Gank: (noun) phonetic aberration of gangster; (verb) to thieve or remove; (past tense) gank-you very much!

The title of village idiot is dealt out on a revolving basis in St. Philip’s. There’s a few winners claiming it regularly and bear the shame with good humour until someone else runs out of luck or talent. The steeple gankers were an exception to the rule.

You don’t bring a chainsaw to a church fight. Tempers flare, things are said, next thing you know the steeple’s cut off. Mom always said, “You’re all having fun ’til someone loses a steeple.” Or something to that effect.

The cops were involved briefly in the beginning and looked for three guys wearing jeans, plaid shirts, and ball caps. Last seen with chainsaws and a pickup truck. Not many don’t look like that around here. They still haven’t found the guys.

Internal matter could not be contained internally

It was a national media sensation. At first blush it would appear as a crime against the religion itself. This was hardly the case. No crime at all, according to the church. Apparently it was an internal matter, one which unfortunately could not be contained.

The steeple is a fine structure and would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s home or shed. It could even be admired by itself, propped up on the lawn.

The fuss started when the congregation built a new church adjacent to the old one and applied to the town council for a demolition permit. A citizens’ group recognized the merit of the 116-year-old previous church as a heritage structure. Besides, their ancestors had been using the old church since it was built and have a lot of sentimental equity built up.

It’s interesting to note that the local Orange Lodge met its fate quietly and without protest not too long ago.

The council wisely decided to postpone the church demolition permit and give the notion of preserving the old church some consideration. After a public meeting, the spectators spilled out into the parking lot and a heated exchange took place. The following morning, steeple ganked, horrible spectacle and national news.

A town divided

The town was divided into several camps: there was the new church group, resplendent with steeple; and then the old church group, without steeple. The haves and have-nots, as it were.

The third group: the chainsaw-wielding, disenfranchised round of usual suspects, myself included, who suddenly found themselves in a deliciously sanctimonious predicament.

There was nothing finer at the time than waking up Saturday afternoon knowing full well that no matter what you did last night, at least you didn’t gank a steeple. Besides, we wouldn’t just leave it there. The steeple is a fine structure and would make a wonderful addition to anyone’s home or shed. It could even be admired by itself, propped up on the lawn.

The fourth and final group would be those that just moved to the area and hadn’t met anyone yet. This five per cent of the population weren’t actively petitioned by any other groups and apparently ceased to rent movies for a while, due to the abundance of local entertainment.

Citizen security force in action

The least of which was the concerned citizens volunteer security force who hung out after hours at the gates of the old church. It brought people together, it was a good thing. The council had thoughtfully provided security during the day so the volunteers could plan their evenings.

Just when things seemed to be cooling off and the security let up, the new church group let a guy in to gank all the pews from the old one. This set off a fresh round of outrage. Battle in the courts, everybody up in arms again and no resolve.

A statement was issued from one of the higher-ups affiliated with the new church. I’m unfamiliar with his title, being disenfranchised as I mentioned, but it was a heartfelt plea to give them privacy and allow them to celebrate Easter. One of their holiest times.

I’m familiar with that custom. Something about betrayal, crucifixion and rising from the dead. There’s also mention of Lent whereby people give up a slight indulgence, some do without sugar in their tea, in observance.

There may be some similarities in events. The steeple will rise again and there are a couple of guys who have hopefully given up ganking steeples for Lent.