Story by RNZ
Thieves have cleaned out a small Canterbury church taking its brass alter pieces and other precious religious items that are likely to be melted down.
It is the second time St Marks in the Christchurch suburb of Marshland has been hit.
People are being asked to contact police if they see any of the items for sale.
Tammy Watson Wells - popularly known as the Briscoes lady - has been playing the organ at the little Anglican church since she was 13 years old.
Wells told Checkpoint she was sure it was the same thieves who stole earlier in the year at Easter time.
"I think they just came back to get the last little pieces that they hadn't got."
She said they took "anything that was of value, and believe me, there's not much ... anything that was brass".
"They must have known there were a few things that they needed to come back for. They came in and found the safe keys and unfortunately, all the money, which is very little because we always take it away, but there was the chalice which was sterling silver, they took away the little trowel and it's about 98 years old and it was when the new church was rebuilt.
"They've taken everything, but they didn't take our spirit."
Other items that were stolen included candlesticks, a candelabra, two brass vases, the brass lectern, a brass cross, a brass plate, and the christening brass jug and bowl.
"A whole lot of groceries were stolen as well. We were collecting for the Saint Ambrose Food Bank and they've taken all the lovely Christmas things that we'd collected as a small congregation."
However, she said the community and local supermarket jumped in to donate and help out.
"It's just lovely that good things come out of it ... just blown away by people's kindness and their support."