An evangelical congregation that has been involved in outreach programs to the Jewish community has been subjected to violence and threats from persons who chrage it with "spiritual genocide against the Jewish people."
The Rev. Eugene McGee, pastor of First Alliance Church, said the incidents began at the time of a conference on "God, the Jews and You" held at the church in June. At that time, he said, several persons picketed the Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation and distributed leaflets accusing it of "spiritual genocide."
Two weeks later, McGee said, an individual telephoned and threatened to harm the church and its buses if it did not stop "converting Jews." The pastor said that he asked the caller "how we could stop converting Jews if we believed in the Gospel" and that the caller said th=e congregation could prevent Jews from worshiping there. The pastor called that "absolutely ridiculous."
The caller, according to Mr. McGee, identified himself as a member of the Jewish Defense League, but the JDL disavowed any involvement in the incident.
In early August, Mr. McGee related, a brick was thrown through a plate glass door and three stained glass windows were broken. More recently, the Pastor said, a $15,000 bus was fire-bombed, and an anonymous caller told him a member of his family would be killed if he did not stop "killing Jews."
"I think we are dealing with somebody who is mentally ill," Mr. McGee said, adding that police and the FBI had been notified of the threat and were investigating the incidents.
Mr. mcGee noted that the Rev. Charles Eisenberg, a Hebrew Christian minister, has been serving as "full-time Jewish minister" of the church but that he has not been threatened. The pastor said he has been in contact with Rabbi Howard Berman of Temple Emanuel who he said had "deeply deplored" the acts of violence.