Near the conclusion of reading the congregation’s Right Relations policy prior to its annual fall congregational service last Sunday, Nov. 21, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Rock Tavern, conducting its services through Zoom and in person, was hacked by an organized hate group of about 20 people.
The hackers spewed obscene remarks and sounds and racial epithets. The congregation’s Zoom hosts acted quickly and cut the meeting off. They created a new Zoom link and instituted security measures to thwart the hackers and the annual service/meeting went on as planned.
It was not the first time that the progressive fellowship, which is a regional magnet congregation, had been targeted by hate groups. In 2017, the congregation’s roadside signs were vandalized and stolen.
The congregation’s leadership is weighing its response to the incident and will be implementing more security measures.
“We all know that there are ignorant and malignant people in the world, but it is always a shock when you are personally confronted by those with evil intent,” Congregation President Patrick O’Neill said. “It is especially upsetting to realize that an organized mob would plot to attack a church service. As we have some indications of the origin, we can certainly report this. Bullies choose soft targets and don’t expect to face consequences.”
The congregation filed a complaint with State Police at Montgomery. The police said an investigator would contact Zoom to try to get IP addresses.