Churches aren’t sacred: leaders

TIMES have changed and churches are no longer sacred, Border religious leaders say.

That is how they view the theft of expensive items from the Albury Church of God.

Senior pastor Philip Morton was left disillusioned after two fridges and a barbecue were stolen from the Urana Road church this week.

Mr Morton declared churches were no longer havens and yesterday other Border religious leaders agreed.

Father Kevin Flanagan, from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in North Albury, said he’d noticed a change in the public’s attitude in the past 15 years.

“Respect has probably been eroding over the last 15 years but especially the last 10,” he said.

“I think break-ins are to do with people being opportunistic — it’s a sign of the times.

“I’d say church is still a sacred place because people gather there for weddings and funerals ... but there’s less respect in our world now and less respect for individuals, by individuals.”

Wodonga District Baptist Church pastor Matt Thorp said he was still reeling from a break-in earlier this year.

In July, thieves stole a guitar, an Apple computer and a data projector.

“I’ve been here two years and I think there’s been two break-ins,” he said.

“I suppose that for people who break-in, church isn’t a sacred place.”

But church administrator Grace Jones is keeping the faith.

“I’ve been here for 18 years and 18 years ago we were being broken into,” she said.

“I wouldn’t think church is any less of a sacred place now.”

Father Peter Macleod-Miller, from St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Albury, said the God-fearing aspect was gone.

“The hocus pocus is well gone,” he said.

“But all community spaces and all people are holy so, in that regard, I don’t think things have changed too much.”

Editorial — page 24

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