ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The investigation continues after a non-credible bomb threat email was sent to the Agudas Achim synagogue around 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
Amid that scare, however, a Christian church across the street welcomed the congregation with open arms.
The Evangelical Covenant Church opened its doors and offered a space for the displaced to hold their services.
“Having a place that you love being threatened in that way is scary and terrifying,” Covenant Church Associate Pastor Chris Wall said.
While the Jewish congregation waited to get the “okay” from the police to re-enter their place of worship, officers eventually told them to evacuate to the parking lot of the Evangelical church.
“I immediately went to how can we care for them, what can we offer them that would help them feel a little bit of safety,” Wall said.
Wall said those who were at the Synagogue at that time were planning to hold a Bat Mitzvah, so his church community got to work preparing the space, and the Agudas Achim members moved forward with their services until they could return to their own place of worship.
“We set up a projector…a table, and a lectern for the book of worship they were using,” Wall said. “Their singing echoed in here, this place was full.”
Wall said the emotions didn’t hit him until after when he thought about how two different religions were able to come together to support each other.
“These two communities of faith with these different traditions coming together in this way was a beautiful thing,” he said.
Wall added that seeing the Jewish congregation push through and continue to practice their faith through an unimaginable challenge was moving.
“Hearing them singing in our fellowship hall, seeing this young woman go through her bat mitzvah was inspiring and encouraging,” he said.
Although Wall hopes an instance like this doesn’t happen again, he said his church will continue to open its doors to those over at Congregation Agudas Achim.
The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island is helping this synagogue and others work through how to handle these threats. President and CEO Adam Greenman said amid the terror the Jewish community has been experiencing in the past week, all communities of faith need to support each other.
“Last Saturday we were in contact with all of the other faith communities reinforcing the idea that even in these dark moments we need to work together,” he said.