Dear Siblings in Christ:
Just a few hours ago, this notice was published on our denomination’s website and social media:
“A MESSAGE TO OUR CHURCHES
While we are hesitant to raise the alarm and/or overreact, recent events compel us to inform you about what we are hearing regarding possible threats that have come to our attention. There are reports that “liberal” churches will become targets of possible attacks in the coming week, with the dates of Jan. 17 and Jan. 20 featured more prominently. We strongly encourage you to be attendant to all safety concerns for ministers and congregants, even if it means meeting in a way that is other than in person at a church building this week.”
Because of the immediate possibility of danger, the short time to respond, the recent violence across our country, and the source of this information, it was determined to get this notice to you as soon as possible.
Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too.
Over the next several hours and days, as more information is learned, the alarm sounded by this notice may need to be turned up or down. We are going to learn more, confirm more, and share more as soon as possible. At the very least, expect some sort of update from me tomorrow afternoon.
In the meantime, I encourage you to make plans. For example, if you have been using your church building for any part of your worship services, make plans to do something different this Sunday. Make plans for how to respond in case your facility is targeted in any way. Make plans for what to do if your online worship service is disrupted. Make plans for your safety. These are good plans to have available even if we find that these plans are not needed this particular week.
Over the past year, we have learned that taking precautions and stepping back from our buildings is not the same as retreating from our mission. We continue to be called to love and serve God and God’s people. We continue to be called to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. My good siblings, this world needs what we are called to share and do. Living into that calling may be more difficult at this time than it has been at others, but it has never been more important.
With hope, Mike
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