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Chico church searching for stolen processional cross

Published On: Oct 27 2013 06:43:47 PM CDT
Chico church searching for stolen processional cross

The theft of an important symbol of the Christian church is not shaking the religious faith of parishioners at a Chico church.

"Stealing things from God has always impressed me as the irony, you can't do that, literally He'll follow you," says Father Peter Hansen of St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church on Salem Street. "Why would you do that? Why would you steal from God? Because He's always there."

But that's exactly what somebody did earlier this month when he or she stole the church's processional cross.

Father Hansen says the doors to the church sanctuary are always open so believers can offer devotions, as they have been for 18 years. 

But three weeks ago someone broke the eighth commandment--thou shalt not steal.

"In this one instance the processional cross, which had been here in this location that whole time and with this church for nearly 30 years, just simply disappeared," Hansen says. "Somebody came in and decided to take it away with them. And for that we're quite upset and sad."

It has now been three Sundays the church has been forced to hold service without the special cross.

"Definitely it's a beginning and an ending to the service, and some people pay reverence to it as it goes by," says church member, David Jackson. "And I'm not sure if it's worth a ton of money, but it's worth a lot to us and we've been using it for a long time."

Jackson says the brass cross on a wooden pole comes from England and has inscriptions etched into it.

It's theft has left the church without a cross for its weekly mass, but the fact that it's been stolen from a sanctuary, a sacred place, has shaken their faith in some elements of society.

"It's getting harder to keep doors open all the time because of this kind of thing," says Jackson.

Father Hansen echoes those concerns.

"I think we have to look at this place now as vulnerable," he says. "Obviously, 99-point-9 percent of people would never think of doing that to a church. It's not OK."

Father Hansen says he wants to keep his doors open for those that need a quiet place to better find God, and a return of the cross will be a step towards restoring his faith in those who seek solace in this solemn place.

"I think it's unfortunate," Hansen says. "I hope that whoever did that will have a better mind and bring it back and maybe restore our confidence in the people."

Hansen adds that whoever took the cross is welcome to bring it back with no questions asked.