Statement on Video Violence

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During Zoom worship on Sunday, our congregation experienced an act of violence. I am not going to describe it except to say that someone hijacked one of our member’s names to come into our online sanctuary and show a video that was, itself, an act of violence.

And it’s important that we name what we experienced for what it was: an act of violence and a trauma.

And while I could not have foreseen this, and I reacted as quickly as I could, I am deeply sorry for what we had to experience together.

So, a few things:

First, we have been in contact with the FBI to investigate this matter further. Thank you to the member of our church who has a connection in the FBI. Some of you who were in worship on Sunday may be receiving calls as they look into this.

Second, while this was traumatic for all of us, it may have been especially traumatic for some of us. If you want to process this with me, please give me a call. We can talk over the phone, on video chat, or with appropriate healthy distancing at the church.

Third, we are changing our online practices for the time being. We will no longer have worship on Zoom. Instead:

I will post a video service to our new YouTube account and to our Facebook page. And I will host a watch party on Facebook at 9:30 on Sundays. This will be the public side of our worship for right now. It will also mean that you won’t need to watch it at 9:30 if another time works for you. And, of course, you can still read and listen to the sermon, and other conversations, via the website and our podcast.

After worship on Sundays (so probably around 10am), I will also host a Fellowship time on Zoom. You will need to register for this and there will be a password. This will help us verify who is coming into our online Fellowship Hall.

Our Bible Study and other ‘public’ events that take place over Zoom will also require registration. Meetings will remain open, since you should only have the link to the meeting if you’re a member of the committee.

You can register for post-worship fellowship time here.

You can register for our Wednesday Bible Study here.

This is a problem that has affected many churches. I pray for everyone who has experienced it and for everyone who has been involved in it. 

I realize that after this, coming to church online might be scary. I am asking you to be courageous in the face of a world where evil is a very real thing. I am asking you to be compassionate towards each other in that world. And, maybe most importantly, I am asking you to have faith that God is leading us all to something better.

Thank you all for being part of the church in this time of compounding and confounding difficulty. I look forward to seeing you in some way, shape, or form in the coming weeks. And I look forward to the day that we might be together in-person again.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris

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