LEONIA, N.J. (1010 WINS) — A New Jersey church is asking whoever stole its large, wooden cross, which was a part of its outdoor worship area, to bring it back — no questions asked.

Pastor Peggy Niederer, of Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Leonia, said the nearly 9×4 foot cross was located on the east end of the church’s property in a woodland setting.

Niederer said she realized the cross was missing last week and subsequently filed a police report. She told 1010 WINS she doesn’t know why it was taken, but hopes whoever took it will return it.

“[I’m] hoping that whoever has it, does not desecrate it — that it’s not used for an evil purpose,” Niederer said.

The cross has a special meaning to the congregation because of its historical significance.

“It is constructed out of cross beams that actually were part of the construction material of the church and it also symbolized the unity our congregation was formed by two separate congregations that came together and merged in 1970,” she said.

Members of the community, including a nearby senior housing complex, often come by to “stop there to sit and to pray and to meditate,” according to Niederer.

cross stand NJ Church Seeks Return Of Historical Wooden Cross

The now-empty stand from where the cross was taken. (credit: Pastor Peggy Niederer | Handout)

“So, it’s a loss for us, but it’s also a loss for the community,” she said.

The pastor says that if the cross is returned to where it was taken in good condition, there will be no questions asked, only forgiveness.

“My feeling on that is that the person is sorry that they did it and, to me, that shows good will and also compassion for the congregation and the communities,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the church at 201-947-1332.

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