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Published: August 16, 2008 03:51 am ShareThisPrintThis
Deacon shocked over break-in, damage at First Parish Church
By victor tine
Staff writer

NEWBURY - Erin Stark said she initially noticed an overturned Coke cooler and a broken chair in First Parish Church's Holten Hall.
The First Parish deacon was showing the 139-year-old church early Tuesday afternoon to someone who had never seen it.
When she opened the sanctuary, she saw another broken chair. Then she noticed that one of the two altar candles had been knocked down as had a 4-foot-tall memorial candle in a wooden stand, which was broken. Other items in the sanctuary had also been broken or abused.
"It was upsetting to say the least," Stack said yesterday.
The sanctuary had been locked and the lock appeared to be intact, she said.
"We don't know how they got in," Stack said. "The lock was not broken."
She called Newbury police, and an officer responded right away, she said. Detective Aaron Wojtkowski met with church officials Thursday night and has opened an investigation into the vandalism.
Nothing appears to have been stolen, Stack said. The sound system may have been damaged, she said, and it was not immediately clear how the incident would affect the church financially.
Even if the dollar amount of the vandalism is small, Stack said she is still bothered that it happened at all.
"I'm not sure why someone would do that," she said. "To desecrate a church sanctuary is a pretty despicable thing."
Newbury police Chief Michael Reilly said there no suspects as of yesterday, "but Aaron's doing an investigation, and I'm sure he'll turn up some leads."
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