The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

July 3, 2013

Robbing church of its history

Thieves urged to return documents

— Our hearts go out to Christ Casebeer Lutheran Church in Somerset County – again!

Weeks ago, someone threw a rock through the Lincoln Township church’s 160-plus-year-old stained-glass window, senselessly shattering a beautiful piece of history.

If the vandalism wasn’t bad enough, now thieves have struck the church, walking off with even more history.

Among items of cash value stolen were a slide projector and a brass tray honoring two late members. But also taken was a safe that contained nothing one could hock for monetary gain, and certainly something more precious to the congregation than the projector and plates combined.

Inside the safe was the church’s written history, dating back to the 1840s. This kind of history cannot be replaced easily, if at all.

How absolutely low can one go?

If we had to guess, we’d say this burglary was committed for money to buy drugs. Other churches in our region have been entered with that purpose in mind, police have said.

We applaud members of the church and their pastor for holding true to their convictions, and not letting this dampen their spirits or ruin Sunday worship services.

“It’s overwhelming to think someone would do this. But our spirit will not be broken by this,” Pastor Dennis Doebler told our David Hurst. “We will carry on and continue to be God’s people.”

Thank you, Pastor Doebler and the Lutheran congregation for setting such a fine example for the community in the face of such heart-wrenching events.

These acts were carried out by people who, if they dared step foot inside the church for spiritual guidance, would realize they have done harm only to themselves and more than likely would find forgiveness from the very ones they stole from.

We hope that the thieves listen to their consciences and return what they have stolen, especially the very important historical documents.

We encourage anyone with information regarding this terrible assault on a church to call the state police at 445-4104.

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