Who stole Bear Grylls?

The well-known survival expert didn't last more than two weeks on the streets of Otumoetai before he disappeared, leaving the congregation of St Columba Presbyterian Church scratching their heads.

Known worldwide for his survival show Man vs. Wild, Grylls has in recent years used his fame to promote the Alpha course - an introductory course to the Christian faith used by churches around the world.

St Columba in Otumoetai is one such church running the Alfa course and a poster featuring Grylls was put up outside the church two weeks ago.


But the congregation arrived for a service last Sunday morning and discovered Grylls' face was nowhere to be seen. The rest of the sign was still there, but Grylls' head had been ripped off.

Rev Donald Hegan said he could understand why someone stole Grylls - it's the same reason Alfa uses him as a poster boy.

''He's out there, he's a survivalist, he's a guy who can make it in the wild and I think young people respect him.''

The church has put up a new sign, with another face of Grylls.

''I think he's safely ensconced in someone's flat but I'm hoping they leave this one alone. I haven't got any more reserves.''

Rev Hegan said the church had decided to make the best out of the situation rather than getting bitter about the theft.

The Alpha course has been attended by more than 16 million people in 164 countries, Bear Grylls being one of them.

The Alpha course begins next Thursday night at St Columba church with a gold coin koha introductory meal. The course runs for seven Thursday nights.

Having Bear Grylls promoting a Christian course challenges stereotypes about what Christians are like, he said.

''It breaks the stereotype of wimpish people who can't enjoy life.''