Anglicans in Aotearoa New Zealand and across the Communion have responded with shock and a commitment to prayer and solidarity following the terrible attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday 15th March 2019, which left 50 dead and dozens injured.
Archbishops Philip Richardson and Don Tamihere, joint leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, issued a joint statement:
“We are shocked at the appalling and horrific acts of violence that occurred in Christchurch today. We feel utterly saddened for those who have lost their lives, and for their families and loved ones who mourn them. Indeed we mourn with them as fellow citizens and members of the same human family, and we condemn the despicable and cowardly acts of violence that took their lives.
“The freedom of worship and religious life is an absolute right to all in this land. We choose to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters and support their continued and inalienable right to live and worship here in peace.
“All of us who live here in Aotearoa New Zealand must stand in solidarity in the face of such evil – and we call upon Anglicans throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to uphold all those affected in prayer, and to respond to this act by rejecting the rhetoric of hatred and religious intolerance, and to show compassion and kindness to all our neighbours who wish to live here in peace,” the Archbishops said.
Anglican Missions is preparing to launch an appeal in support of victims and families affected by the mosque shootings in Christchurch. Anglican Missions supports the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia in its mission, including responding to human need.
Anglican Missions has called on the worldwide Anglican Communion to join them in prayer and solidarity. Their statement says:
“We have been shielded in Aotearoa New Zealand from so much of the religious hatred and bigotry that stalks the world. But yesterday that innocence and immunity was shattered. Anglican Missions joins with Christians across the globe in condemning this terrorist act.
“Please join us in praying for God’s comfort for the families, friends, and communities who lost loved ones; for wisdom for our national and local leaders as they respond; for peace and calm and for no further incidents or retaliations; for the police, emergency responders, chaplains and health professionals at the hospitals dealing with survivors; for wisdom and sensitivity towards our Muslim brothers and sisters; and for church communities as they respond – especially in Christchurch.”
Anglican Missions is in discussions with church and community leaders, and will launch an appeal more formally with more definitive information in the coming days. In the meantime, donations can be sent to Anglican Missions in support of the Relief Appeal. Donate here.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, responded to the attack in a Tweet in which he expressed his “profound sympathy for the victims and relatives of the New Zealand terrorism.”
He added, “Let all Christians pray for healing of people, interfaith relations and New Zealand itself. Jesus calls us to welcome strangers and love our neighbour however different.”
In the UK, the Christian Muslim Forum, the national forum for Christian-Muslim dialogue, tweeted: “We call on Christians, especially those from our national networks of Church Mosque Twins, to go along to Friday prayers at their local mosque to stand in solidarity. The devastating attacks in Christchurch bring us together in grief and in our determination to fight hatred with friendship.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury supported this idea, tweeting: “As Christians we are called to be good neighbours. Let’s get behind this simple act of kindness and reject hatred of Muslims.”
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