Methodists Condemn Iraqi Church Attacks

( [email protected] ) Aug 04, 2004 09:43 PM EDT

“I pray that we United Methodists will be generous in our assistance to them in this time of need and loss”

Methodist leaders have joined in the condemnation of Sunday’s terrorist attacks on five Iraqi churches.

Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and a Methodist, said in a statement, “The National Council of Churches USA laments the attacks on the Christian communities in Baghdad. These communities trace their heritage in Iraq two thousand years, and during much of that time both they and their Muslim neighbors have lived peacefully side-by-side. This destructive action taken against the churches by extremists betrays that history of coexistence. We join our Christian and Muslim brothers and sisters of goodwill in Iraq and around the world in condemning this violence."

The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said “All of the people of Iraq are God’s children and we at the General Board of Global Ministries mourn the loss of each and every life,” he said.

“We continue to condemn, in the strongest terms, all acts of violence, by individuals and institutions both domestic and foreign, in Iraq, a country that has suffered far too much to date,” Day added.

The Rev. Larry Pickens, chief executive of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, also condemned the bombings.

“The direct attack upon people of faith in the holy sites does not in any way further any agenda other than the fostering of hatred and disunity,” he said. “It is our hope that an environment of greater tolerance will prevail and that those who are responsible for this targeted violence would cease these senseless acts.”

James Winkler, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, called on all Methodists to provide assistance to those attacked.

“I pray that we United Methodists will be generous in our assistance to them in this time of need and loss,” he said. “Let us also work to bring this war to an end as soon as possible.”

The explosions at five separate churches occurred within a five minute interval, and killed at least 11 people. Some 47 others were injured, and various surrounding buildings were also damaged during the blast.

According to various news sources, the targeted churches included the Armenian Catholic Church in the Karrada District of central Baghdad; the Syrian Catholic Church at Saydat Al Najat, about a half mile away; the Korkis Chaldean Church in Doura, a neighborhood in southern Baghdad; an Assyrian church in the New Baghdad District and the Mar Boulos Chaldean Church in Mosul.