28 November 2022 |
Sabbath services were interrupted at Johannesburg Central SDA Church over the weekend by a gang of six armed men who held the congregation hostage, robbing members of cash and other valuables. The moment it began was captured on the church’s livestream video where the preacher realizes what is happening, stops the sermon, and sits down – most likely being instructed by one of the gang members. (No violence is shown.)
According to News24, police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza reported that: “They threatened the churchgoers with firearms. No one was injured and there are no arrests yet. The suspects later walked out of the church.” Police are still searching for the armed suspects.
Acting Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Major General Tommy Mthombeni condemned the attack on the church saying, “Police will do everything to bring the perpetrators to book. Church members should be allowed to do their business peacefully.”
The Facebook page for Johannesburg Central SDA had a post after the incident that read:
Thank God no one was hurt but people were left traumatised. Romans 12:19-21 (KJV)
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
A later Facebook post offered counseling services to congregants, along with prayer and support; encouraging members to support each other and assuring them that “this too will pass.”