In an age when the Church is not only the place one finds solace, but also to talk to the Almighty about one’s state of mind and condition, the news that the bell that reminds one that it’s time to come and seek God and worship has been stolen for scrap metal, has provoked anger and disappointment in the village of York, about 40 miles from the nation’s capital, Freetown.
Last Sunday, the people of York along the Freetown Peninsular, were deprived of the angelic sounds of three Church bells just after 8am because thieves had raided and stolen the bells that are used to call to worship in this quiet village with a population of just over 700.
According to the village Head Man, Mr. Kofi Atsakpo, the discoveries were made by the bell ringers in the three Churches when they arrived at their respective places of work to ring the bells.
One of the men, Mr. Samuel Fewry of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, told villagers that the “unthinkable” has happened, “the Church bell has been stolen and it is nowhere to be found.”
Lamenting on the loss of the three Church bells, the Head Man told Awoko that “when people can march into a Church, remove the Church bell for scrap metal, then other Houses of worship MUST start taking notice and protect their Church.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by a York resident, Prison Officer Abdul Sesay. The revelation that not one but three Churches had their bells stolen has caused widespread revulsion in York and surrounding villages.
One local resident in Kent told Awoko that she was shocked that even the Church is now “a target for thieves.”
The three Churches that were raided are the Ebenezer West African Methodist Church, St Henry’s Anglican Church and the Brunswick Methodist Church, all of York village.
In an interview with Awoko, Prison Officer Abdul Sesay disclosed that after a lengthy search the whole of Sunday and Monday, the three bells, over 190 years old, were found along the highway going towards Tokeh with all three seriously damaged.
He said a part of the bell that produced the sound that regularly peals out in the village which is brass, has been removed.
“What we found are remains of the three damaged bells and it is going to be expensive to replace or repair, if repair is possible at all.”
He said those who committed such acts are “looking for brass to sell to scrap metal dealers.”
In another development, a Mosque in Tokeh village was on Monday night looted, with thieves removing mats, the carpet and the generator that is so vital for the day-to-day running of the Mosque.
A prominent Islamic scholar Awoko spoke to called for prayers for the young men who have invaded the Houses of prayers, saying “it is devastating to learn that sacred places are now the new play ground for people looking to satisfy the scrap and second-hand industry.”
A senior member of the Council of Churches in Freetown reacting to the news of the theft, expressed regrets and warned that “the lack of jobs for youths in the country is creating a new class of low-life, devoid of the values and morality we used to know.”
By Our Crime Reporter