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Ceremony spoilt by sacrilegious theft

Thursday, 21st November, 2013

Reverend Will Pearson with Joanne Smalbil whose preaching stole appears to have been stolen from her letter box, just weeks before her big day. Reverend Will Pearson with Joanne Smalbil whose preaching stole appears to have been stolen from her letter box, just weeks before her big day.

By Erica Visser

There’s only half a dozen of these distinctive items in town but one may have fallen into the hands of a thief.

Joanne Smalbil was eagerly awaiting her ordination as a minister with the Uniting Church next month, but there was one special item she needed for the ceremony.

A package containing a $350 welcoming gift from the ministry - her preaching stole - disappeared from Ms Smalbil’s letterbox last Monday.

The bright red cloth, which hangs around a minister’s neck, is very distinctive and would not be particularly handy to anyone outside the ministry.

And with just weeks to go until her big day, Ms Smalbil was yesterday in a panic and hoped that anyone who knew anything about the stole would come forward.

“It’s red and has gold and orange flames on it,” she said.

“The post office have said they delivered it to our house in Bonanza Street last Monday. I was home all day so if someone nicked it they must’ve been pretty quick.

“It would only be of use to a minister, so it’s possible someone might have dumped it somewhere.”

Ms Smalbil’s back-up plan will be to borrow Reverend Will Pearson’s stole, but that just wouldn’t be the same.

“It’s a bit like borrowing a wedding ring,” Rev. Pearson told the BDT.

If anyone has information on the missing stole, they are encouraged to contact police or the BDT.

“If they can just drop it in here or to the police I’d be so grateful - no questions asked,” Ms Smalbil said.

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