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Church service held outdoors after locks are superglued shut by vandals

16 June 2023

CANON ED PRUEN

Members of the congregation at St Mary and St Peter’s, Tidenham

Members of the congregation at St Mary and St Peter’s, Tidenham

MEMBERS of the congregation arriving for church last Sunday at St Mary and St Peter’s, Tidenham, near Chepstow, turned disadvantage into celebration after finding that vandals had superglued the church-door locks shut.

They held an impromptu service outside in the churchyard, followed by tea and cake, and posed for a photo. “We worshipped together with great gusto and joy,” the organist, Kathryn Payne, said afterwards. “The singing was better than ever, and the mini sermon, about sticking together, went down very well.”

The Vicar, the Revd David Treharne, who was celebrating his 50th birthday that day, said: “It has been a wonderful reminder that the church is the people, not the building. It brought us together in a way we will always remember.”

The vandals had poured adhesive into the locks of the church’s two main entrances, which cost the church £200 to fix. One had to be replaced on Monday, but the other was able to be freed. “We have no idea why anyone would do this,” Mr Treharne said. “It’s a pretty good parish here, and we don’t get much trouble. I think a window was broken a few years back. Perhaps we might install CCTV now.”

In a message to those responsible, he said: “Despite these kinds of things, God’s people will keep on worshipping. We did not lose heart, and will not lose heart. We have also prayed for the person that did this, that the love of Christ would bring a change to their heart.”

Gloucestershire Constabulary is checking CCTV from houses near by, and asks anyone with information to log on to www.gloucestershire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/soh/seen-or-heard, quoting incident number 190 of 11 June.

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