Local News

Bishop warns Lutheran churches in NC of threats

Posted January 17, 2021 9:53 a.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2021 11:30 p.m. EST

— Warnings of possible attacks on liberal churches are prompting changes at least for one Raleigh congregation.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Creedmoor Road said the lead bishop in the state has warned of threats calling for white supremacists to attack liberal congregations.

As a result, the Raleigh church asked staff, who during the coronavirus pandemic have been livestreaming worship services from the sanctuary, to work remotely on Sunday.

According to a letter to the congregation, Lutheran bishops were contacted by the FBI ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Bishop Tim Smith, with North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, sent a memo to other bishops in the synod's umbrella encouraging them to avoid in-person gatherings as a safety precaution.

Smith said the chatter of violence was worrisome.

The United Church of Christ shared a statement on Twitter encouraging worshippers to take safety precautions. The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina also shared a warning with its congregants.

Smith encourages everyone to remain vigilant in the coming days.

"We certainly don't need to panic. We just need to be careful and everybody in this great polarization needs to chill out a little bit," he said.

State capitals were also taking precautions on Sunday, including in Raleigh, where dozens of law enforcement officers surrounded government buildings in anticipation of possible armed marches.

In addition to warnings for Lutheran churches, the FBI has warned all 50 states to be prepared for possible violence in the days leading to Biden's inauguration.

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