The General Board of Global Ministries in the United Methodist Church (UMC) released a seven-point message of solidarity, comfort and support to the survivors of the Beslan tragedy, on Sept 7, 2004.
The UMC, like many other church groups, reminded the victims that the world shares in the pain as “one body.”
“We are sick to our souls in the loss of lives at the school in Beslan. Ministry to children and youth is among our mission priorities. The killing and wounding of children, youth, and their teachers brings tears to our eyes and pain to our hearts,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, the letter encouraged the victims through prayers and greetings of love.
“May God give all in Russia a strong hope and a resolve in love to bring the Gospel of peace, justice, and salvation to your land, as all of us together seek to be messengers of the Divine Word that is our common light for the future,” they wrote.
Last week’s stand-off in a public school in Beslan, Russia, resulted in the death of over 330 people – over half of whom were children. Although several terrorists were caught in the rescue operations, officials are not yet clear as to who orchestrated the attacks.
Meanwhile, to help the physical and psychological recovery efforts in Beslan, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, a unit of the board, will send school kits and health kits to the Beslan area, said Linda Beher, the relief agency’s communications director.
According to Beher, “Assembling the kits is a good project for a congregation or church school class.”
For more information on the kits, please visit the UMC relief group online at: www.umcor.org.
The following is the full text of the UMC’s “Message to Russian United Methodists and Their Neighbors in a Time of Trial”:
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ, the One who upholds and sustains us at all times and in all places.
The directors and staff of the General Board of Global Ministries join hands in faith with United Methodists and their neighbors in Russia in this time of suicide and terrorist attacks that bring fear and uncertainty to your nation and to daily life.
1. We feel your pain for, as St. Paul reminds us, Christians form "one body" and all members suffer together.
2. We are sick to our souls in the loss of lives at the school in Beslan. Ministry to children and youth is among our mission priorities. The killing and wounding of children, youth, and their teachers brings tears to our eyes and pain to our hearts. We are praying for the families of the victims and we stand with the Russian people in this time of national mourning. Our entire staff is joining today prayers of remembrance for the victims.
3. We also remember the victims and families of those who died in late August airplane crashes and the attack on an underground railway.
4. We are praying for the safety of each of you and for an end to the acts of individuals and groups that indiscriminately kill, injure, and threaten adults and children.
5. We rejoice in the witness and Christian service that you and your leaders provide to your nation and communities. We are sure that you, acting for all United Methodists through the world, are reaching out whenever possible to bring comfort and healing to those most directly affected by the attacks.
6. We are praying for your lay leaders, pastors, district superintendents and your episcopal leader, Bishop Ruediger Minor.
7. We also send our sympathy and our loving greetings to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is our ecumenical partner through the World Council of Churches.
May God give all in Russia a strong hope and a resolve in love to bring the Gospel of peace, justice, and salvation to your land, as all of us together seek to be messengers of the Divine Word that is our common light for the future. Amen.
Bishop Joel N. Martinez of San Antonio
The Rev. R. Randy Day
General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church