News 12 First at Five / Thursday, March 21, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Easter is just two Sundays away. The Christian holiday celebrates Jesus' rising from the dead and as churches across the country prepare for that, one Augusta church has a mystery to solve.
"I noticed the lights weren't on, so I went to go check that out and noticed -- oh, Jesus is not here anymore," said Robert Fain, the senior pastor at The Church of the Good Shepherd.
Fain has pastored at the church for almost 30 years.
The statue of a risen Jesus was supposed to be outside the church, but now it's gone.
"You can kind of see where the trash has gone in the back of Jesus' head," pointed out Fain.
Someone removed the statue a few nights ago. Fain says he isn't mad but he does wonder why.
"If anybody takes something from a church, you're always wondering... OK, what kind of place is that person in that brings them to that point?" Fain said.
And he isn't the only one who's not angry about the missing statue.
"It didn't make me mad," said Amy Sutherland Nesbit.
Nesbit has been a member of the church her whole life. And while she also wonders why someone would take a statue, she's praying it's a prank with a bad sense of timing.
"Liturgically, it would have been more appropriate for Jesus to go missing on Good Friday, which is a week from tomorrow," Nesbit said.
And while the timing may be off for the disappearance, Nesbit is still hoping for one thing.
"For Jesus to return Saturday night or Sunday morning for Easter," she said.
Despite the strange crime, the preacher still has a message.
"Wish folks have a happy Easter, and if folks aren't planning to go to church somewhere, we hope they'll think about that and would love to have them come worship with us," Fain said.
The church is praying the thieves do the right thing. If they don't, they want them to know something: Somebody's always watching -- in more ways than one.
Church officials say they won't press charges if the statue is returned, but they will consider pressing charges if the thieves are caught.
The statue is 5 feet tall and made of fiberglass with a resin coating. It's gold with white worn spots on the right side of the statue's head and right arm.
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