Crucifix smashed and statue of Jesus has its arms ripped off at Sidbury church
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 29 March 2018
A crucifix was smashed and a statue of Jesus had its arms ripped off at Sidbury’s church - days before one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar.
Congregation members were left upset after discovering the damage on Tuesday, especially as it was inflicted during Holy Week.
Police officers were called to St Giles’ Church, in Church Lane, at about 2.20pm.
The Reverend Susie Williams said litter, a pair of hubcaps and a street sign were left strewn around the porch and two signs in the churchyard were broken.
All the notices from the notice board were also ripped down.
Mrs Williams added that, inside the church, various items had been moved around and a box of goods for the food bank had been emptied and spread across the floor.
She said two chairs were smashed up and muddy footprints had been left on the altar, as if someone had been ‘dancing’.
“Most distressingly for the congregation, the culprit used the removable piece of the altar rail to smash up the large crucifix of Jesus on the rood screen,” said Mrs Williams.
“The ancient altar rail was damaged in the process.
“Jesus’ arms were broken off, which is particularly poignant at this time of year when Christians recall how Jesus was rejected, beaten and finally killed by those he came to save.”
Churchwarden Pam Ward said: “It is very upsetting. It is a Holy Week which personally means a lot to me.
“It is very sad, but we will clean it up and hopefully get the carpenter to see what he can do to repair the damage.”
Mrs Ward said all the arranged Easter events at the church will take place as normal.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said officers were called to the scene after concern was raised for the welfare of a man within St Giles’ Church. He added: “Police attended and minor damage had been caused to some wooden chairs and a wooden statue.
“A 25-year-old man was detained under the mental health act and is currently receiving support from professionals.”
The Easter Sunday service at St Peter’s Church, Sidford, will be the last service Mrs Williams leads as the vicar of Sidbury, Sidford and Woolbrook before she moves to a new role as the rector at St Margaret’s Church in Chipstead.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.