2 Churches Robbed In Less Than 2 Weeks - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


2 Churches Robbed In Less Than 2 Weeks

Early Sunday morning, a passerby noticed the back door of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church was bashed in. The church staff thinks it happened sometime between midnight and 7:30 a.m.

When the thieves noticed the dead bolt was locked, they went around to the front door and were able to walk right in because the sanctuary here is always open.

Father William Russell, the rector at St. Matthew's says that's important to his congregation's spiritual life.

"I have frequently come into church, and found someone there praying or meditating," says Russell.

Once inside, the burglars didn't take the high-tech sound equipment or the expensive communion silver. Instead, they kicked open an interior door,  headed into the office and went for something they probably thought was a lot more valuable, a locked safe.

Inside the now missing safe was the parish record, a document containing every birth, confirmation, marriage and death in the church's 72 year history. It's meaningless to the people who stole it, but invaluable to the congregation whose story it tells.

"The literal recording of events in these people's lives would be lost in the event we don't get that back," says Russell.

Church member Marty Brown says she's sad, but not surprised, that someone took advantage of their open door policy.

"I feel it's the times in which we live," says Brown.

As a minister, Father Russell says he's worried about the spiritual well-being of whoever stole the safe from the church. As the leader of this congregation, he's pleading for them to return it with no questions asked.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com


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