September 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
A burglary at a 14th Century church was last night described as a “violation”.
A silver tablet box, three silver phials of Holy oil in a velvet bag and a 15oz silver ciborium – a chalice on a stand with a lid with a cross on the top – have been stolen from St Michael’s Church, Framlingham.
Someone entered the church and took the items between midnight on Sunday, April 27 and 5pm on Saturday, May 3.
The items were stolen from the aumbry of the church, which was also taken.
Churchwarden Sandra Cartwright said: “The aumbry is a special safe which is kept in a church for the consecrated oils, communion wafers and consecrated wine.
“It’s a very ornate box and it usually has a candle lit above it.”
Mrs Cartwright also said that a pyx was stolen, which is silver and like a pill box. It is normally used to transport communion wafers to people who are sick.
It is not the first time that the church has been targeted in recent months. In February a fire was discovered in the altar after thieves broke into the vestry and attempted to steal charity cash boxes.
A handbag containing a purse, cash, cards and a mobile phone was also stolen from the church earlier in that same month.
Mrs Cartwright said: “I felt very upset and to be honest it was the fact that it was this special aumbry that was taken. That is distressing. It’s a violation. It’s an important Christian symbol.”
She added that the oils were very important as they were collected on Maundy Thursday to be used through the year. The oil is used for services such as baptisms and communions.
One of the items stolen was donated to the church.
She added: “It’s all very special. We will now have to change the lock and replace the vessels, probably at our own expense.”
However there are no plans to close the church, which is open to the public from 8.30am-5pm everyday.
Mrs Cartwright said: “The church is there for everybody.”
Police have stressed that the burglary is not related to any other incidents that have happened at the church in the past.
Anyone with information about the burglary or if you know the whereabouts of the items, call Pc Mark Williams at Halesworth police station on 101 quoting reference LE/14/423, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.