[Episcopal News Service]
Archbishop Carey calls for prayer
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has called for prayer in response to the tragedies in the United States. 'This is a time of shock and deep distress. The suffering, devastation and loss of life touch us all. I hope that people of faith will take time to pray for those who are suffering in the aftermath of these terrible events. I pray that God's presence will be with them. 'I am grateful to those churches able to remain open for private prayer and reflection.' Earlier this evening [September 11], the Archbishop and Mrs Carey were joined by members of staff in the Crypt Chapel at Lambeth Palace to pray together for all those caught up in the tragedy.
Statement from the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu al-Assal
Bishop in Jerusalem, The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
Salaam and Grace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Like many in the world, I am awfully shocked at what I witness and hear from Jerusalem the troubled city. I find myself unable to comprehend or even to begin to understand the horrors of this divided and broken world. There are no available answers for our questions. Instead I am silenced. We forcefully denounce this unjustified action, and we join our sufferings with yours. On behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, ordained and lay, I assure you of our ceaseless prayers for you and all your people, calling upon Almighty God to comfort the hearts of the bereaved for the loss of their dear ones and beseeching him to heal all the injured in body, mind or spirit.
We as the Church are called upon to struggle against evil in the world, provided that our struggling does not resort to the means of the evildoers. We struggle with the weapons of God. Our struggle first must be in prayer. We cannot trace the footsteps or understand the working of God; but may he give us grace to trust him with an undoubting faith, so that when his time comes he may reveal that new heaven and new earth where there is righteousness, and where the prince of peace rules. God be with you at this time.
Until we meet again, know that you, your grace, your dear family and all on your side, are in our thoughts and prayers.
+ Riah Abu al-Assal
Palestinians grieve over USA tragedy
With deep sorrow and profound grief we write this message to offer our heartfelt condolences to the mothers, fathers, children, friends and families of the thousands of innocent people who have been the victims of the terrorist attacks yesterday morning on the USA. We would like to reach out to all of our American friends to assure them that we stand by them at this difficult and tragic time. Constantly, for the past eleven months, we have received many messages from our friends from America expressing their solidarity and sharing with us our grief. Never in our worst nightmares did we imagine that we would be witnessing such a horrendous event and human tragedy inflicted on our American friends. We care for every life and we pray for all those who are mourning the loss of loved ones taken away by this indiscriminate act of organized terror.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
We are aware that the media has shown President Arafat's shocked reaction to this act and his strong condemnation of it. Unfortunately, the media has also shown scenes of a few Palestinians celebrating this tragedy. We want you to know that these few do not speak for or represent the entire Palestinian people. What the media failed to acknowledge was the majority of Palestinians who were shocked, saddened and mournful. We believe that this media campaign is biased and aims at dehumanizing the Palestinian people. Such a campaign follows the same logic of the terrorists, since it deliberately attempts to punish innocent people indiscriminately. In our grief, we are asking ourselves why did the people immediately associate us Palestinians with the perpetrators rather than the victims.
As Palestinians, we can very well understand the pain of our American friends. We know what it means when political leaders are targeted and are not safe in their own offices. We understand what it means when planes attack security headquarters. We know how it feels when the backbone of the economy is assaulted. We do not want to compare suffering, since every suffering is unique and this particular tragedy has such hideous dimensions. Yet, never before have Americans and Palestinians shared so much.
We express our solidarity with the American people. We invite people all over to:
Hold vigil prayers for the victims and their families.
Raise awareness and sensitivity to the brutality that the media perpetrates through the images projected.
Monitor the way that certain nations and peoples are stereotyped (the Americans, the Palestinians, etc.), thus inciting hatred and legitimizing aggression.
Develop alternative media that will set new ethical standards in reporting.
Actively participate in the WCC's 'Decade to Overcome Violence' so that future generations will have compassion, do justice and value life.
Commit to prophet Micah's vision that 'they shall sit every person under his vine and his fig tree and none shall make them afraid.' So that no American, Palestinian, Iraqi, Israeli, Japanese, etc. will be afraid to be in his/her office, home, or airplane, no matter what nationality they hold.
May the peace of Christ be with us all.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, Pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church- Bethlehem
Dr. Nuha Khoury, The International Center of Bethlehem
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, General Director
Anglican Church of Canada leaders respond to violence in New York
In the wake of the catastrophic acts of violence September 11 at New York's World Trade Center and across the United States, various churches and cathedrals across Canada announced that they would be open for special services and prayer vigils.
In addition, many religious leaders have released messages of condolences for the victims of violence. Archbishop Michael Peers, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent a letter to his American counterpart, Bishop Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. In the letter, Archbishop Peers expressed concern for Bishop Griswold and the staff of the U.S. church whose New York offices are near the Trade Center.
The primate wrote, in part: 'I want to assure you that my prayers, and those of Anglicans across Canada, are joined with those of God's people in the United States and around the world. While it is too early to understand with any certainty what lies behind these events, we can be certain that God meets us in prayer, and shares in both our horror and our hope.
'Please communicate to the people of the Episcopal Church, and those of your nation, that we are beside you in prayer, in compassion, and in the witness to hope and peace that are our vocation in the face of the wreckage that is in front of all our eyes and that haunts all our hearts.'
Statement from Archbishop Peter Watson of Melbourne, Australia
(Anglican Media Melbourne) We are shocked and dismayed at the appalling tragedy and loss of life in the US. Our hearts go out to all the injured and those who have lost loved ones.
Those who have lost their lives, the injured and the grieving are very much in our hearts and prayers.
We pray, too, for President Bush and the American people: that they will be comforted by the world-wide outpouring of support and sympathy.
We pray for the peace of the world in the words of the Prince of Peace Himself:
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.'
Statement from the Dean of Melbourne, David Richardson, at a brief Service of Prayer for the victims
Few of us here are people of great influence or responsibility, and I suppose at a time like this we wonder how our prayers can affect the course of world's life and yet we can think of little else to do but pray. We cannot believe that war or tyranny, famine or sickness, are the conditions under which God intends people to live. But people have prayed for peace, and war has not been averted. The tyrant falls, but only after having caused misery, perhaps to millions. The assassin's bullet still shatters hopes, dreams and lives; and the terrorist brings disaster upon tens of thousands. Famine is still normal for most people in this world, and sickness still takes its toll.
We are here today because we believe that these are evils to be fought, but that humanity itself is not equipped to fight them. We are here because we need the love that only God can give, the love which is prepared for great sacrifice, creative thought and untiring patience. We are here to ask God to give strength to those who suffer at this time and to make us alert, discerning and understanding of the ways of making things easier for them.
Statement from the Most Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
'We are all stunned and horrified at the violent scenes from the US that we watched on our TV screens through the night and this morning. Our hearts are overflowing with sympathy for the American people, especially those in New York and Washington, and above all for the families who are bereaved, and for those who are suffering and injured. It is a fearful tragedy.
'We must pray for them, for President Bush and others in leadership positions in the US, and also for leaders of nations throughout the world, including our own. May they seek and find wisdom from the God who is the Creator, and sovereign Lord of the universe.
'In such a time as this, when we may all be feeling a measure of fear and uncertainty, we should all turn to our God who is the Rock and the Comforter of those who put their trust in him. This is not the time for any racist attitudes that attribute blame to new communities in our midst, especially the Islamic people who have come to share their lives with us.
'The violence that has occurred is an evidence of the evil that resides in this world. May we all turn for comfort to the loving and gracious God, who is not absent from human suffering, but who is present with us, waiting for us to call upon him for forgiveness, mercy and love.'
Statement by the Most Rev. Dr. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo, Archbishop of Uganda
We have received with shock the sad news of the terrorist attacks in some parts of your country with utter disbelief!
The Christians here (Uganda) stand shoulder to shoulder with your people as they grieve and struggle to come to terms with the terrible tragedy which has befallen your country and the whole world.
We are crying out for justice; we are praying for America and for world peace; we are praying for the families and institutions that have lost their dear ones and property in this senseless, selfish and cowardly attack.
Now more than before, the tested faith of your people must be further strengthened with the words of the scriptures:
'But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, On those whose hope is in His unfailing love, To deliver them from death And keep them alive...'
As I conclude, be assured of our continuing prayers for you, your Church and your country.
May the presence and comfort of the Lord be yours.
Statement from the Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves, Bishop of Southwestern Brazil
We are together with all the Anglican Communion in prayer today. Facing the terrorist attack to the people of North America yesterday we understand better where the ambition (the core of sin) may lead the human being...
We pray for the people and families in suffering, for the thousand of victims, for justice and peace. We pray in this ecumenical decade of solidarity against the violence. That this time may help the humankind to learn to live as a real family.
Our affection and hope for a better world we are called to build together.
Statement From the Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, Bishop of Washington pro tempore
Our nation, our capital, and many of our families have been torn asunder by yesterday's violent explosions. In response, let us turn to the God who loves us, and in quiet strength to one another, as we seek solace in the face of unimaginable tragedy. Let us, as followers of the Prince of Peace, pray for peace -
For peace in paradise for all those who have died,
For peace and calm assurance for our leaders, and especially our President, as he and they seek to comfort a shaken nation and world,
For peace in the place of hatred in the hearts of those who have visited this violence upon our nation and our families,
For peace in the place of cries for vengeance by those who rush to judgment before the facts of this horrific day are fully known.
For all of us, but especially those who mourn, let us pray for the peace that passes all understanding, as these events certainly pass all understanding.
As we seek meaningful and immediate ways to be of assistance, I invite those of all faiths to prayer in Washington National Cathedral** and myself pray that it may serve as a sacred vessel to contain our nation's grief. In addition to caring lovingly for all their members, I call on congregations of the Diocese to hold prayer vigils and to mobilize all resources - blood donations, financial gifts, food and clothing - that may be helpful to those in our Diocese, our brothers and sisters across the Greater Washington area, and those in New York who need our help.
** A memorial service is being planned at the Cathedral for next week. Date and time to be decided.
Statement by the Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida
At this terrible time we need to remember that our true security is in Jesus Christ. In the familiar words of St. Paul:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, not rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Our hearts go out to all who have been injured, or who have lost loved ones, or who are still waiting for word of the missing. We remember in our prayers all those who have died as a result of this violent act of terrorism.
Our prayers are also with the leaders of our nation, that they may be given wisdom and courage to deal with the demands of this crisis. My call to all Episcopalians in Southeast Florida is for us to be patient as the authorities investigate the source of the evil acts our country has experienced today. Regardless of who may have committed these acts of terror, it is important that we as Christians resist any temptation to look for scapegoats, or to generalize about any group of people because of the actions of a few. Even in the midst of our grief and outrage, just as we condemn the brutal actions of the terrorists, we must also be quick to condemn any reactions of racial, ethnic or religious prejudice.
As Christians we seek justice, but we also seek peace. Let us pray that God will continue to guide and bless this our United States of America and to protect our beloved country from danger.
Statement by the Rt. Rev. John Palmer Croneberger, Bishop of Newark
I ask that the entire diocese join me in praying for those who have died, those who will die, those who are injured and all those who love them.
We ask that the Lord guide us away from hatred and bigotry in the face of hatred and bigotry.
Let us pray.
Statement by the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Bishop of Atlanta
As Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, I call all people of faith to prayer at this time of national tragedy.
I call every congregation of the diocese to open their doors for prayer and to call their community together for worship.
The Cathedral of St. Philip will be open for prayer all day and all night until further notice.
We invite the people of Atlanta to join us at the cathedral at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday for a service of Holy Eucharist, during which we will pray for those who have died, for their families, for the United States of America and for peace in this world.
May God be with us even in the midst of suffering and tragedy.
Bishop of Chicago calls for prayer, not retribution
'It is a day to mourn the dead, flags are at half-staff, the cathedral bell is tolling,' said Bishop William Persell in his sermon at the 12:10 Eucharist Tuesday at St. James Cathedral. The service, which was moved from St. Andrew's Chapel to the cathedral, included collects and prayers of the people which addressed the tragic terrorist attacks today in New York City and Washington D.C.
Over 50 people, four times the usual noon Eucharist attendance, gathered for the service in St. James Cathedral. Among the crowd were diocesan staff, Commission on Ministry members, and people from the neighborhood, drawn together to pray, grieve and affirm their faith. Four hours earlier New York City was shaken by the most devastating terrorist act in U.S. history when two aircraft, 18 minutes apart, slammed into the World Trade Center towers.
Subsequent explosions collapsed both towers. Shortly after the tower attacks a plane crashed into the Pentagon. Thousands of fatalities are expected.
'This is a time of grief, mourning, fear, anger, confusion; a time to mourn the dead, to remember their families and loved ones,' said Bishop Persell in his noon homily. It is a time, he said 'to pray for the injured, and all those ministering to them, to pray for the police, firemen and women, doctors, nurses; and all those who have been drawn into this horrible series of events.'
It is also a time to reflect on what our faith response must be, said the bishop, 'that we not let hate, fear and retribution determine our thoughts and actions.'
Terrorist actions, no matter how horrific, cannot destroy the confidence and good will of the American people, he said.
Bishop Persell encouraged those present to 'be gentle' with each other. 'Be careful in assessing blame,' he said 'not to accuse whole groups or religions for the actions of a few.'
Statement from the Rt. Rev. Daniel Herzog, Bishop of Albany
This attack on the civilians of our nation is the fruit of hatred and terrorism. I call on every disciple within the Diocese, and our fellow citizens, to pray for our country. Especially we ask God to sustain the emergency and rescue workers who labor to save the injured and trapped. We commit to Christ's love the wounded and killed as well as their families and loved ones.
I have asked every parish in our nineteen counties to hold Services each evening through Saturday and to have people to pray with others. I have also asked them to take an offering to be used for the relief of those affected by this terrible event. I ask everyone to pray for our President, for the leaders of the Nation, for the members of the Armed Services and those who
minister to them.
Statement from the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, Diocese of Olympia
On this day when we watch as New York and Washington are under attack it feels that our global village is quite small and very fragile. These attacks are assaults on all of our humanity leaving us speechless and dumbfounded.
Words are incapable of expressing our thoughts and emotions. As people of faith it is crucial that we come together in prayer. Corporate prayer in churches, family prayers, private prayers - whatever way we are able we are called to pray unceasingly...
I hope you will be having services either ecumenically or in your congregations. This is a time for peace candles and prayers. There are two services in Seattle this evening, both interfaith, one at St. Marks at 7pm and at St. James at 7:30pm.
My prayers are with all of us as we sort out our feelings and continue to live in the hope of resurrection and transformation given to us in our faith in Christ Jesus.