from The Enquirer with permission

St Margarets break-inThe vicar of a Thurrock church has called for understanding and prayers for the offenders after a stain-glassed window at his church was damaged by raiders who stole cash during a break-in.

The Rev John Guest made his comments after the damage was discovered on Tuesday following the incident at St Margaret’s Church overnight when raiders smashed the ancient window to get into the church.

He has also called on anyone who heard or saw anything to get in touch so he can pass the information on to the police.

As well as damaging the windows, some money was stolen from the church and the door to the church tower was quite badly damaged.
Rev Guest said:”Does my face look angry? Does my face look in despair? Does my face look full of darkness and defeat? No. I may be sad but I’m not angry. I may be distressed but I’m not in despair. I may feel crushed but I’m certainly not overwhelmed by darkness and I will never be defeated!

“It is a distressing incident for the congregation here but please pray for those who did this. We need love, not fear, light not darkness and a community coming together instead of a society that is falling apart.
Our homes and our shops and our church buildings may be broken into but we will never allow the darkness to invade our light and our joy.

“A society that is falling apart needs a community that is coming together. Stanford-le-Hope has always been full of hope and its people are full of light and joy and laughter. There may be sad people who have nothing better to do with their time than smash windows and glue the locks of shops or smash up flowerpots and try to break the spirit of this wonderful community. But I tell you this – it will never happen. Our spirit is too bright and our unity is too great. We will rise better, stronger and more determined than ever before.”

Despite his compassion, Rev Guest says it is right that the church raiders are brought to account if possible, adding: “Did anyone hear the noise of this break-in?” Anyone with any information about the raid can contact Rev Guest on 01375 670582