Glenn and Pauline Plummer deny their goal is evangelizing, say they’ve been targeted.
When Dr. Glenn R. Plummer, an African American pastor, moved to Israel from Detroit with his wife, Dr. Pauline Plummer, in early September, he wasn’t expecting a large welcoming committee.
But Plummer, who holds the title of first-ever Bishop of Israel for the Pentecostal denomination Church of God in Christ (COGIC), also didn’t anticipate that their lives would be threatened after anti-missionary activists said the couple moved to Israel to proselytize.
“I was not prepared for the kind of attack we experienced and, as a result, have decided to address the matter,” Plummer told the Jewish News. “We’ve had to contact the police to discuss this. They gave us some advice, which we’ve followed.”
He did not elaborate on the nature of the attacks or on their contacts with the police.
The Plummers’ experience reflects longstanding Israeli fears that evangelical Christians are interested in Israel for just one reason: to convert Jews to Christianity.
Under Israeli law, missionary activity in Israel is illegal only if a missionary targets a minor or offers money or something of financial value to another person. Missionaries often place Christian-centered written materials in the mailboxes of private homes, and some quietly hand out New Testaments translated into Russian, Hebrew and Amharic, an Ethiopian language.
In this, his first interview to address the controversy, Plummer, a prominent Christian media personality who served as the first and only African American chairman and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, told the JN that he and his wife are not missionaries. He said he learned of the accusations soon after arriving in Mevaseret, a Jerusalem suburb.
“Our only purpose here is to build a relationship with an even broader group than our church and establish a bridge between Black America and Israel,” Plummer said of COGIC — the largest African American church in the U.S., boasting 6.5 million members in the States and millions more in 100-plus other countries.
In addition to Glenn Plummer’s title of “Bishop of Israel,” COGIC has granted Pauline Plummer the title of “First Lady of Israel,” saying in a 2019 press release that the title had been left “vacant” after the death of Nechama Rivlin, wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.