Scores of stone flags have been stolen in brazen thefts on two churches in the same Huddersfield Area parish.
The Rector of Kirkheaton, Revd Ian Jones said the latest loss of slabs on the path outside Kirkheaton Parish Church was an "affront to the whole community".
Church rector, Reverend Ian Jones, estimated around 45 Yorkshire stone flags had been taken up and stole from St John’s.
He said: "The stones were laid in the late 18th Century or, at the latest, in the early 19th Century.
"In those days they believed in quality. I suppose they didn't think that Britain would ever degenerate to the state where people would steal from a church."
Just weeks earlier, thieves made off with a similar haul from Revd Ian’s other church, St Bartholomew’s Grange Moor.
Speaking to the Church Times, he said:
“The wider public need to know churches are being targeted like this. It is a really low and pretty despicable thing to do.
“I am conflicted: as a human, I feel disgusted, on a Christian level, I pray every day for God to forgive me my sins in the same way that I must forgive those who sin against me.
“It’s no good praying that prayer unless I am prepared to put it into practice," said Revd Ian, pictured at St John's with church warden Rob Earby.
“As a Christian leader within this community, I need to love the people who have done this, and to forgive them, and to hope that one day, somehow, they might encounter the Lord Jesus, too.
“From that encounter, they might realise that what they have done is wrong, and they will repent, change, stop stealing, and earn an honest living like other people.
“When something like this happens, it becomes a temporary distraction from the mission of the Church.
“I don’t want to be thinking about flagstones: I want to be thinking about how I can tell more people about Jesus.”