A community has rallied around its church after it was burgled on Christmas Day.
Electrical equipment and silverware worth at least £20,000 was stolen from St Lleurwg’s Church in Hirwaun after its midnight mass service on Christmas Eve. The break-in was discovered by the priest-in-charge, the Revd Ceirion Rees and his parishioners when they arrived for their service on Christmas Day and found the church in a total mess.
As word of the break-in spread, local councillor Karen Morgan set up a crowdfunding page on the JustGiving site on Boxing Day to raise money to pay the excess on the Church’s insurance claim. She wrote, “I have been so touched by the Rev Cei Rees’s reaction to this crime but also by the reaction of members of the community who wish to make donations to go towards replacing the stolen items.
“All donations, however much you can spare, gratefully welcomed.”
Within five days more than £1,000 had been given and a further £1,000 was donated directly to the church.
Mr Rees said he has been overwhelmed by the response from the community. “I have always known that we have a very strong community here in Hirwaun but you don’t realise how much you are loved until something like this happens. People were shocked and outraged at the break-in and have shown great concern and love for the church. I have had many messages of support – people offering not just money but practical help and laptops to replace what was stolen. It has been incredible heartening.
“We are very grateful to Karen Morgan for setting up the JustGiving page and to all those who have donated. We now have enough money to cover the excess on the insurance and are looking at how we can invest the rest in a project to benefit the whole community.”
Among the items stolen was the church’s PA system, a crucifix, candles sticks, a chalice and a trolley used for the foodbank.
“On Christmas Day we were shocked and angry at first but we then gained a sense of perspective. People can steal things which we use or which have sentimental value but they can’t take the heart out of the church. We carried on our service and prayed for those who had been driven to steal from us, for whatever reason.”
You can see the JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/churchburglary.