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The World Methodist Council Reacts to Recent Terrorist Attacks
The world woke this morning to the heart-breaking news of yet another bombing, yet another terrorist attack. The United Kingdom is reeling following the deadly events at the Manchester Arena last night, and another suicide bomb exploded in Damascus, Syria this morning. Each attack that we hear about leaves an indelible mark. No matter how close, or how far away, our lives are forever changed. We imagine in the back of our minds who the persons were that died: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, young, old, weak, strong. We imagine the void such a violent death leaves in the lives of their family and loved ones. And we imagine the anguish and fear felt by those who survived.
Today, The World Methodist Council mourns with the people of Manchester (UK), Damascus, Hasakah & Hama (Syria); Hawija & Baghdad (Iraq); Mastung (Pakistan); Wadi al Shatii (Libya); Zabul (Afghanistan); and the countless other attacks carried out at the behest of terrorist groups during the month of May alone (1).
World Methodist Council General Secretary Ivan Abrahams joined with other faith leaders in condemning these terrorist attacks.
The attack in Manchester yesterday and in Damascus this morning were cowardly acts of violence toward innocent lives, many of them children. Whether for religious or ideological reasons, violence still begets violence. The end result is the same, and it must be stopped. As Christians, and Methodists, we have a longstanding tradition of condemning violence and being active in peace movements. We are committed to the World Council of Church’s Statement on the Way of Just Peace. We weep with those who have been deprived of their loved ones, and we must demand justice while not resorting to violence and hatred. We must move forward in the knowledge that Christ himself was the target of such hate and died a violent death, yet he forgave his executioners, and in so doing changed their lives for the better. We know that God walks with those in pain, and we can find strength and peace in that knowledge.
Reacting to the news of the Manchester bombing, The World Methodist Council’s chair of the Social and International Affairs Committee, Bishop Dr. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko (Methodist Church Nigeria) stated:
We stand in solidarity with the people of Manchester and indeed the United Kingdom at this trying and challenging time of vicious attacks, laden with grief, sorrow, pain, and distraught anguish.
Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and all that are wounded and pray that the Almighty God of compassion and comfort be their companion at this traumatic experience.
We call on the international community to work assiduously to tackle all forms of terrorism and terror attacks. The attack on unsuspecting civilians such as the Manchester Arena is callous, wicked and condemnable.
We commend all the men and women of emergency services and humanity that toil in great effort to assist the wounded and care for the victims showing them amazing love and compassion even in the face of anger and confusion. We stand together with you all.
Our prayer is that the world will become a better place for all where peace, unity and harmony would reign.
President of the Youth and Young Adult committee of the World Methodist Council, Rev. Samuel Murillo Torres (Methodist Church of Mexico), who is currently residing in the United Kingdom shared:
It is completely sad, the violence that many youth and young adult Christians are exposed to around the world every day. This morning in England we are experiencing the sorrow of many families facing a new reality in their lives; a missing beloved one, an injured daughter or son, etc. We call young Christians to continue praying and keeping faith in Christ as our hope, not as a theory or intellectual idea, but as a daily way of life in sharing, welcoming and helping our neighbor in the building of healthy and strong communities. Do not despair and be faithful to Christ. We call every Christian leader, national presidents and bishops to encounter, listen and pray together with young people inside and outside our churches as a very simple but necessary pastoral need.
The World Methodist Council’s Wesleyan Essentials of Christian Faith challenges that “we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be signs of Christ’s presence in our communities, and in the world through our preaching, teaching, and in our deeds of justice, peace, mercy, and healing as the outworking of faith,” and “we seek to understand and respond to the contexts and situations in which we live, so that our witness will have integrity.” It goes on to say that “Being ‘filled with the energy of love,’ we anchor our service and our life and work in love for our neighbors, including those we perceive as our enemies,” and “Recalling the story of the Samaritan (Luke 10:15) we express and claim compassion for all people and accept the call in Christ to ‘suffer with’ the least of these in humility and love.”
The World Methodist Council encourages all its member churches to “suffer with” those who are hurting, broken, and lost following these acts of terror and violence.
Mighty and compassionate, Righteous and loving God,
We cry out to you in this time of uncertainty, fear, and pain.
Let us feel your comforting presence.
Help us to be a light in a world darkened with hate and anger.
We pray for your peace that passes all understanding to be upon us,
And we pray that we can be the peace and comfort
That our hurting neighbors need right now. Amen
(1) May 2017 Terrorist attacks information from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_May_2017.