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Video: Minister’s car stolen while she gives sermon

Don Conkey and Sue Scheible

The Rev. Mary Louise Gifford didn't expect to be traveling around Monday in her husband Mark's pickup truck. She also didn't expect to be missing her traveling communion set, which she uses for shut-ins and others she visit in their homes.

Both her car and the communion set were stolen Sunday, and the irony is that she was giving a sermon on the Ten Commandments at the time at Wollaston Congregational Church, where she's been the pastor for five years. When she returned to her office after the 10 a.m. service and a coffee hour downstairs, her car keys had been taken from her desk. A frantic search outside revealed that the car was gone, along with her purse and the communion set inside.

"I didn't know what to think -- but I suspect it was nothing personal, just someone who was desperate," she said Monday.

She spent the day making dozens of calls to cancel her credit cards, report the loss of her Social Security card, and find a rental car. She couldn't use her cell phone because that was also in the car. She travels light inside the church on Sundays.

The bank cards and all her personal identification cards were in her purse, which she had slid under the seat when she locked the car in the church parking lot Sunday morning.

"Everyone knows I leave the keys on the desk in my office," she said.

That anyone would enter a church and steal is worrisome, she said.

“Someone came into the church, while there were 100 people there,” she said. “That person came into the church, broke the door and stole my keys. They must have walked around, beeping the thing (the key remote), and then stole my car.” she said.

The front door of the church on Winthrop Street in Quincy wasn’t locked Sunday. It will be this Sunday.

“That is sad,” the Rev. Gifford said. “The whole thing is sad.”

The Patriot Ledger