A Church of Ireland minister has been “bowled over” by the community support following the ransacking of his isolated church in Co Galway.
Vandals targeted Holy Trinity Church near Clifden, in a remote part of Connemara, in recent days causing up to €70,000 worth of damage.
Canon Stan Evans said he was convinced there was no sectarian motive for the vandalism he described as “wanton damage,” and that the local community had been incredibly supportive.
“I have never, ever, experienced such an outpouring of love and support for us,” he told the News Letter.
“Here in Clifden we enjoy the most wonderful ecumenical relationship with our neighbours and we are as one in everything that we do. This is so contrary to the love that is shown by all and sundry – this is just a one off.
“It’s terrible damage, and we are devastated by it, but most important thing is that no one was hurt, no one has lost their life.”
As well as splitting the pulpit in two, the vandals ripped the altar rail from its fixing, smashed the pews and damaged the church organ beyond repair. A church Bible was also discovered lying on the grass outside having been thrown through a smashed window.
Despite the devastation, Canon Evans said the picturesque place of worship would be fully operation in time for next year’s summer services.
“I am just absolutely bowled over by the incredible messages of support from as far away as Sweden and across Europe.”