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New York, July 24, 2011 -- The general secretary of the National Council of Churches has sent a message of love and support to the churches of Norway, and to World Council of Churches general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian pastor.
Tveit was in Norway and had just left Oslo when the bombing of a government building left seven dead and several injured. Hours later, a gunman dressed as a police officer fired on youth attending a political camp on Utoya Island, killing 80.
NCC general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, expressed profound shock at the heartbreaking events in Norway.
"The member communions of the National Council of Churches join persons of faith and good will all over the world in offering our prayers and support to the people of Norway," Kinnamon said.
Kinnamon also sent a personal message to Tveit, who addressed the general assembly of the NCC and Church World Service in New Orleans last November.
"We are struggling to understand reality, we are mobilizing our will to work for all the great values we share in the ecumenical movement," Tveit replied.
“Norway has today experienced an unprecedented and horrible level of violence against innocent people,” said Tveit immediately after the tragedy.
“Attacking the core institutions of a democratic society and innocent youth gathered for a workshop to discuss political issues, leaves me shocked,” Tveit said. “Being close to these events, I am deeply saddened, realizing that this has happened in my beloved country, with its people, its leaders, and its institutions.”
In response to expressions of condolence and support from around the world, Tveit is sending the following message:
"Thank you so much for your prayers, your love and your support! It is warmly appreciated, and I forward this to Norwegian church leaders as well. This experience of terror is bringing innocent human beings and their families into trauma and death that is horrible. It is also an attack on the leadership of Norway and our democratic institutions that are shocking and make us tremble. The dimensions of the events are impossible to comprehend. In times like this, we see how important our values of justice and peace are for our nation as Norwegians and for our fellowship of churches. Let us share the burdens of the victims and their families. We share our sorrow, and confirm together our commitment to overcome violence and any attempt to attack our values of the kingdom of God, the values of 'righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.'"
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