Published: 15:41, 05 April 2013
Vandals have been blamed for destroying a wooden cross used in an annual Easter ceremony.
Three timber crosses were carried to the top of Bunny Bank, Whybornes Chase, as part of the Walk of Witness on Good Friday.
One of the two 6ft crosses was found knocked over and broken with part of it thrown into a nearby bush on Saturday morning.
Father Frank Moran said there was an audible gasp when he informed his congregation about the damage during his Sunday sermon.
He believes it to be the first time in the service’s history that vandals have struck.
The parish priest of Sheppey, who has helped organise the procession for 12 years, said: "These are big crosses so it didn’t just fall down, it was a deliberate act of vandalism.
"I hope it was vandals and not someone anti-religion. I suspect it was vandalism.
"It is the principle, the fact that somebody thinks they should pull down crosses."
Fr Moran said he did not report the incident to police because the secluded nature of Bunny Bank means there would probably be no witnesses.
Overcast skies and a biting cold wind did not deter worshippers from making the annual Good Friday Procession of Witness to Bunny Bank, Minster.
The simple service organised for all denominations by Churches Together in Sheppey (CTiS) has been held on the Island’s green hill for more than 35 years.
If the numbers were fewer than in previous years, an estimated 300 people, the gaps in the four deep circle were soon filled as Father Frank Moran urged them closer, shouting through a megaphone as the wind whipped away his words.
Veronica Best, president of CTiS, said the welcoming prayer and the band which included instrumentalists from Snowdon Colliery, Standford Hill Prison and 1st Minster Girls’ Brigade accompanied the hymn singing.
Drummers Grace Reeves and Daisy Butler led the procession of three symbolic crosses which had been carried from Eastchurch, Halfway and Sheerness.
Unbidden, there was the silence, as all three were raised.
The crowd joined in, as the people did 2,000 years ago, demanding the thief should be released and Jesus crucified.
Tom McKinlay, minister of Strode Crescent Baptist Church, also gave an address.
As the service concluded, hot cross buns were distributed among the worshippers.