US church has solidarity drill
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US church has solidarity drill

Members of an African-American church show their support for Israel with a mock evacuation

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Church members 'evacuate' their sanctuary during a solidarity drill. (YouTube screenshot)
Church members 'evacuate' their sanctuary during a solidarity drill. (YouTube screenshot)

Members of the Congregation of Zion church in Stockton, California believe that standing with Israel means running with it, too.

Last Saturday, the 75 member-strong congregation staged a “mock evacuation” during which an Israeli air raid siren sounded and churchgoers had only 15 seconds to exit the sanctuary and seek shelter.

The exercise was the brainchild of the congregation’s pastor, Dumisani Washington, who thought it was a good way to show solidarity with the citizens of Israel.

Moreover, the members got to demonstrate their support in real time, as the siren that was sounded over the church’s PA system was an actual siren going off in Israel that very moment and heard over the Red Alert: Israel app.

“My family and I downloaded the app earlier this week,” Washington told Arutz Sheva. “This weekend was also the 10th anniversary of my serving as pastor of the congregation. I thought it appropriate to empathize with Israel in this way today.”

The Congregation of Zion is an Afro-American Christian church that embraces the Hebrew roots of its faith. Though not a messianic church, it reveres and prays to the God of Israel and incorporates Hebrew readings and songs and Jewish holidays and practices into its worship.

In the “Standing With Israel” section of its website, the congregation states that it believes in the election of the Jewish people and the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Washington posted a video of the mock evacuation on the church’s Facebook page and on YouTube, where it has garnered some 11,000 views thus far.


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