From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABCUSA: BAPTISTS EXPRESS GRIEF, CALL FOR PRAYER
Mon, 17 Sep 2001 15:47:58 -0400 (EDT)
AMERICAN BAPTIST NEWS SERVICE
Office of Communication
American Baptist Churches USA
P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Phone: (610)768-2077 / Fax: (610)768-2320
Richard W. Schramm, Director
AMERICAN BAPTISTS JOIN CHRISTIANS
WORLDWIDE IN EXPRESSING GRIEF
AND CALLING FOR PRAYER IN AFTERMATH OF
DEADLY TERRORIST ATTACKS
American Baptists have joined with Christians
around the world in an outpouring of concern, condolence
and prayerful support in the wake of the terrorist attacks
last week in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania that
likely have claimed more than 5,000 lives.
Some initial responses follow. Others will be
shared as they are received.
In New Jersey, where many of the early
emergency medical procedures for World Trade Center
victims took place, Dr. A. Roy Medley, executive minister
of American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, wrote to
churches: "We pray not only for those who are bereaved,
for those who still anxiously await word and for those who
labor in rescue and medical services; we pray as well for
our nation. May God save our hearts from the hate and
vengeance which motivated the authors of this act. May
our government act wisely as we seek to bring to justice
those who have committed this horrible deed. Any may
God turn our hearts from the possibility of unthinking acts
of vengeance against those within our land who share
faith or nationality with those who planned and executed
American Baptist Churches USA President Trinette
V. McCray, in a communication sent Sept. 12 to American
Baptist staff, said: "Certainly words cannot express the
degree of sorrow and pain that we have all been visited by
during and following the tragedy.... We have joined
together in prayers for the families of persons whose lives
were senselessly taken from them. May God deliver
healing to those who are injured and whose lives may
never be the same.... May we pray for the safety for
internationals and others who are in this country for purely
good and positive reasons as a part of our global
community. Let's also pray for those of the Islamic
community who will become targets for expressions of
anger, suspicion and retaliation. We must pray that our
authorities will be led to the persons who are responsible
for these acts. As many of you travel so routinely, I pray
for God's return of your sense of safety. Join me in
clinging to a constant awareness of God's presence and
Dr. Robert H. Roberts, interim general secretary of
American Baptist Churches USA, in a statement released
Sept. 11 (see www.abc-usa.org/American Baptist News
Service), said: "We need to pray fervently today for the
thousands who have suffered the loss or injury of loved
ones. We pray for the caregivers, those who even now
work to save those trapped and those who will need to
provide ongoing care to those scarred in body and spirit.
We pray that the hardened hearts of those responsible
for-and supportive of-such acts be softened and
reformed by the love that comes only from the God who
cherishes and models reconciliation. We pray for swift
justice, but a justice tempered by appropriate restraint.
We pray for shalom-God's peace-in our broken world."
Worldwide Baptist Response
Among communications from worldwide Baptist
bodies, received by American Baptist International
Ministries and the Baptist World Alliance, are the following
Baptist Union of Norway: "We send you all our
condolences and sympathy and hope that the people
responsible for this terrorist attack may be caught and
imprisoned. May the Lord give you strength as you reach
out to both our own Baptist people and all other victims of
Baptist Union of Croatia: "We pray for all the
victims who have suffered from the attack, and also for
your government leaders to find the proper solution [for]
finding the real enemy."
Baptist Evangelical Churches Union of Italy: "Our
churches will be praying in these difficult times for the
families of the victims and for the healing of the injured.
We pray that God call other people to the service of peace
and reconciliation in this world of enmity and hatred."
European Baptist Mission, Germany: "As Christians
we see behind this attack the power of evil, but we very
clearly know that the power of our almighty God, His
power of love in Jesus Christ, is much stronger and will
have the victory at the end."
Estonian Baptist Union: "Estonian Baptists are
praying for your country.... Yesterday it was an official
day of mourning in Estonia...most of our churches had late
night prayer meetings because of the situation in U.S."
Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches in
France: "We feel helpless in face of such grief and distress
and give thanks that in Jesus Christ we have a loving
Shepherd to understand our suffering. May God teach us
to number our days aright and to serve Him faithfully,
whatever ground the darkness may gain."
First Baptist Church of Wroclaw, Poland: "We pray
for the Christians that they will be used by God in this
dramatic situation to bring His presence, peace, comfort
and good news."
Euro-Asiatic Federation Churches Baptist Union,
Russia: "In this terrible time we will be praying together
that God will console relatives of dead people and gave
you a power to carry this terrible tragedy and work on His
field for your people."
Czech Baptist Union: "We are very deeply moved
in our hearts; we are crying with you! We are praying for
International Baptist Theological Seminary,
Prague, Czech Republic: "The International Baptist
Theological Seminary community extends to all our many
friends in the U.S.A. the assurance of our prayers and
concern in the light of the terrible terrorist attacks...."
Baptist Union of Slovakia: "Our prayers are with
you and your families...our congregations will be gathering
in special prayer meetings to call [upon] the Lord to hold
His protecting hand over your nation."
Nagaland Baptist Church Council: "We are
appalled at the destruction and we stand by our fellow
human beings in America...at this moment of grief, and in
this confounded situation [we call for] the churches in
Nagaland to pray for this great nation."
Bengal Baptist Union: "We are shocked by the
news of the terrorist attack in New York and Washington
which claimed so many innocent lives of people without
any rhyme or reasons. We assure [you of] our prayers for
all living in U.S.A."
Canadian Baptist Ministries: "We are aware that
while this attack was on America it is an assault at much
different levels that are global in their ramifications. It is
in times like this that our global citizenship and more
importantly our citizenship in Jesus Christ touches us most
Progressive Bethel Baptist Church of Port
Elizabeth, South Africa: "We call upon all our Baptist
churches in South Africa to be in prayer for our friends,
partners and brothers and sisters across the Atlantic at
this time and to light a candle to say that there will be
peace at last."
Baptist Union of Victoria, Australia: "We are
praying...for all concerned--the victims and their
families, the U.S. government as it responds, and
especially for the perpetrators, that God will reveal His
love to them."
Council of Evangelical Churches for a
Denominational Alliance (CEPAD), Nicaragua: "As the
people of the United States have stood with the people of
Nicaragua in their suffering, now the people of Nicaragua
send their sympathy and support to the U.S. in this time of
grief and loss.... This day will never be forgotten. Let its
memory inspire us to redouble our efforts for peace and
reconciliation, wherever we may find ourselves...."
World Council of Churches (Dr. Konrad Raiser,
general secretary): "You are all in our prayers. We pray
especially for the victims of these tragedies and for their
families and loved ones. We pray for those providing
emergency services. We pray for the leaders of your
nation. May God give them courage and wisdom in this
terrible hour. We fervently pray that this is the end of
terror, and implore those responsible to desist from any
further such acts of inhumanity."
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the
U.S.A. and Church World Service (Dr. Robert W. Edgar,
general secretary, NCCC, and the Rev. John L.
McCullough, executive director, CWS):
"We condemn these vicious attacks in the strongest
possible terms. Even as our national sites are under
attack, we call on all people to manifest the best of our
national spirit. At such a time as this, we must hold
together. We call on people of faith to reach out to one
Baptist World Alliance (Dr. Denton Lotz, general
secretary): "It is time for religious leaders to condemn all
violence and all terrorist activities. As Baptists we are
called upon to be peacemakers, and all forms of religious,
political and social fanaticism must be condemned in the
name of God. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who is coming
again to gather His people into a new kingdom. During
this time of waiting for the return of Christ, we call upon
Baptists and men and women of good will everywhere to
strive for those things that make for peace, reconciliation
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