Baby Jesus, Mary stolen from créche

 

THE EMPTY STAKES mark where figures of baby Jesus in a manger and of a kneeling Mary were placed. The figures were stolen from the nativity scene in front of the Casco Village Church last week. (De Busk Photo)

THE EMPTY STAKES mark where figures of baby Jesus in a manger and of a kneeling Mary were placed. The figures were stolen from the nativity scene in front of the Casco Village Church last week. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — During the Christmas season Jesus’s birth is put in the spotlight.

A spotlight literally illuminated the nativity scene outside the Casco Village Church. Despite that lighting, someone stole the figures of baby Jesus and his mother Mary.

On Sunday, parishioners noticed that Jesus and Mary were missing from the church’s nativity scene. Left behind were the stakes that held up the flat wooden figures.

“It was not an inside job, where someone took them for repair. Someone took them maliciously just to take them,” according to Rev. Joyce Long, of the Casco Village Church United Church of Christ. She later referred to it as a “hurtful prank.”

“The sad part is that a lady in our community, Lynette Melnichuk who is now 91 years old, she made the figures for the crèche,” Long said.

All the parts of the crèche were flat, wooden pieces. They are painted on one side only. They had leather straps on the back of the wood to attach to stakes in the ground.

Two separate pieces are missing. Those are a kneeling Mary and baby Jesus in his manger, Long said.

The reverend and people who attend the Casco Village Church have searched for the figures. “We hope that someone would just return it. No questions asked,” she said.

It was on Dec. 5, a Saturday, that church members Dennis Martin and Holly Hancock redid the tree and put up new LED lights. That is when the crèche was set up, Long said. “The first time people noticed that they were missing was this Sunday,” she said.

However, it could have been missing earlier because during the week as the church secretary and reverend enter through a door on a different side of the church. Also, the food pantry operates from an entrance at the back of the church.

On Sunday, people walk through the front doors for services and pass the crèche, Long said.

“After confirmation class, one of the dads went down to the lake to see if someone had chucked them in the water. When the youth group went Christmas caroling, we were up and down the road looking for it,” she said.

“I drove by the (Casco Public) Library and Old School House. I looked in the woods. I was looking, and asking, ‘Where would they ditch them?’ That was the questions on my mind,” Long said.

She said she doubted anyone would take them home. Therefore, the figures could have been tossed. “I don’t think it was that planned out. I don’t think the pieces were valuable, but we would want to have them back,” Long said.

During the later service on Christmas Eve, the participants go outside, stand by the crèche and sing “Silent Night” at midnight. “It kinda puts a damper on that,” she said.

 

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