Reflection on Living in Tense Times
On Friday evening the Hawai'i Conference office sent out information composed by the national staff of the United Church of Christ (UCC) alerting our congregations that the FBI had confirmed a general threat of violence made against mainline congregations. [Read more about the alert HERE.] After further discussion we can affirm this threat appeared in two states, Michigan and Arizona. The threats were reported to leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), an ecumenical partner of the UCC. These concerns were relayed to the UCC Conference in those states and UCC national staff. The Michigan governor’s office confirmed the threats.
While no specific congregation had been identified, the information indicated congregations "in the west" might be targets for acts of hostility. No warnings named the United Church of Christ nor the Hawai'i Conference congregations as targets. Still, it was felt that our pastors and leaders should be alerted to these concerns in order to be vigilant in safeguarding their congregants and facilities.
As we have witnessed, words have weight. We cannot assume threats of harm will not be acted upon, and we need to be cautious in these weeks. Yet, to be watchful does not mean that we live in fear or in dread of others. Our call to enact the peace of Christ remains: pray for those who would persecute us; seek reconciliation where we can; love our enemies.
For sure, these are interesting days. Be cautious and continue to exhibit the Spirit of Christ's compassion, which resides in us as God's blessings to the world.
David K. Popham Conference Minister