[Episcopal News Service]
Following is the initial statement from the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and its global humanitarian ministry, Church World Service, concerning Tuesday's attacks on national sites:
'We join all in our nation and world in shock and anger at today's horrific chain of attacks on sites that are national symbols, claiming yet-uncounted innocent lives. In particular, we hold the families of the victims in our prayers. We acknowledge the grief, sense of vulnerability, loss and fear that result from these attacks.
'We condemn these vicious attacks in the strongest possible terms. Even as our national sites are under attack, we call on all people to manifest the best of our national spirit. At such a time as this, we must hold together. We call on people of faith to reach out to one another.
'We especially urge churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to join in prayer and practical help. We must stand united against the temptation to retaliate against innocent persons.
'We can all pray. We can respond to calls for donations of blood and other practical assistance.
'In this the worst attack on U.S. territory since Pearl Harbor, we must turn our eyes to the God of us all. In Psalm 23, we are promised God's care even 'in the presence of our enemies.' May God guide us in these days of pain.'
The Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches
The Rev. John L. McCullough, Executive Director, Church World Service