Thieves steal church pulpit and rare, 120-year-old religious artefacts

Pastor de Vries Bock, dean of the Lutheran Church in the Western Cape.
Pastor de Vries Bock, dean of the Lutheran Church in the Western Cape.
Image: Esa Alexander

The Lutheran Church is pleading for the return of rare religious artefacts stolen in Cape Town.

In a week, thieves stole the church pulpit, a “beautifully engraved” brass baptism bowl and the brass communion set from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgravia, Athlone. 

Pastor de Vries Bock, dean of the Lutheran Church in the Western Cape, said some of the items were 120 years old. They were worth about R200,000.

“We noticed that the first items were missing last Sunday, and when I opened the church on Wednesday morning, the other items were also gone,” he told TimesLIVE.

The church had recently provided a safe haven for people, including 85 children, displaced after a shack fire gutted homes in an informal settlement.

“It is not only a setback to heritage and religious traditions of the church, but disheartening knowing that the church, just in the past weeks, opened its doors to the displaced people of the Vlei and was instrumental in mobilising much needed aid and support for over 800 people,” said the church in a statement.

“The church also used its premises to provide emergency relief to the community.”

Bock said there were no signs of forced entry and described the incident as a “walk-in”. 

“These people came specifically for these items. The sound system and the speakers are out in the open, but they didn't steal these,” he said.

The church is offering a R1,500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the items. Bock can be contacted on 073 303 1009.


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