Conscience-stricken people have handed in large quantities of stolen goods, including hotel towels, a bathrobe and cash, after attending a church rally at which a preacher urged them to repent.

The inventory of pilfered items included hospital crutches, library books, CDs, videotapes—and about US$560. There were also several letters of confession.

The items were left in large special containers at the Anglican cathedral in Liverpool, northern England, after May 15 when a congregation of 3000 heard renowned preacher J. John speak at the cathedral on the Eighth Commandment: "Thou shalt not steal."

"John has a gift from God to reach audiences with a life-changing message," said Wayne Clarke, a Baptist minister and spokesman for the event, which was part of a series supported by more than 100 Liverpool churches.

Where ownership can be established, the churches will return to their owners the towels, bathrobe and other items. Some of the hotels are abroad.

Addressing the use of church funds to return the towels, Clarke said: "We have a moral obligation to do so. It's not a question of the best use of money, but of doing what's right."

John, 43, has been preaching on the Ten Commandments in a series of meetings in Liverpool.

His challenge to his audience on the Seventh Commandment—"Thou shalt not commit adultery"—also produced a big response. Pornographic books and videos were left in plain covers in the days after the meeting, and were then burnt.

Clarke expressed confidence that the preachings would have a lasting effect in Liverpool and the surrounding Merseyside area. "Combined with the ongoing work of the churches, these meetings can change Merseyside," he said.

Arun Kataria, spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, ...

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