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NCC general secretary sends message of love and support
to WCC leader, and to the churches of stricken Norway


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 times like this the Norwegian people and government need the solidarity of the international society and the prayers of the worldwide church,” he said. “Now we know the reality of so many others in the world were violence pierces the lives of the innocent.”


Tveit has asked the member churches of the WCC for their prayers and solidarity, saying “we pray that Norway might be able to stand together as an open, peace-loving country also in the future.”


“Let us all stay together for a world of justice and peace, without hate and revenge, but with the values of democracy, caring for the dignity and the human rights of every person,” he said. “We are all created in the image of God.”


Tveit said the worldwide fellowship of the WCC offers its prayers and condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and are victims of today’s violence, to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his fellow Norwegians.

 

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.'"


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.


NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),
pjenks@ncccusa.org

 

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