Pastor Peter and son Liam at the Cairo Airport. Picture from the CNN website.
According to the latest ELCA news release, the 10 ELCA missionaries who serve in Cairo and family members are now in St. Paul, Minn., their temporary home until they are able to return to their assignments when the crisis in Egypt subsides. Members of Nokomis Heights Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, a congregation Johnson previously served and who now sponsors the Johnsons, met the missionaries at the airport. Members also provided the missionaries with supplies and personal items, such as winter coats. Members of Roseville (Minn.) Lutheran Church, longtime sponsors of ELCA missionaries and the apartments the missionaries are staying at, also provided support.”
One of the members of St. Andrew United Church, where Pastor Peter and Intern Pastor Paul serve, filmed this video about recent violence at the church.
Pastor Peter commented by website on recent violence at their church:
Due to our location across from the High Court buildings, St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo has seen much activity in our neighborhood: protesters, tear gas, gun fire, etc. A few nights ago, the church was broken into by looters, though it appears nothing valuable was taken from the property. The next day, members of the church took church valuables to their homes in several locations around Cairo for safe keeping. The facade of the Guild Hall and a few windows have been damaged by bullets. Although the door of the sacristy was broken, the sanctuary appears fine.
Robert O. Smith, ELCA Global Mission Director for the Middle East, noting that none of the church’s symbols were harmed during the incident, observed that these looters were likely looking for something to sell rather than an expressing any anti-Christian sentiment.
The missionaries left with “mixed feelings,” according to the news release, and with the people and companions of Egypt in their hearts. They look forward to returning when they can.