French evangelical church suffers break-in

Thieves smashed a window of the temple in Veneux-les-Sablons and tried to open the collection box. The Baptist congregation suffered acts of vandalism in the past.

Evangelical Focus

PARIS · 01 MARCH 2023 · 15:30 CET

A window of the evangelical church, after the incident of 27 February. / Photo: <a target="_blank" href="">Facebook Église Évangélique Baptiste Veneux les Sablons</a>.,
A window of the evangelical church, after the incident of 27 February. / Photo: Facebook Église Évangélique Baptiste Veneux les Sablons.

The building of the Baptist Evangelical Church of Veneux-les-Sablons (a district of Moret Loing et Orvanne, south of Paris) suffered on Monday 27 February a break-in.

Thieves smashed a window and tried to access several premises, including the room where worship takes place, the pastor of the congregation, Sylvain Felden, told Evangelical Focus.

“Cheques from the bookshop were found in the corridors. Traces of blood were found, but as far as I know the police did not come back to take samples”. The burglars “tried to break into the place of worship, broke an outside door handle, damaged a shutter, but could not open the door”, he described. “They rifled through some cupboards and took the content of the bookshop till (I don’t know the amount yet)”.

Looking for money, the attackers also “tried to break the collection box and damaged it, but apparently did not succeed in opening it”.

Officers of the national police came to the site.


Reaction of church members

“Several members of the church quickly went to the site to observe, take photos, secure the area and clean up”, says pastor Felden. Their reaction was of “incomprehension” but the Christian community plans to hold its worship service on Sunday as usual. Then, more details will be shared with the congregation.

The Baptist congregation in this neighbourhood is in the process of acquiring new and larger premises and selling this building. “We see this event as a spiritual challenge to remain firmly attached to the essentials”, the pastor told Evangelical Focus, and “not to allow ourselves to be distracted from our vocation to share the good news in the south of the Seine et Marne region”.


Not the first vandalic attack

It is not the first time this church community is targeted. In December 2018, vandals entered the temple and the presbytery and burst paint against elements of the kitchen, among other things. More than 2,000 Euros were needed to repair the damage.

“We regularly have rubbish in the courtyard and garden”, adds pastor Felden. And “for several weeks in 2022 a person or their dog defecated in the churchyard”.

Other evangelical churches in France have been vandalised in recent years.

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