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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: ChurcHackers
By Tim Pickl


“Thank you, Brother Kaspersky for leading us in prayer before this meeting. It’s been a whirlwind day.” Pastor Rick picked up the meeting agenda from the Board Room table, while simultaneously reaching for his reading glasses. “In light of yesterday’s—shall we say, tumultuous—events, we’ve called this emergency church board meeting.”

Brother Kaspersky gently raised his right hand. “Pastor Rick, may I say one thing before we start?”

“Sure, Brother, go ahead.”

“I just want to say how blessed and impressed I am with the way this whole operation was handled and executed. We did it with dignity, serving justice while showing God’s mercy at the same time.”

“Thank you—and I agree… I call this emergency church board meeting to order. All in favor say Aye.” Pastor Rick sighed and said, “Aye.”

All 7 members of the church board agreed with an Aye.

“Here’s the agenda. Thank God we have such a wonderful church secretary.”

All 7 members of the church board agreed with a hearty Aye.

Mary, the church secretary, blushed.

Laughing, Pastor Rick added, “You all never cease to amaze me. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Okay, we’ll start with Sis. Norton.”

“It’s Sister Symantecsky now, Pastor Rick.”

“Oh, I am so sorry, Sister. It’s just an old habit.”

“No worries,” Sis. Symantecsky gently cleared her throat. “As we all painfully remember, the church’s main server was hacked into last summer, and a nasty virus was released into our network. The server’s software had to be completely rebuilt and most of our computers needed to be cleaned. As a result of this attack, we as a church board voted on, approved and then implemented new firewall software to block outside intruders.”

“So, how did this all begin yesterday? Because I was preaching, I could only see so much.” Pastor Rick looked around the church board conference room table.

“I give the floor to Dr. McAfee, who will explain it.”

Dr. McAfee, scratched his grey speckled beard with his left hand, then reported, “As a direct result of the Trend Micro investigation of the hacker attack last summer, we discovered that there was more than one person involved in the assault on our network, and that the attack took place inside the church building.”

“Ohhh… so that’s when we voted on installing the hidden cameras?”

“Yes sir. We had designated Church Security volunteers monitor the cameras, watching for anything suspicious in the sanctuary, especially in the back rows on the main floor and the upper level.”

Sister Symantecsky enthusiastically added, “And that’s when we caught that group of teenagers in the texting scandal.”

“But, that was a minor catch compared to yesterday.” Dr. McAfee paused for a moment. “Yesterday, during your sermon, we saw something very suspicious. We spotted a young man with an iPad, acting as if he was taking notes on the sermon. I had Security zoom in on the iPad, and—all in high definition—we could see he was trying to hack into our server.”

“Okay and that’s when you had the ushers approach and ask the young man to step out of the sanctuary?”

“Yes sir. That’s when the commotion started, and interrupted the church service. I apologize in front the entire board today for the disruption.”

“No problem, it was all necessary. I was working closely with the police. The rest of the story is in attached to the agenda.”

“NOOOO! I will not go with you! You can’t make me!

Pastor Rick saw the nod from the Head Usher, and stopped preaching. “Everyone, please remain calm and stay seated. Brother Kaspersky, please lead us in a song?”

“No problem.”

“I have to leave for a few minutes.” Pastor Rick ambled down the main aisle and exited the sanctuary into the church foyer. Immediately he reached for his iPhone, and sent a quick text to the police swat team waiting in a nearby neighborhood.


The swat team converged on the church parking lot, like a swarm of fruit flies to a ripe banana. The real hacker—hunkered down and typing commands on a laptop in a white minivan—was completely surprised.

“The young man in the sanctuary was only a decoy, hired by the real hacker to distract us. Thank God for Dr. McAfee and his Trend Micro investigation.”

“Thank you, Pastor Rick.”

“The bottom line here, folks: While the real hacker was subsequently arrested; we’ve shown mercy on the young man. He’s getting baptized this Sunday.”

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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carole Robishaw 12/29/11
Very funny, I totally enjoyed reading this twist on the topic.
Amanda Brogan12/29/11
Talk about a high-tech church! They really wanted to catch that guy. Lesson learned: people should refrain from using their iPads to take sermon notes. ;)

This was an amusing story.
C D Swanson 12/29/11
Oh this was so clever and so entertaining. I really enjoyed this. It was crisp, fresh and full of life. Nicely done. Great job.
God Bless~
annie keys12/29/11
Funny! Love the ending! Good job!
James Brown12/29/11
Another strong story delivered on the current topic using terms easy to identify with.

I noticed a few areas where I couldn't identify the speaker which caused me to back track.

I like the idea of using a written agenda to tell the rest of the story. I did feel though that it would be more formal and less storybook format.

I do like the flow and progression of the story. However, I'm a bit confused. Pastor Rick seems unsure of what happened in the beginning, but he was the one who called the swat team to apprehend the hacker. Also, the hacking seemed a 'spur of the moment' discovery, yet a swat team is waiting nearby.

You introduced a great twist by planting a decoy hacker. I enjoyed the ending with the decoy getting baptized - justice tempered with mercy.

Over all, great job. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Leola Ogle 12/30/11
Amusing, delightful with a great ending! Thanks for sharing this well written story! God bless!
Allison Egley 12/30/11
:) I like this.

A few times, with the names like McAfee and such, there was a disconnect for me as to whether we were actually in the church, or whether we were supposed to be "in the computer."

I loved your last line. :)
Edmond Ng 01/03/12
An enjoyable read. I know all the names mentioned in your story from the anti-virus vendors and team. Interesting plot with good ending of one who is a repentant decoy. LOL. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/04/12
I liked the beginning. The dialog felt realistic. Maybe it's because I'm from a very small and rural area but I had a hard time believing that a church would spend so much money on intricate equipment (but then our church doesn't even have internet access) It was a suspenseful story. The ending made me smile. I suspect there is a hidden message here too but my brain just isn't picking up on it. I did think you did a great job with this difficult topic.
Linda Goergen01/04/12
Clever, comical and an entertaining read! Great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/05/12
After reading the other comments I wanted to say Duh, Shann! My husband is an IT guy so I should have recognized the names. Now I know what I was missing. I'd like to think I wasn't the only one who didn't get it but I fear I am alone here in my ignorance. :)