A woman praying solo in a U.K. church was saved on Sunday—by the higher power of Twitter, which she turned to after being accidentally locked inside the house of worship by a volunteer that morning.
“I’m locked inside St. Andrews Church! I was in private praying chapel & when I came out, everyone was gone & doors locked. #Plymouth #help,” tweeted Sarah Greep, a jam maker and mother of two who is based in the English seaside city of Plymouth, in Devon.
After first making some unsuccessful attempts to call church volunteers, whose names and numbers were listed in the back of a pamphlet—and because her phone battery was low and service was cutting in and out—Greep decided to turn to a medium with a bit more reach.
“I didn’t want to bother anyone so I just started tweeting,” she told the Independent.
For the next few hours, Greep, owner of the regionally popular Janner Jam company, alternately tried calling people and tweeting about being trapped, which she didn’t seem to mind all that much.
“Trying to think of best way to get out of this church with minimum disruption. It’s quite calm & peaceful in here so in no hurry,” she wrote. “Just hope there’s not a fire! Unlikely at least. There’s drink, water, wine & so on, but no toilet.” Greep explained in a later tweet that the bathrooms, along with the fire doors, were locked.
She even managed to make a video, which she later uploaded to YouTube. “I didn’t know they shut-shut churches. I didn’t know that churches got locked,” she mused onscreen, while strolling around inside the vast sanctuary. “Especially not a prominent one like St. Andrew’s Church in the middle of the city center on a Sunday, so, I don’t know, maybe it’s partly my fault.” Yahoo! Shine could not reach anyone at the church for comment Monday.
Greep seemed to only panic slightly when someone tweeted to her that the next service didn’t start until 6:30pm. “Will be drunk on holy wine by then,” she wrote, clearly staying buoyed by her sense of humor.
“I am calm don’t worry, it’s one of the least stressful most peaceful places to be. I’ve just spoke to a warden on phone,” she later added.
A local politician, council leader Tudor Evans, eventually noticed her cry for help and contacted the police. They in turn found the church’s keeper of the key, who was able to free Greep—who, ironically, arrived home to find that she was locked out.
“I’m locked out of home now!! No key to get in so will have to stay out! One extreme to another!” she tweeted, continuing to fill followers in on her endlessly frustrating day.
Greep’s saga quickly went viral, inspiring a slew of coverage across the UK, as well as amusing, pun-laden tweets and hashtags, including, “#jannerjamfailstoleavedoorajar,” “#freethestandrewsone” and “#inabitofajam.”
On Monday, she also added the intriguing tweet that there were “some things I haven’t told anyone about what happened in the church! ;)”
When Yahoo! Shine emailed Greep for the details on that—along with how she dealt for so long without bathroom access— she responded that she was “inundated” with requests.
One tweeter weighed in on the story Monday by noting, “This has all the hallmarks of a Miss Marple mystery.” Another posted a link to Greep’s tale as written by the Age, writing, “There’s a moral in this story here. Somewhere.”
The jam maker spoke with the Plymouth Herald soon after she’d been freed Sunday.
“I just went into the small chapel at St Andrew’s Church where I sometimes go, and didn’t think for one minute they were going to close the door,” she explained. “It was nice and calm and the sun was shining through the stained glass windows. I didn’t want to bother anyone but thought I would just send a few tweets, as it was a bit unusual. The next thing I know Tudor Evans is calling the police to help get me out!”
Finally, she added on Twitter, “I was fine. It was unexpected amusement for all!”