Saturday, October 9, 2010

Norfolk United Church ‘miffed’ after thieves make off with antique hitching post

Guelph Mercury October 08, 2010
Drew Halfnight, Mercury staff

GUELPH — Members of Norfolk United Church are upset after someone entered their place of worship and made off with a weighty lawn ornament.

The antique horse-head hitching post had been temporarily shifted to inside the church before it disappeared on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Church administrator Sharon Huska said it was made entirely of cast iron and weighed at least 75 kilograms.

“It was so heavy,” she said, adding it took two muscle-bound contractors to haul it inside the church in the first place.

“You’d have to have a couple of people. You’d need a vehicle. I think this was planned out,” she said of the theft.

Huska said she and her fellow churchgoers are feeling “a little miffed” and “kind of violated,” especially considering the culprit or culprits stole it from within a House of God.

“Who does this? How could they come and take something from the church?” she said. “The church welcomes people. It’s kind of like an abuse of that when you turn around and take something.”

The hitching post, which looks like a black chess knight mounted on a pillar, had stood sentry at the Norfolk Street entrance for 25 years, Huska said. “It welcomes people into the church. It’s a piece of history.”

Before that, it stood in front of a 100-year-old manse on Liverpool Street where, Huska suspected, anyone paying a visit to the church minister could hitch his steed to a ring through its mouth.

The post was to be displayed prominently in a landscape redesign the church commissioned in preparation for its 175th anniversary next year.

After it was moved to a landing inside the church last month to accommodate the landscaping, several people noticed and praised it, Huska said.

Like most churches, Norfolk United is unlocked for large stretches at a time.

Church officials called police, who filled out a report over the phone.

Huska said she expected the post was gone forever, unless “the police find it dragged off some place and they bring it back.”

Anyone who sees a black antique horsehead hitching post — Huska said only a few original hitching posts remain in Guelph — is asked to call Norfolk United at 519-822-6165.

... read full story at the Guelph Mercury