A Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation based in Arkansas has clarified that a message they put on their marquee sign about a stolen air conditioning unit that went viral online was just a joke.
First Presbyterian Church of Benton recently posted a message on their sign that read “Whoever stole our AC units, keep one, because it is hot where you’re going.”
A local photographed the sign and posted it to Facebook on Tuesday, with the image getting more than 1,500 shares on the social media site by Thursday.
“Meanwhile in downtown Benton,” the local stated, with the photo also getting as of Thursday morning dozens of comments, over 130 likes, and more than 100 laughs.
The church has since distanced themselves from the sign’s message, taking down the text in response to criticism and explaining in multiple venues that it was not meant to be taken seriously.
“To those who are concerned, all AC units are present and working,” stated the church on their official Facebook page. “Reminder: Presbyterian theology focuses on grace and love.”
In an interview with local media outlet KTHV published Wednesday, church member Berry Beard explained that they wanted to “try to get people’s attention with it.”
“I’m sure the member who put it there thought it was thought provoking, but was somewhat misleading,” said Beard to KTHV.
“This does not represent the theology of our church … We are a church of loving and caring and helping, not a church of a vengeful God.”
While some churches prefer not to have their signs become social media sensations, others, including Camelot Christian Center of San Antonio, Texas revel in it.
The viral messages from the Texas church have included “Yard Sale Bigger Than Kanye’s Ego This Sat” and jokingly quoting Jesus as having said “YOLO LOL JK BRB.”