A woman in St. Philip's is appalled that someone removed her father's grave marker and nailed it to the controversial steeple of the community's old church.
"It was so upsetting to me, my family, my friends, people at the church. It was heartbreaking," said Tanya King, describing how she learned Sunday morning that the marker on the grave of her father, George King, had been found nailed to the severed steeple of the old St. Philip's Anglican church.
King, who died about two months ago, had been an outspoken advocate to accept a newly built church, despite protests from others who wanted to protect the old wooden structure, whose steeple was a key visual symbol for all of St. Philip's.
The steeple was sawed off in March 2010, adding fuel to a bitter feud that has divided the community.
Tanya King, who said she had already prepared herself for an emotionally turbulent day for Sunday's flower service, told CBC News she was devastated to learn what someone had done at her father's grave.
"For an individual to be that angry and have that much animosity, it's a sad thing. It's just a sad thing for someone to have to live with that," she said in an interview Monday.
"The feud needs to end, especially with these sick things happening … No good has come out of anything with this dispute, with an old building that's not even a church any longer."
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said Monday it was seeking witnesses to the incident as it investigated a complaint of mischief.
Rev. Edward Keeping, the rector at St. Philip's, said he was disgusted by what happened.
"I call upon the community, I call upon the town council of St. Philip's-Portugal Cove to put this aside and forget about it and let the church get on with a decision that it has made and wants to do," he said.
This spring, an appeal board overturned an order by the town council that was intended to force the Anglican parish to repair the old church.
The parish has refused to make the repairs, on ground that the old structure has deteriorated badly and is too expensive to maintain.
Father 'always stood for what he believed in'
Meanwhile, Tanya King said her father bore the consequences for his beliefs while he was alive. She said someone had sprayed the perimeter of his property with a chemical that killed grass and some trees.
As well, when the family's dog died suddenly, an autopsy showed that the animal had been poisoned, she said.
"My father had a voice for the church and always stood for what he believed in," she said.
Her father, she said, "had wanted to put an end to the feud and the upset."