I am extremely saddened to have to write once again about concerns in this area. Recently, following on a series of thefts from the church building earlier this year, once again altar and pulpit hangings were stolen from Holy Trinity Church. The renovation project will see the installation of Closed Circuit Television in the church which will record future acts like this. My experience of its use in Inverness Cathedral was extremely positive, and on the occasions when we had major acts of vandalism or theft, in every case the police were able to rapidly identify and apprehend the miscreants from the recorded footage we provided. However, we cannot do anything about this situation immediately in Holy Trinity Church. Almost certainly these recent thefts will lead to the church building being less available than previously. That I regard this as an evil outcome will not surprise anyone. I know how much people value having a space for quiet prayer in the centre of a busy city, and I know equally that many of you want to ensure that this continues. But we cannot allow matters to deteriorate further.
Alas, also, in this connection I must draw your attention to the need to keep your own belongings under close supervision whilst in the church building and hall. I know that this is something that you don’t feel moved to do as regularly we see handbags, briefcases, jackets and coats left unattended before, during and after church services. And I sympathise – we shouldn’t have to give such matters thought. But the reality is that we must. Maybe it will help to consider that putting temptation in people’s way is morally culpable too. Furthermore, the police cannot take seriously theft caused by our carelessness.
So please do not leave anything unattended in church. Even when you think that it is safe, experience tells us that the criminally minded will find that moment when your attention is deflected in order to relieve you of your possessions. And sadly this means never leave anything of value in your pew when you come to receive holy communion.