Messages of Hope


Published / by Sandy

Prayers for our sisters and brothers in New Zealand. #Christchurch
The President of the Uniting Church and all Moderators of our Synods are currently in New Zealand meeting with the leaders of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand. They have released the following statement.
“As Moderators and President, we are here in New Zealand with the ex-president of the Methodist Church in New Zealand and the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. We are deeply distressed to hear of the shootings at the Deans Avenue Mosque and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch, New Zealand. We offer our prayers and support to all those affected, particularly victims and their families. As people of faith our hearts go out to our Muslim sisters and brothers. An attack on people of faith is an attack on us all, who seek to worship in safety and peace.
We invite all Uniting Church members to join members of the Methodist Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand in observing a minute’s silence on Sunday, to pray for the New Zealand community and society and for those most directly affected”.

We Pray in the Wake of the Horror of Violence
God, present with us in Christ,
Supporting and guiding us in the Spirit,
Embrace us in your compassion,
Hold us in your truth,
Infuse us with your love,
For the world can be a dark and violent place,
Where what transpires is unfair and wrong,
And where innocents suffer for the agenda of evil.
Calm our fears and worries.
Give us strength of peace.
And the power of hope.
We think of victims and their loved-ones.
Be with all who need solace and comfort in their time of distress.
Work for healing with all who need it.
When we turn our thinking to the perpetrators,
Smack down any self-righteousness within us.
Teach us how to unclench our souls as prejudice and judgement arise within our mindset.
When we start to label people or name people as enemies,
Corrupt our thinking with your grace, love and compassion,
Reminding us of the teaching of Jesus about such people.
May we not let go of our sense of horror at wrongdoing,
Not seek to excuse acts of cruelty or hate,
But transform these in your grace,
So that understanding, forgiveness,
and reconciliation become the orders of the day.
May we work with you in this world,
So that the day might come sooner than ever,
Where peace is the priority,
Injustice is resolved in good and right ways,
Where no-one dies because of the cause of others,
And that we might live together,
If not in unity, at least with respect and tolerance.
Christ, may we better learn your way,
And better live it together,
So that the horrors of humanity might end.
This we pray,
Now and always. Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

Fr Rod Bower writes: From Christ Church Gosford to Christchurch New Zealand….. we join our broken heart to yours. Our thoughts and prayers are with you but they are not enough. Only a wholehearted commitment to truth and non-violence will ensure such crimes against humanity cease to occur. We should not be surprised that such an act of terrorism could emanate from Australia. We have allowed bigotry and racism to infiltrate our national discourse. We have rewarded vilification of ethnic and religious minorities with political success. We have used division to create the illusion of unity. This heinous act of terrorism is the result of the lazy, cheap and divisive political discourse that has diminished our communal soul. This must stop. We must find a better way.
Salam (peace) to the fallen.
Salam to the injured.
Salam to the grieving.
Salam for our future.

Osman Faruqi: “…We begged you to stop amplifying and normalising hatred and racism. But you told us we were ‘politically correct’ and ‘freedom of speech’ was more important. The more you gave the far-right a platform, the more powerful they got. We begged you…”

Brad Chilcott: “What can one say when the hate that has been amplified and validated by political leaders and media spills over into violence and terror? We stand with the victims, with New Zealand’s Muslim communtiy and all New Zealanders in love, sorrow and solidarity. We condemn prejudice and the politics of fear, along with all who weaponise diversity for their own gain. We commit afresh to building a society where all are welcome to belong, contribute and thrive; where leadership is measured in the ability to bring people together not drive them apart; where people of all faiths and cultures are respected and every human is afforded the same right to dignity, justice and opportunity. And again we mourn that this is not yet so – and we grieve with those who continue to suffer until it is”.

Rev. Ray Coster, World Council of Churches Central Committee member from Aotearoa New Zealand: “We share with sisters and brothers in the wider ecumenical family our pain and grief in one of New Zealand’s darkest hours and crave their prayers for the many Muslim families grieving at this time. Some of these families may be migrants or refugees. They are part of us. Many came seeking refuge and safety as Aotearoa New Zealand is perceived as a safe place. As a nation we value compassion, kindness and tolerance. What we have seen today has no place in our culture.”

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches: “This terrible crime against women, men and children at the time of their prayers is an attack on all believers and an assault on the bonds of shared humanity and peaceful coexistence which unite us all. The WCC stands in solidarity with all Muslims at this time, especially the Muslims of Aotearoa New Zealand, and expresses the strongest possible condemnation of these actions and of the hateful and dangerous ideologies that stand behind them.”
Tveit expressed his deep condolences to the Muslim community, and all the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for this massacre is an attack on the whole nation and its values of inclusion and respect for all its citizens. He added: “We pray that all the communities of Aotearoa New Zealand will come together to support those who have suffered so dreadfully and to reaffirm the nation’s commitment to the safety and flourishing of all its people”.
Tveit concluded: “At this time the WCC reiterates its long-standing commitment to dialogue and harmony with the Muslim communities of the world. We affirm to all our Muslim friends and partners that we utterly reject such actions and call on all Christian people to follow in the way of Jesus Christ by seeking to live in peace and respect with all our neighbours, and especially committing ourselves to the protection of vulnerable minorities.”