Church needs help finding stolen symbols

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgravia is offering a reward to anyone with information on the recovery of stolen valuable religious symbols and artefacts, worth R200 000.

The church’s pastor, and dean of the Lutheran Church in the Western Cape, Gerhard de Vries Bock, says the church council members noticed the first theft on Sunday November 10.

The “prestigious pieces” are more than 120 years old and valued at R200 000.

According to Mr De Vries Bock, the church recently provided a safe haven for 85 children and their mothers, after they were displaced when a fire swept through the Vygieskraal informal settlement, destroying 200 shacks, leaving 800 people destitute.

The fire started on Monday October 21 (“Fire ravages the Vlei,” Athlone News, October 30).

“We suffered a major setback when our church council members noticed the disappearance of valuable antique brass religious symbols and artefacts,” Mr De Vries Bock said.

It was a setback to the church’s heritage and religious traditions, he said.

“The church was instrumental in mobilising much needed aid and support for over 800 people. The church also used its premises to provide emergency relief to the community. We are offering a reward of R1 500 to anyone who could provide information that can lead to the recovery of the stolen items.”

The stolen items include a brass eagle stand, which was stolen on Thursday November 14. Athlone SAPS are investigating.