Responding to news about the violence in Pakistan and Kenya this weekend, the head of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, Thomas Kemper, said “as parts of the one body of Christ, we share in the sorrow of those who are affected by these heinous attacks.”
An attack on September 21 at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya killed dozens of people resulting in a multi-day siege with hundreds wounded. The following day, another violent attack killed about 80 worshippers at All Saints Church, in Peshawar district of Pakistan.
Kemper offered a prayer for reconciliation and peace saying, “We stand with all who are grieving and ask that God grant consolation, a spirit of forgiveness, and a sense of determination.”
In a letter to Bishop Humphrey Peters in Peshawar, Pakistan, Kemper wrote, “The whole of the church is in pain, bewildered at the extent of hatred and intolerance in the world.”
Ecumenical networks sent out messages of shared sadness. The World Council of Churches general secretary Fykse Tveit expressed “heart-felt sorrow” at the heavy loss of life from the bombings at the All Saints Church in Peshawar calling it a “single worst loss of life among Christians in Pakistan”.
The World Methodist Council has asked members to pray “for persecuted Christians everywhere who continue to worship our Lord with considerable personal risk to themselves.”
Kemper noted that All Saints church is one of the oldest Christian churches in Pakistan, representing “generations of Christian presence in this ancient land.”
Addressing the terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kemper wrote in a letter to the United Methodist East Africa Annual Conference Bishop Daniel Wandabula, “the mission community of the United Methodist Church stands in solidarity with the United Methodists of Kenya in this time of pain and grief.” A letter of solidarity was also sent to the presiding bishop of the Methodist Church of Kenya.
Even as we “tremble in anger and despair over the loss of innocent lives” Kemper asked that we continue to be “steadfast in faith and be assured of God’s grace and love.”