn mower.

This is the fourth time the church has been burgled in three weeks.

Canon Louis Flint said what was most devastating for him was the loss of the one of the biggest pieces of history the church owned – their 100-year-old brass bell weighing about 50kg.

“This is a huge tragedy for us. That bell is over 100 years old and was imported from Scotland,” an emotional Flint told the Daily Dispatch yesterday.

Flint said when he arrived at the church he just wanted to cry.

“This just had to happen at a time where we are going to start building 200 houses for indigent people,” he said.

In 2008, the church decided to redistribute about 220 hectares of land to the people of the impoverished community.

The land was given to them in 1850 by a chief to use for Christian worship, education and medical work.

A residential community consisting of about 200 low-cost houses will be built thanks to the church this year.

The robbers, who left tyre tracks in front of the church gate and a black cap under the tree, broke windows and doors to gain entrance.

Broken glass from the vandalised fluorescent lights was scattered on the floor and communion wafers littered the office floor.

All the electric wiring, replaced on Monday following a previous break-in, was ripped from the walls and plugs were pulled off the walls.

“They just ripped out everything … some of this is just pure vandalism,” he said.

Flint said the last time he reported a break-in, Vulindlela police station took five days to respond.

Police spokesperson Captain Mluleki Mbi confirmed a case of housebreaking had been opened. No arrests have been made. — By ASA SOKOPO, [email protected]



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Category: Church Security