Community members step up to replace church’s stolen lights

Residents of Oxford Mills stepped up with a generous donation to replace a light display that was stolen from a church’s front lawn.

“One of the commandments is ‘thou shall not steal.’ So to steal from a church?” says Darlene McMartin, a former member of the Oxford Mills Community Association. She was one of the residents who discovered the lights were stolen.

The display was put it up on Friday afternoon as part of the Spirit of Christmas festival- one of the busiest weekends of the year for the small town about 40 minutes south of Ottawa. Residents and judges go around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

“Eight o’clock when the judges went by we said, ‘make sure to take a look at the church.’ And when they went by- it wasn’t there!” McMartin says.

McMartin says the light display was a gift to the Oxford United Church from Sara McAvoy- a resident in the community, whose family has attended the church for years. “It turned out to be the last one in the store and Sara thought it would be a good way to light up the church and add light and to the festivities.”

Residents were quick to jump into help. Ken Davidson learned about the stolen lights on social media Saturday morning.

“Just to steal anything out here isn’t that common,” he says. “You wonder who could do something like this, especially it’s a Christmas thing, at a church in a small town like this, it just shouldn’t happen.”

He and his wife donated a cheque to replace the lights.  “It needed to be replaced. It needed to be done and I am happy to do this.”

It will only cost $80 to replace the lights, but the Davidson’s cheque was for $200. They say they want to rest of the money to go back towards the Oxford Mills Community Association and to help the church.