NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES: 36 communions of faith joining hands and voices to express the love of Christ

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Messages of Support and Concern from NCC Members,
Ecumenical Organizations, and Ministry Partners

A flood of support and concern has come from faith groups worldwide as persons of good will struggle to find appropriate ways to respond to the tragic acts of terrorism in New York and Washington.  Following is a selection of the scores of such messages received by the National Council of Churches.

COMMUNIONS/RELIGIOUS BODIES
American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.)
Anglican Communion, London
Armenian Church of America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
Britain Yearly Meeting
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Church of the Province of Southern Africa (Anglican)
European Methodist Council
Evangelical Church of Germany
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
International Center of Bethlehem/Christmas Lutheran Church-Bethlehem
Islamic Society of North America
Italian Baptist Churches
Kwang Lim Methodist Church, Seoul, Korea
Mennonite Central Committee
Mennonite Church of Colombia
Mennonite Church U.S.A.
Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
United Church of Christ
United Church of Canada
United Methodist Church
Uniting Church in Australia
Uniting Protestant Churches in the Netherlands
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
World Alliance of Reformed Churches
ECUMENICAL/INTERFAITH GROUPS
Bahamas Christian Council
Canadian Council of Churches
China Christian Council
Christian Council of Norway
Christian Council of Sweden
Churches in Togo
Church of Denmark Council on Inter-Church Relations
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Churches Together in England
Communion of Churches in Indonesia
Conference of European Churches
Cuban Council of Churches/Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba
Ecumenical Council of Churches in Austria
Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy
Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Hong Kong Christian Council
The Interfaith Alliance
Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington
Irish Council of Churches
Middle East Council of Churches
National Association of Evangelicals
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
National Council of Churches in Australia
National Council of Churches in Bangladesh
National Council of Churches in Japan
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
United States Conference of Religions for Peace
West Virginia Council of Churches
World Conference on Religion and Peace (Religions for Peace)
World Council of Churches

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
American Bible Society
American Muslim Political Coordination Council
Council on American-Islamic Relations
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
National Bible Association
Religious Education Association

American Baptist Churches (U.S.A.)

Valley Forge, Pa., September 11, 2001 - American Baptist Churches USA Interim General Secretary Robert H. Roberts has responded to the tragedies that have resulted from acts of terrorism in New York City, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere this morning. He said:

"I believe I speak for American Baptists and all people of good will when I express my profound grief and immeasurable sadness over the tragic events that have transpired this morning in New York City, Washington, D.C. and other parts of country. The Bible speaks of lamentations, and I deeply and profoundly lament the tragedy in our country today.

"The enormity of these acts of violence is almost incomprehensible, and yet it lays bare the reality of how desperately some people seek to exact something that is a shameful distortion of justice. We need to pray fervently today for the thousands who have suffered the loss or injury of loved ones. We pray for the caregivers, those who even now work to save those trapped and those who will need to provide ongoing care to those scarred in body and spirit. We pray that the hardened hearts of those responsible for-and supportive of-such acts be softened and reformed by the love that comes only from the God who cherishes and models reconciliation. We pray for swift justice, but a justice tempered by appropriate restraint. We pray for shalom-God's peace-in our broken world.

"We pray that as Christians charged with the ministry of reconciliation we continue to work-now with renewed incentive-for the healing of this world. We call upon American Baptists to look to our Savior Jesus Christ as the model for all our thought and action in times of trial, and to work in His name toward that healing. May the Spirit of Almighty God take this tragic day and set forth in its aftermath the miracle of redemption and renewal."

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American Bible Society

September 12, 2001 - “We often suffer, but we are never crushed.  Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.  In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.  II Cor. 4:8-9.

The American Bible Society mourns for the loss of life and the wounds to the soul of America.  We pray for everyone touched by the World Trade Center tragedy and we surround them and all others so affected with our love and care.   As Jesus wept over Jerusalem, we too weep over New York, Washington and Western Pennsylvania so ravaged by the results of terrorism.

 “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid.   You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.”  Psalm 23:4

The sense of vulnerability brought by such a shocking attack must be countered with the assurance of a loving God who walks with us through the darkest valleys of life.  We commend the heroic efforts of police, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and hospital staff as they risked themselves for the sake of others.  And we express our deep appreciation for those who have given blood and worked as volunteers to assist the rescue and relief efforts.  God has blessed us by their marvelous commitment to help others.

“Live under the protection of God Most High and stay in the shadow of God All-Powerful.  Then you will say to the Lord, “You are my fortress, my place of safety; you are my God and I trust you.”  Psalm 91:1-2

We at the American Bible Society offer ourselves for prayer and assistance to the community as we call all of God’s children to act from the best of themselves.  We will distribute, without charge, one of the Scripture portions, “God Is Our Shelter and Strength,” throughout the country, especially to New York City, Washington and Western Pennsylvania, as a way of offering God’s comfort and hope from the Bible. God is the creator of us all and this must be remembered throughout these desperate days.  We say with utter confidence that God will see us through this terrible time.  As it says in Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble.   And so, we won’t be afraid!”  www.americanbible.org

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American Muslim Political Coordination Council

September 11, 2001, Washington, D.C. -  The American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), today condemned the apparent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and offered condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured. The AMPCC statement read in part: "American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts."  The AMPCC consists of American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Muslim Public Affairs Council.  Other signatories to this statement include: Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers, Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Muslim American Society.

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Anglican Communion, London

11 September 2001 -  Statement from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion:  The death and destruction that we are seeing from New York following such violence and terrorism has devastated us here in London beyond belief. Our prayers are with those suffering at this very moment, for the dead and the their families and friends and indeed for those in fear wondering what the next moment may bring to them. Our prayers, affection and deepest concerns are with all the people of United States. We from afar can pray and I ask all people of goodwill to join us in prayer for America and its people." The Revd Canon John L Peterson

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Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

September 11, 2001, Beloved in Christ: It is with great sadness and the deepest sense of shock that we learned this morning of the devastating and cowardly attack on our country. We write to you now, in a sense of disbelief, that two great landmarks of New York City and the entire United States, the “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center, located a short distance from the Archdiocese Headquarters and only a few miles from our mother Cathedral in Brooklyn, have been leveled with countless victims and casualties, four airplanes full of innocent civilians destroyed, the Pentagon greatly damaged and God knows what else.

At this most difficult time in the life of our great country, we beseech the faithful of this Archdiocese and people of faith throughout the country, to offer their prayers to the Almighty God asking that the souls of those who lost their lives in this vicious attack are resting in peace where there is “neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing, but life everlasting.” We also ask for your prayers for the living victims of these attacks, their families and all those who are laboring to look for survivors during this national crisis.

We encourage the beloved clergy of this Archdiocese to remember the living and departed victims of these attacks during the divine services and to hold special Paraclesis services where possible to pray for those that are trapped in the rubble of these buildings. Praying that the Good Comforter, the All-Holy Spirit, will grant you solace during this difficult time, we remain, Your Father in Christ,

+Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

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Armenian Church of America

September 11, 2001-The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of American and its Primate, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, express their profound shock and grief at the terrible events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  What words can describe this awful moment, except those very words used on another occasion, six decades ago, which echo in our hearts and souls:  truly, this is “a day that will live in infamy.”

We wish to inform you of the deep concern of the Catholicos of all Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II, who telephoned the Primate in the hours after the tragedy, to offer his condolences and convey his intention to offer prayers in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.   At the diocesan Cathedral of St. Vartan, too, a prayer service was held at noon, wherein the entire staff joined with our fellow citizens of New York City to pray for God’s guidance.

Above all, we ask that all our people bow in prayer and reflection, asking our Lord to remember those whose lives were lost this say.  We pray that He will honor the heroism of those who risked – and perhaps sacrificed, for we do not know at this writing – their very lives to help the fallen.

And while beseeching His mercy towards the injured and bereaved, we pray that God will not spare the sword of His righteous anger on those who planned, executed and – most monstrously of all – rejoice in the tragedies of this bitter day.

With our fellow citizens of the United States of America, we affirm that this great nation, this mighty nation, has always stood under God’s shinning grace, in times of crisis and times of ease.  In the past, He has seen fit to pass our nation through fire, to temper us and make us stronger.  He will do so again according to His will.  And so long as we serve that will, He will never forsake us.

We invoke, finally, the words of Scripture, our highest assurance of God’s providence for His children:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
,
I will fear no evil, for though art with me;"
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou annointed my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
(Psalm 23, KJV)

Chancellery of the Diocese

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Bahamas Christian Council

September 17, 2001-Condolences from Bishop Samuel Greene, President and Rev. James Berger, secretary of The Bahamas Christian Council.

The Bahamas Christian Council joins with Christians and all religions around the world in expressing our sorrow and grief to the people of America, and the families of those who died and were injured in the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. ; and to the families of those who died in the 4 hijacked aircraft.

The prayers of the people of the Bahamas go out to our brothers and sisters in America in their time of suffering. We pray that justice will be meted out against those who have committed this heinous act against humanity. We pray for God's abiding presence with those grieving the loss of loved ones and friends. We ask that God's spirit of comfort abide with all who grieve for the dead.

We extend our prayers for the emergency personnel who responded to help in the face of this tragedy. We pray that God will grant them the assurance that they have done their utmost for those in need, and carry them through the anguish of seeing people die despite their efforts to save them.

We pray for the leaders of America, that their response to this atrocious attack will be measured and deliberate. May the terrorists who have done this be brought to justice. May the hatred that fueled this be purged from the face of the earth. And may the peace of God, that passes all understanding, dwell in the hearts and minds of all people of our world. 

While we cry out for justice, O Lord, bring your peace, we pray.   May God have mercy on the souls of those who have died. May God have mercy on us as we seek to bring healing in the face of tragedy. And may God hold accountable those who have done this to our world.

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Britain Yearly Meeting

13 September 2001 - On behalf of Britain YM we write to express to you our deep sense of shock at the terrible events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania last Tuesday. We hold you all in the Light of Christ at this tragic time. With this letter comes our love and concern for those killed injured or bereaved as the result of this horrific act of inhumanity. We pray for them as those who survive come to terms with the impact of this tragedy and we pray for national leaders, especially those of the United States of America, that they may respond with wisdom and in ways that will heal the hurts of the world. George Fox spoke of having a sense of all conditions. We can begin to have a sense of the condition of the hurt, the frightened, the shocked, the bereaved, but it is more difficult to enter into the mind of those responsible for this outrage. Whoever they are, they too are children of God and we pray that we may better understand their hurt and anger and that they may turn away from the hatred and fear which drives them to such acts of wickedness. God is with us and weeps with us.

Helen Rowlands                                                                                                                                                        Clerk, Britain Yearly Meeting 

Roger Sturge                                                                                                                                                              Clerk, Meeting for Sufferings

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Canadian Council of Churches

September 11, 2001 - We in the churches of Canada join you in grief and prayer today – “in these days of pain,” as you rightly said in your message released this morning – for all your fellow Americans who are suffering at this moment from the death of loved ones, from personal injury, or simply from overwhelming fear and confusion in the wake of the deadly violence unleashed today on New York and Washington.  May the God of peace comfort and strengthen all whose hearts are suddenly aflame with pain.

Many of our churches and church groups are organizing special prayer vigils to pray for the victims, and pray for peace.  We will continue to pray for everyone affected, in North America and around the world.

We stand ready to help, if we can, with the special, unprecedented effort of peace-building that must be the Christian response to this tragic breakthrough of deadly violence.   Your Council has always deeply known that peace is primary, and that revenge is never a good response.  Right now, the work of peace is first of all to reach out in whatever ways are helpful to those who are suffering the most.  Beyond that, we pray that God will strengthen you mightily for the resolute restoration of peace-making that is needed to counter today’s great evil.

May God have mercy on all who are suffering and afraid.  As the bitter smoke clears, may God open all our eyes to the light that comes only from whole-hearted love, even of enemies.  Christ, have mercy! On behalf of all the member churches of the Canadian Council of Churches, Sincerely, in Christ,

Most Rev. Andre Vallee, President, Canadian Council of Churches
Janet Somerville, General Secretary, Canadian Council of Churches

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China Christian Council

September 12, 2001 -- We of the China Christian Council and of the National Christian Three-Self Movement Committee were shocked by the acts of terrorism in New York and Washington and are in deep sympathy for the loved ones of all those who suffer from the catastrophes. The intensity of which we can hardly imagine. May God's hand of healing and consolation be upon them each and everyone.  Terrorism is extending itself in the world of today. We hope churches around the earth will strengthen their witness to Christ, the bringer of God's love and peace, to overcome the evil of terrorism.

Luo Kwan Chung, Chairman
National Christian Three-Self Movement Committee

Han Wenzao, President
China Christian Council

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Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Once again, the United States finds itself the target of unspeakable acts of terrorism. Our hearts go out to those who were killed or injured and to their families and friends. We are each left with a sense of vulnerability that we will not soon be able to shake. As one who is a "frequent flyer" for the work of the church, and one whose daughter is a flight attendant based in New York City, these events have hit especially close to home for our family. Families in the United States and around the world have been affected.

But these events are also a sign of how connected our world has become. The events in the Middle east, Europe, Asia, Africa, or anywhere else on the planet, are necessarily subjects of our personal concern as surely as are events in our own neighborhood. Indeed, "neighbor" is a Biblical word that we must today understand in global terms.

We must do more than pray for the victims of violence. Indeed, individually and collectively, we must renounce violence as a means of imposing the will of some upon all. We must seek justice for all everywhere, recognizing that if any are oppressed, none are truly free.

So, how shall we respond to this tragedy which is both national and international? Let us pray for those public servants (police, firefighters, military personnel, medical personnel, and others) who valiantly serve to protect and heal in the face of many perils.Let us pray that our leaders will have the wisdom to respond in ways that foster peace with justice rather than mere revenge. Let us pray and work for peace in the Middle East and throughout the world. Let us pray and work for the healing of the whole human family that we may learn the ways of life and true community. That all may "sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid" (Micah 4:4)

Let us pray and work for a world in which no one is hated for race or culture or other marks of humanness. Let us pray for the healing of the United States, the we may extend our great guiding principle "justice for all" to all the people of earth. Let us in our congregations seek to comfort those who have been directly affected by these events. Let us contribute to the Week of Compassion and to the Reconciliation Offering, two means by which our church addresses human need and community.I remain with you in prayerful watch.

Richard L. Hamm, General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

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Christian Council of Norway

Oslo, September 12, 2001 - The Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  On behalf of the Christian Council of Norway, we want to express our deep condolences to you, your member churches and the American people after the terrorist attacks yesterday. We have been shocked by the news from New York and Washington D.C. Our thoughts and prayers are with the American nation, all those who work hard to alleviate the sufferings and with the thousands of victims and their families. We pray that the churches will find strength and ways to provide practical assistance and pastoral care for the people.

Churches in Norway have been open today and will remain so for the days to come in order to receive people who spontaneously gather inside to pray, light a candle and meditate.  A special prayer is being made for this coming Sunday. Tomorrow, a Prayer Service will be held in the Lutheran Cathedral of Oslo with the American congregation in Oslo participating. We have been encouraged to read that churches and religious communities in the USA pray and plead that any punitive actions taken must not add more innocent people to the death rolls. This will also be our strong concern as we gather to pray for the churches and the people of the United States. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy. Amen.

Billy Taranger, President, Christian Council of Norway

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Christian Council of Sweden

September 12, 2001 -- The Christian Council of Sweden wants to express its deep sorrow and anger over the terror attacks yesterday on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The news of the unimaginable catastrophe reached and shocked us during a two days´ Board meeting in a monastery outside Stockholm where we have followed the development, prayed together with you and issued calls for solidarity and prayer to all our churches and other people of good will.

As churches in Sweden we want to join with you in prayer and deep sympathy for all the victims and their families, for the country of the United States and its people and for your council and all the churches and faith communities in your efforts to support people in shock, sorrow and anxiety.

We also pray for the leaders of your country and the nations of the world that they may be guided to take the right decisions and exercise a responsible leadership in these moments of deep crisis. All around our country people are now gathering in churches in other places in order to participate in prayer vigils and light their candles as signs that there is still light in the dark. You are all in our minds and hearts!

Yours in Christ, The Christian Council of Sweden, Thord-Ove Thordson

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Churches in Togo

September 13, 2001 - Words are not enough to describe what we have seen and heard on the media the last two days. The whole world was and is still profoundly distressed about the horrible tragedies in the USA (New York, Washington and Pennsylvania). The Churches in Togo and the Ministry with Uprooted People - West Africa Sub-region join the staff of the AACC Regional Office in Lome to convey our sincere sympathy to the Churches, to the victims, to People of the United States of America and to those who have lost loved ones. We pray and continue to pray for all of them so that God himself heals the wounds and give wisdom and serenity to the leaders. May God bless you all. 

Vivi Akakpo, All Africa Conference of Churches Regional Office

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Church of Denmark Council on Inter-Church Relations

Copenhagen September 12th 2001 - It is with shock and deep sorrow we have witnessed the evil and the tragedy, which hit your nation and people yesterday. It also hit our common understanding that all humans are created in the image of God. We share your sadness and sorrow for the loss of so many innocent lives, and your shock of how easily human life is destroyed.  Please receive our condolence and compassion to your church, your people and your nation. We offer our solidarity, in act, in thoughts and in prayer. Our churches have been open for people praying since the tragedy, and tonight at 19.00 our time we will conduct an official memorial service for the victims in the Lutheran cathedral of Copenhagen led by Bishop Norman Svendsen in the presence of representatives of the Danish state, the Queen and the royal family, the Prime Minister and all members of the government and parliament.

Yours in Christ: Paul Verner Skærved, Chairman; Erik Norman Svendsen, Bishop of Copenhagen; Ane Hjerrild, General Secretary

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Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Not knowing what to write, or what words to find, we nevertheless want to express our sympathy and horror at the appalling events today in New York and Washington. We have found it hard to believe what we are hearing, and can only guess at the pastoral task ahead as you seek to support the people. It will be hard for the US Government and people to know how to react, but we trust the response will be wise and measured.

Dr David Goodbourn, General Secretary
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, London
September 11, 2001

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Churches Together in England

"We are stunned here, but can only imagine dimly the horror with which you are living. The people of USA and our ecumenical colleagues are very much in our prayers."

The Revd Bill Snelson, General Secretary
Churches Together in England, London
September 11, 2001

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Church of the Province of Southern Africa (Anglican)

11 September 2001 -- Urgent statement issued by Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane"As the world watches the horror of the World Trade Towers tragedy and America's pain, our hearts go out to all people of that nation wherever they may be and I urge all South Africans, regardless of faith, to join forces in prayer. We need to pray for the families of all those dead and injured. We need to pray for all involved in emergency services in New York and other affected areas. We need to pray that the American leadership is granted wisdom to deal with this horrific situation. We need to pray for our world. Yours in Jesus Christ."  ++ Njongonkulu Ndungane

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Communion of Churches in Indonesia

September, 2001-The Exploding of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (New York) and part of the Pentagon (Washington, DC) on Tuesday, 11th  September 2001 was a human tragedy, which stirred us to the depths of our being.  Anyone with a pure and true sense of humanity would feel this extremely tragic event as a horrific blow.   That is how we feel. 

Thus, on behalf of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia with its seventy-eight member churches, we would like to express our sincere sympathy on this disaster.  Please pass on our expression of deep sympathy to the families of those who died in this disaster and also to those who were wounded and are currently undergoing medical treatment.  It is our hope and prayer that they will soon recover.  We thank God with you for those who escaped this great disaster.

The exploding of these two buildings is a very extreme form of the culture of violence which is overwhelming our modern world.  Over the past few years our society and our nation has also been struck by and has suffered as a result of the culture of violence perpetrated by certain elements within the community against their fellow human beings.  Thousands of people in our country have become victims of this culture of violence.

Thus the decision of the World Council of Churches to launch the ‘Decade to Overcome Violence’ and the decision of the United Nations to declare 2001 to 2010 as the ‘International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World’ are both extremely appropriate measures.  We refuse the culture of violence, instead we are longing for a culture of peace and non-violence. It is urgent for us to express this theme in a variety of activities and to develop a culture of peace for everyone.  It is time for the churches throughout the world along with all people of all religious, racial and ethnic groups to increase cooperation in order to overcome the culture of violence and to uphold justice and peace between nations, ethnic groups, races and religions.

We truly understand the anger of the American people at this tragic incident.  However we trust that this tragedy will be faced in a spirit of wisdom, within the framework of international law enforcement and that the people of America will not allow themselves to be controlled by a spirit of revenge.  We hope that all the citizens of America will continue to adhere steadfastly to their character of wisdom as a nation, which is committed to uphold law, justice, freedom, democracy and basic human rights.

 We believe that the people of America will continue to hold firmly to law and the truth in facing this tragic incident and that one manifestation of this commitment to law and truth will be a refusal to make generalizations about American citizens who are of the same race as those suspected of involvement in these acts of terrorism.

Once again we wish to express our deep sympathy to the churches and to all the people of the United States, who have been shocked and stunned   by the events of 11th September 2001.  May the Lord bless you.  Let us pray together for world peace, for justice and truth for all people of the world.

Dr. Ishak P. Lambe, General Secretary.
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia

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Conference of European Churches

September 12, 2001 -- On behalf of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) I simply want to convey our sense of shock and grief at the terrible events now being reported from New York and elsewhere in the USA. Imagination can scacely conceive, nor words convey, what it means for the victims and for all who are afflicted by these tragedies. But we want to assure you and all our sisters and brothers of our prayers and sympathy. May God give you all needed strength and grace for the facing of this hour, and the coming days when the ministry of the churches will be so sorely needed. And may the mind of Christ be in us all as we seek still to be witnesses to peace in the midst of violence.

Sincerely, Yours in Christ,
Keith Clements, General Secretary
Conference of European Churches

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Council on American-Islamic Relations

September 11, Washington, D.C. - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, is calling on Muslims nationwide to offer whatever assistance they can to help the victims of today's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. In an alert to the American Muslim community, CAIR suggested that the following actions be taken: * Muslim medical professionals are asked to go to the scenes of the attacks to offer aid and comfort to the victims. * Muslim relief agencies should contact their counterparts to offer support in the recovery efforts. * Individual Muslims should donate blood by contacting the local office of the Red Cross. (Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.) They should also send donations to those relief agencies that are on the scene of the attacks.

CAIR's alert asked community members to report incidents of anti-Muslim harassment or attacks. It also suggested steps to take to increase security around mosques and Islamic centers. (In the first few days following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, Muslims reported more than 200 incidents of harassment, threats and actual violence. CAIR has already received reports of harassment and attacks against Muslims who wear Islamic attire.)

Security precautions suggested by CAIR's alert include: * Those who wear Islamic attire should consider staying out of public areas for the immediate future. * Request additional police patrols in the vicinity of mosques. * Post mosque members at entrances and parking areas during prayer times. * Report suspicious packages to police. * Document descriptions of suspicious people or vehicles.

There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide. Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in this country and around the world.

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Cuban Council of Churches/Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba

September 11, 2001, Havana, Cuba - (English translation follows) A LAS IGLESIAS Y AL PUEBLO DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMÉRICA: En esta hora de dolor y sufrimiento, queremos expresarles como Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba que nuestras oraciones se elevan a Dios para que el pueblo norteamericano pudea sentir su compañía y misericordia. Nos unimos en amor fraternal con los familiares de las victimas y les acompañamos como hermanas y hermanos; oramos al Dios de amor y misericordia por ustedes y por todas aquellas personas que tienen la responsabilidad de guiar a su pueblo en momentos tan tristes.

Pero sobretodo, oramos al Dios de justicia y de amor para que les de consuelo y sabiduría para enfrentar esta tragedia fruto del odio de quienes no son capaces de entender que la violencia sólo engendra mas violencia, dolor y angustia a los seres humanos. Apelamos, en nuestra intercesión, a todos los pueblos del mundo, sus lideres políticos, a todos los lideres religiosos, sea cual sea su fe, a todos los hombres y mujeres de buena voluntad que consideren la paz y la justicia como bien supremo de la humanidad para que desde cualquier rincón del mundo eleven sus voces y plegarias en contra de actos como estos.

En amor y fraternidad cristiana les reiteramos nuestro màs sentido pesar y nuestra solidaridad confiados como el salmista que Dios es nuestro amparo y fortaleza, nuestro pronto auxilio en las tribulaciones. Por tanto, no temeremos aunque la tierra sea removida y se traspasen los montes al corazón del mar, aunque bramen y se turben sus aguas y tiemblen los montes a causa de su braveza.

(English translation): Brothers and Sisters: In this hour of suffering and pain, we want to express the prayers of the Cuban Council of Churches, so that the American people can feel our companionship and compassion. We unite in fraternal love with the families of the victims, and we join them as brothers and sisters. We pray to the God of love and mercy for you and for those who have the responsibility of guiding the people in these very sad times, but most of all we pray to the God of justice and love to give you consolation and the wisdom to face this tragedy, the fruit of hate, by those who are not capable of understanding that violence only engenders more violence, pain and anguish for humanity.

We address our appeal to all the people of the world, to your political leaders, to all the religious leaders of whatever faith, and to all the men and women who consider peace and justice as supreme values for humanity, so that from any corner of the world they raise their voices and pleas against acts such as these.

In love and Christian fellowship we reiterate our deepest sympathies and our solidarity, with the confidence of the Psalmist: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Psalm 46:1-3.)

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Ecumenical Council of Churches in Austria

September 12, 2001 - Deeply shocked by the terroristic and barbaric acts in New York and Washington causing not only terrible destruction but most of all killed thousands of innocent people we want to express our compassion and loyalty with all the member churches in the Council and all United States citizens.  We pray that God may give comfort and strength to bear what is beyond our ability to understand and may wipe every tear from the eyes of those who mourn because of the loss of wives, husbands, children, parents, and friends.

We mourn with you and pray that justice might be done and those who have initiated this inhumane and barbaric act will be found and put to trial.  May God help Christians in your country and all over the world to abstain and resist from all appearance of evil, so that we might become peacemakers.

We send this message of brotherly and sisterly love and compassion in the name of all the 14 member churches of our Austrian Council (Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic).

Mother Superior Christine Gleixner, President of the Council
Superintendent Helmut Nausner, Secretary of the Council

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European Methodist Council

September 11, 2001 - As members of the European Methodist Council meeting in Moscow, we write to express to you our deepest sympathy at the great tragedy which has befallen the American people. We had just concluded our meeting when the news came through and words cannot express the sorrow we feel. We represent the United Methodist and Methodist traditions in 33 different European countries. Several of our guests here are American and many of us have family, friends and colleagues in the United States.

Our prayers go out to you and the people to whom you minister as you come to terms with your great loss. We pray also for the President of the United States and the governments of the world in this tragic hour. May the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation console you in all your afflictions.

Bishop Heinnch Bolleter + The Revd. Nigel Collinson
Co-Chairs of the European Methodist Council

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Evangelical Church of Germany

September 11, 2001, Hanover, Germany - Statement by Praeses Manfred Kock, Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), on the terror attacks in the United States of America: Regarding the horrific terror attack on central institutions in the United States of America I am absolutely shaken and utterly consternated. One thing is clear though: Terrorists without any scruples, despisers of mankind have sacrificed thousands of human lives. We feel helpless being confronted with political fanaticism and extremism with their bloody "harvest".

During these horrible hours all Christians in Germany are with the citizens of the USA in their thoughts and prayers. May God be with them and all of us. We bring our lamentation before God, we pray for the victims and their families. We pray for peace. We pray for the responsible politicians, who in these hours have to make difficult decisions.

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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

September 11, 2001, Chicago, Ill. - Following is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop's Statement on Apparent Terrorist Attacks:  " I am shocked by today's apparent terrorist attacks upon the people in the Eastern United States. I join with all of you in mourning these enormous human tragedies.  Congregations, pastors and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are praying for the comfort of all people affected by these incredible acts. We pray for ELCA staff and their families serving in the areas most affected.

" As Christians, it is important that we behave responsibly at this time and not act harshly. We offer prayers for our leaders, who must reassure a shaken nation and investigate today's terrible deeds. We pray that those who have been affected most will find comfort and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our first thoughts should be to respond to our fellow human beings with love and compassion. In the Psalms, we find these words: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear."

The Rev. H. George Anderson,  Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ELCA Web Site: www.elca.org

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Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

September 12, 2001 -- Shocked by the news we have watched the scenes of the apparent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Here in Finland it is impossible for us to comprehend the motives or intentions of these incredible acts. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland would like to convey our sincere and warm condolences and sympathy all who are now suffering and mourning. It is our prayer that Almighty God sustains these peoples with his mercy and strength and comforts them at their moment of anguish sorrow and despair.

Our Church offers her prayer that Almighty God gives support, wisdom and strength to all those who are responsible of rescue and other duties at the disaster sites, to all Church leaders and staff as well as members of congregations. According to our Christian faith we are convinced that nothing "will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39) God's promise and hope is dwelling also in the deepest darkness and despair because of His own promise: "I will give you a future with hope". (Jer 29:11)

The Council for International Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

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Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy

Rome, 12 September, 2001 - Dearest Brothers and Sisters, Few hours after the dreadful attacks to the United States, we as Italian Protestants  join in the deep grief of America, of the families of its victims, of its communities of faith. And of all men and women of good will who all over the world work for peace, justice and peaceful coexistence.

Today we share in their mourning and we invite all Protestant Churches to gather in prayer and beseech the Lord that, with His help, on the ruins of hatred the seed of His love may also blossom. And that today, without giving in to the temptation of revenge, discrimination and prejudices, the American leadership and the international community may seek the truth and work for the justice.

The tragedy with which we are confronted urges us to commit ourselves with increasing determination in the program of the Decade Against Violence launched in February this year by the World Council of Churches. In such sorrowful and painful circumstances we still find consolation and support in the promise of the Gospel that, in spite of everything, the Love of God will never come to an end (I Cor. 13).

Gianni Long, President

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Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa

September 15, 2001 - We watched our television sets and observed with shock, anger and deep sense of sorrow and dismay the inhuman act of terrorists culminating in the loss of human lives and property on September 11, 2001 in New York.

We cannot but confirm the closeness we feel to the people of America, especially the people of New York in mourning all those who toiled and sacrificed for humankind to the peril of their lives.

Please accept our sympathy and condonlence and through you make it known to the people of America that the Churches in West Africa are standing with you in prayer as you pass through this terrible and very painful period.

Since we are not like those without hope let us behold and point others to gaze at nothing except the cross of Christ in whose words and presence we can hope to survive this excrutiating pain and sense of loss.

Baffour D. Amoa, Secretary-General, FECCIWA

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Fellowship of Reconciliation

September 17- In this time of national tragedy, we look with compassion on all the victims- the dead, the wounded, their families and loved ones. We mourn this renting not only of the national fabric of our community life but also of the wider world community of which all humanity is a part. With shocking suddenness we find ourselves in the position of so many in the world who live in fear and senseless violence. We are humbled by our vulnerability. Can we learn from all those who have responded to such tragedies with nonviolence, perseverance, and noble purpose, such as the Women in Black, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Mothers of the Disappeared and the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation?

Vengeance and retaliation cannot be the answer to this situation. For they simply increase the spiral of violence and perpetuate and deepen the culture of violence. We must condemn and deplore the acts of those responsible for the bombings. But these persons should be brought to justice through legal means and the accepted standards of international law, not by the law of the jungle and collective punishment. Justice and peace are realized through just and peaceful means, for means and ends are inter-related.   Will we respond to what has happened with suspicion of our neighbors because of their ethnicity, dress, religion, race or culture? Will we compound the tragedy by taking out our anger on others? Or can we use this as a moment of Truth? Will we examine US policies that rely on overwhelming military power and weaponry rather than excelling in the skills of peacemaking and the building of civil society? Will we determine to carry out special acts of kindness by reaching across lines of difference with goodwill and compassion?  Will we seek to overcome evil with good? This is not a time for panic, suspicion, and hate. It is a time to draw upon the deep resources of faith and to examine our lives in the light of the oneness of the human family and the divine spirit that animates us all.

Janet Chisholm and Richard Deats

Statement of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

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Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

September 11, 2001, New York, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, who was returning by car from Boston to New York City when he learned the horrible news of the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, responded with the following statement:

“This is a tragedy of tremendous proportions with unforeseeable consequences for the entire world.  The terrorist acts that took place today incite the justified indignation of all people who value human life, freedom and justice.  In this difficult time I express, along with the entire Greek Orthodox Church, our deep sorrow and strong support to the families who were hurt by this unprecedented tragedy.

"We fervently pray to God, the Lord of peace, love and justice, to grant to the families of the innocent victims and to the entire American Nation abundant solace and unlimited strength.”

Archbishop Demetrios directed all Greek Orthodox churches throughout the country to open during this day of national crisis and directed the clergy to lead the faithful in prayer for divine protection against “the sword and enemy invasion”, and for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in these attacks.   The Archbishop furthermore encouraged those whose health permits to donate blood for the wounded survivors.

In the Archbishop’s absence, the Very Reverend Savas Zembillas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, led the Archdiocesan staff in prayer during a memorial service in the Chapel of Saint Paul.  At the conclusion of the service, Father Savas urged those present to “pray without ceasing” for the victims, the survivors, the families who had lost loved ones, and for the safety of our nation during this time of unspeakable tragedy.

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Hong Kong Christian Council

Septyember 12, 2001 - We at the Hong Kong Christian Council wish to express our profound shock and grief in the aftermath of yesterday’s terrible catastrophes in New York and Washington, D.C.  The magnitude of this tragedy is almost incomprehensible.  Our hearts go out to the people of America as they seek to cope with the overwhelming casualties and devastation from these unprecedented attacks.

The Council is grateful for the leadership shown by the NCCCUSA and its churches in responding with calls for the nation to pray, to offer practical help and to demonstrate the true spirit of Christian love.  Indeed, our faith is absolutely essential in times like these, and we ask that the Lord grant you all the greatest measure of mercy and grace in the coming days.

Please know that we in Hong Kong continually lift you up in prayer.  Several of the churches here are planning services to pray for the families of the victims, to ask God to give the leaders of the U.S. great wisdom in dealing with this situation, and to give rescuers, medical staff, investigators and others involved the ability to do their task well in the midst of this traumatic ordeal.

May you experience an outpouring of God’s amazing power and strength this day and each day as you work to bring healing and hope to a suffering land.   God bless you and keep you. Yours in Christ,

 Rev. Eric S.Y. So, General Secretary

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The Interfaith Alliance

September 12, 2001- The Interfaith Alliance (TIA), The Interfaith Alliance Foundation, their Board of Directors and staff send their heart-felt condolences to the families and friends of those injured or killed in yesterday's horrific attack on this great nation. While we may never fully grasp the devastation and overwhelming sense of loss that have occurred, we continue to pray for everyone affected by this tragedy and offer our strength and support. We also pray for the gift of wisdom for the leaders of this nation as they carry us forward.

While these cowardly terrorists have stolen the lives of many innocent people, we must not allow them to rip apart our souls, alter our historic commitment to freedom and break our spirits.

Even though the great religious traditions of in our nation differsignificantly, they do share a set of core values. Let us face into our fears, holding fast to those values. Such a posture will prevent the kind of dangerous stereotyping evidenced in despicable acts of hate and violence fomented upon Muslim and Islamic centers of worship in our land. Guidance from the sacred scriptures and oral traditions of our varied religions will keep us on a path characterized by respect for the dignity and worth of all people, appreciation of diversity, and a compassionate pursuit of community. In these turbulent hours, I call upon the people of TIA/F to serve as voices of reason, advocates for liberty, supporters of diversity, patriots with civility and a fellowship of compassion as well as people of prayer, meditation and good will.

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Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

September 11, 2001, Washington, D.C. - The InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington shares the profound outrage and grief of this country and world at the terrorist attacks against the United States today. We urge all people to lift up prayers for the dead and their families, for the injured and their loved ones, and all emergency service personnel.  We also pray for our government officials, especially President Bush, in this time of deep crisis.  We  pray as well for the perpetrators.  

We urge people everywhere to donate through established channels such as Church World Service, Catholic Relief Services, Jewish Relief Services, and the American Red Cross in order to provide disaster relief. Where it is appropriate, we urge churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and all other religious centers to open for community prayer, meditation, and the provision of comfort and counseling.

Remembering the false rush to judgment after the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City, we urge our government officials and all Americans  not to rush to judgment as to who the perpetrators are, what their motives are and what our response to these terrorist attacks should be.   Because religion has already been raised as a possible motive, The InterFaith Conference strongly deplores the misdeeds of those who routinely justify violence on religious grounds; not only do their violent actions cause harm to people who are the creation of God, but also their justifications do violence to the fabric of our respective faiths.  Our religions teach us the sanctity of human life; they apply no veneer of respectability to slaughter carried out for personal vengeance or political purpose.

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International Center of Bethlehem/Christmas Lutheran Church-Bethlehem

September 12, 2001 - 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 in 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 massages 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, Palestinians, 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

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Irish Council of Churches

On behalf of the Irish Council of Churches, I send you the assurance of our prayers as you experience the trauma and grief of yesterday's attacks in the United States. These enormous tragedies have stunned the world by their brutality and no words can express the extent of suffering that has been caused. We pray that God will grant strength, comfort and real peace in every heart.

Ian M. Ellis, President, Irish Council of Churches
12th September, 2001

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Islamic Society of North America

September 11, 2001 - The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) joins Muslim Americans and all Americans in expressing its deep sorrow over the deliberate air-crashes in New York and Washington, DC that have led to the loss of countless innocent lives.  ISNA joins Muslim organizations throughout North America in condemning theses terrorist attacks and calls upon Muslim Americans to come forward with their skills and resources to help alleviate the sufferings of the affected people and their families. ISNA condemns these senseless acts of terrorism against innocent civilians, which will only be counterproductive to any agenda the perpetrators may have had in mind.

No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators, and call upon our justice system to maintain strict standards of justice and fairness in these trying times. We also urge the media to exercise restraint, and to act responsibly when reporting on these terrorist attacks. Until the perpetrators are brought to justice, all media reports should be accurate, restrained and sensitive. Let us pray to God that He may Guide us all to keep firm in following our principles and offer relief to the victims of violence wherever they may be.

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Italian Baptist Churches

September 12, 2001 -- To our brothers and sisters of the American Churches: The Italian Baptist Churches wish to express all our concern, Christian solidarity and fraternal love to all of you in these terrible days of pain and sorrow caused by the criminal terroristic attack to the people and churches in your country. We saw what happened. It is worse than any most apocalyptic fiction could ever figure out. Thousands of innocent people died, suffering and destruction touched so many people that what happened will remain for ever impressed in our memory. No ideology, no political motivation, nothing could ever justify such cruelty, such criminal strategy. What shook us most is that the name of God is used by some to hide responsibilities that are only human. This is a horrible blasphemy.

We want to assure you that our churches will be praying in these difficult times for the families of the victims and for the healing of the injured. We will also be praying that God may give wisdom to the people in power so that violence and revenge will not escalate to other violent acts and massacres. Finally we pray that God call other people to the service of peace and reconciliation in this world of enmity and hatred. God bless you all in the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace.

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Kwang Lim Methodist Church, Seoul, Korea

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, from Kwang Lim Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea!  I was so sorry to hear the tragedy of terrorism yesterday. I was really shocked at the news on the air attack in New York City and Washington DC. We are all grieving at the loss of the lives of an unknown number of people at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in hijacked planes. I know this tragedy made all American people frustrated and get angry. I believe, however, even in the midst of the tragedy God will help and guide your people who have loved peace and freedom and given a great contribution to the countries all over the world in many ways. 

Now, it is time to pray for the families of the victims of this tragedy and for those who try to stop the power of the evil in this world. And, it is time to open our eyes of faith and see what God prepare for your people. We will keep praying for the quick recovery and victory over the evil. Also, we will pray for the leaders of the United States who will respond to these attack in ways that will bring healing and peace. Thank you for your cooperation and concern about Kwang Lim ministry. May God's richest blessings be with you and those who have lost loved ones as a result of these attacks!

Sincerely in Christ, Sundo Kim

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Mennonite Central Committee

September 11, 2001 -- Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) expresses great horror and sadness for events in New York and Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 11. We grieve at the loss of life and the sorrow of families and friends of those injured and killed, and encourage all people to pray for them.   These senseless tragedies can lead a nation and its leaders to react out of frustration and anger, and to make decisions and actions while in a state of trauma. We encourage our leaders to make decisions with wisdom, reflection and deliberation, and encourage all people to resist the upward spiraling of more violence. We call on our leaders to exercise restraint in their response.

We encourage churches to reach out to those within their communities who might become innocent scapegoats and the object of anger and hasty retribution.  If need be, we ask that these people be offered support and protection. We encourage church members to donate blood through their local Red Cross or other local blood donation banks in their area as there is a shortage of blood for those wounded. As a church rooted in a theology of non-violence and reconciliation, we call on Christians and others to remain prayerful and take positive steps toward healing a nation contorted by such senseless acts of violence.  Even in these most painful moments we urge people to remember that Christ calls us to seek forgiveness.  Only through reconciliation will peace with justice be found, and the humanity of all people be affirmed.

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Mennonite Church of Colombia

September 14, 2001- A letter of support and solidarity from Justapaz peace and justice commitee of the Colombian Mennonite Church.

In this time of uncertainty and sadness due to the recent tragedy in the United States, we want you to know that we are accompanying you, extending our love and solidarity to our family in the North. 

 In a country where the fear, anguish, and pain of war are seemingly permanent, we understand your hurting.  We share your grief, confusion, and incomprehension.  We too abhor this war that takes us further from Jesus´ principles of justice and peace. 

 We condemn this act of violence just as we denounce all behavior stealing life, regardless of place or the nationality of the victims or the perpetrators.    We, too, yearn for peace, the fruit of justice.  The Holy Spirit has filled us with hope, and you have accompanied us with solidarity and love.  We now offer our love and support to you, suffering with you in this dark moment. 

 We urge you to accompany and advise your government in the love of Jesus and principles of nonviolence, encouraging national leaders to respond in ways that will break this cycle of violence and not cause more suffering.  We are praying for the presence of God's wisdom as you discern the direction you should take, as a church and as a nation. 

 This is an opportunity to evaluate the concepts of justice and reconciliation and reconfirm promises to nonviolence and the construction of peace.  As seekers of light, we have the assurance that God will accompany us in these dark moments of pain and chaos. 

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Mennonite Church U.S.A.

September 12, 2001 -- A call to prayer and repentance: After a tragic day in the history of our nation, we bow before God as a people of faith, asking for forgiveness for our silent complicity with sin in our broken world.  We have too often pursued our own narrow interests, brushing aside the needs and anguish of many others throughout the earth. We refrain from passing judgment upon anyone for the deeds leading to this tragic loss of life and destruction, even as we grieve with its victims and their families, and with our nation.  We seek a deeper, spiritual message in these events – to find new commitment to our mission as Christians in our world – seeking the peace and salvation of all peoples. We pray for our nation’s leaders.  May they find grace, wisdom and restraint. May the abiding peace that passes all understanding, which we know only in Jesus Christ, calm our fears and guide our actions.  In the love and peace of Christ,

Jim Schrag, Executive Director, Mennonite Church USA

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Middle East Council of Churches

A letter to our American Brothers -- Dear friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ in the United States, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father's love and mercy, and solace of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, surround and bear you up on this morning after the day of tragedy.

The world -- we all -- stopped, horrified. The massive scale of the violence particularly in New York but also in Washington has been beyond belief. Imagination cannot picture what may be its repercussions as anger yields to cries for vengeance. Almost instantly the images flooded out over the TV networks, horrific descriptions over our radios. Where we were first touched was in our human soul. We were caught up in the agony of individuals amplified manyfold. And words are not enough to describe this even though that is all that we have at the moment.

I wish to express to our friends in the United States our profound condolences for the loss of loved ones. In gathering after gathering in America, Christians will lift up their hearts in prayer. We assure you that we too are gathering, and our prayers join yours. We ask for healing beyond understanding, we pray for courage beyond our outrage and fear. We ask for the grace, the steadfast poise of faith, to stand with integrity and minister in an ever more dangerous world.

We are devastated by the bestiality that can infect ordinary human beings and transform them into mass murderers and deranged suicides. Evil raised its head. Its taunting must be resisted. Evil does not overcome evil; it augments it. Christ taught us that. The democratization of terror and violence on a massive scale points to a profound distortion in the human spirit of our times. And as those who bear the Gospel of Peace, it is this distortion we must overcome. With you we mourn the innocent dead; we bewail our own loss of innocence, our loss of confidence, our loss of a sense of security. And we do so out of a Middle East that has known more than its fair share of death, disillusionment and fear over all-too-many decades. But with you too we are determined that death shall have no dominion. Your hope and our hope will not be crushed.

In the name of all the member churches of the Middle East Council of Churches, in the name of our presidents and staff, I stretch out to you our love and compassion in Christ's name and for his sake. We break one bread and are one Body. Holding to that reality with a firm grip, you will rise above this tragic moment and, with you, we too will rise. Let us together seek the healing of the nations, and overcome this and all evil with good.  In Christ's name and in his peace that passes understanding,

(Rev. Dr.) Riad Jarjour, General Secretary
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
September 12, 2001

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NAACP

September 12, 2001 -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) today called for international days of prayer for peace and solidarity. This comes in the wake of yesterday’s terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Kweisi Mfume, President and CEO of the NAACP, said: “This massive loss to the family of humankind moves all people of conscience to mourn and pray for the dead. The hour is upon us to put aside differences and dissent. This is a tragedy of untold proportions and an attack against our way of life that has no equal. It is an act of evil that must not go unpunished.” 

The NAACP through its Religious Affairs Department calls on spiritual, religious and secular leaders of all faiths and ways of life to pray for the nation on this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Rev. Julius C. Hope, Director of NAACP religious Affairs said: “In times like these, which try our souls, let not our hearts be troubled, neither let us be afraid. Please pray to give light to the families that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Please guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the
world are premier advocates for civil rights in through conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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National Association of Evangelicals

September 12, 2001, Washington, D.C. - The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has urged  its 51 member denominations and 43,000 churches to mobilize for "National Day of Mourning and Prayer" on Sunday, September 16 in response to the first major terrorist attack against the United States.    The terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, and the days and weeks to follow will shape the future of the United States.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by these terrorist attacks and call upon followers of Jesus Christ in this country and around the world to pray and to reach out with compassionate help," said Dr. Edward L. Foggs, NAE's Chairman of the Board.    "The Scriptures call us to 'pray for those in authority' so we urge prayer as well for President George W. Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney, and our government leaders through this national tragedy," he said.

Many people will look to churches, pastors and people of faith for guidance and help. The National Association of Evangelicals encourages the denominations, churches, and organizations affiliated with the NAE to look to the Word of God for wisdom at this time and to be the people of God in the midst of tragedy.

The National Association of Evangelicals is joining with National Prayer Committee, National Day of Prayer, and Mission America Coalition in sponsoring a full-page advertisement in the newspaper USA Today on Friday, September 14, calling for a "National Day of Mourning and Prayer" on Sunday, September 16. This advertisement can be seen at www.nationalprayer.org

Over the next hours and days many are holding prayer services, seeking to discern the situation and will have the opportunity to express Christ's love and care to those who grieve or are in despair. We want to encourage all denominations and churches across the country to be sources of light and life.

NAE is working with its relief and development arm, World Relief Corporation, to assess the situation and to help churches and pastors deal with this tragedy. World Relief has a sixty-year history of responding to natural and man made disasters overseas and in the United States. "There is so much to be done," said Clive Calver, President of World Relief, "not just now, but in the days and months that lie ahead. While many may not always remember, the victims and the bereaved cannot easily forget. They will need the pastoral support and help that only comes through Jesus Christ." World Relief will offer professional skills and support to pastors and churches, and will seek to link together the specific efforts of churches and denominations in order that society may witness the Church in action. Calver continued, "Call 1-800-535-LIFE and let's stand together to support the Church at this critical time."

At the same time, World Evangelical Fellowship, of which NAE is a member internationally, is calling for the prayers of Evangelicals throughout the world and seeking counsel from churches in other nations that have faced similar acts. This is sadly not the first time that churches have had to respond to acts of terrorism.

"NAE belongs to the large family of 114 member alliances of World Evangelical Fellowship. This family of 160 million Evangelicals worldwide is upholding the United States in prayer. Many of these 114 member nations have experienced terrorism and are sharing with NAE how churches in their nations have helped Christians to be the people of God in the midst of crisis," states Dwight Gibson, North American Director of World Evangelical Fellowship. Prayers from the worldwide family of God will be posted on  www.worldevangelical.org

We encourage churches and pastors to consider the following as they are ministering in these days:  1. Open churches for special prayer services and extended times for people who may want to pray and seek pastoral counseling. 2. Assist people in processing their anguish, sense of hopelessness and concern. Many people will be looking for counseling, small group discussions and other forms of guidance. NAE calls for this to be a time when the churches of the U.S. reach out in unique and varied ways. Listen to the hearts of the people in your community. 3. Fear is a natural response during times such as this and potentially for weeks and months to come. Communicate the strength of a sovereign God during difficult times. It may be especially important to help children walk through this. Help parents and those who work with children to give age-appropriate Christ-centered teaching to children.   4. Find tangible ways of putting feet to our prayers. The situation is still being assessed, but through blood banks, humanitarian aid groups and community service agencies there are opportunities to assist. 5. Be people of truth. At times like these much rumor and speculation is rampant. Help sort out fact from fantasy. 6. Life is a gift from God. There has been much loss of life. The pain for those left behind is tragic. Seek ways to express love and care to those in need.

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National Bible Association

September 11, 2001, New York City-A Message from the President of the National Bible Association.

In the face of the tragic events that took place today in our nation’s capital and in New York City, I call upon people throughout the world to turn to the Bible.  Just as in the dark days of 1940 when National Bible Association was founded, we continue to believe there is no greater source of comfort for those who grieve, or hope for those who despair, than the words of Scripture found in the Bible.

We join with our national and city leaders in calling upon all people of good will to pray for those who have lost loved ones, homes or businesses; those who are engaged in the rescue and medical care of the injured; the countless volunteers who are working to reunite and counsel families and friends; and all who have been touched by these senseless acts of terrorism.

We especially encourage Washingtonians and New Yorkers who are reaching out to one another at this time to consider visiting hospitalized and elderly persons who may be alone, and offering to read the Bible to them.  While the best of us may be at a loss for words in the presence of overwhelming grief, the Bible can speak to the deepest needs of each one of us. 

As an organization founded by and working with the corporate community to encourage Bible reading by everyone, we are particularly shocked by the attack upon the World Trade Center and we express our concern for the spiritual and physical well-being of all who live and work in that part of our city.

Finally, for those of you who know that National Bible Association has been based in New York City since our founding by New York’s business community in 1940, I want to assure you of the personal safety of our staff and many of our trustees based in New York and Washington.   We are thankful to God, and ask for your continued support for our important work during this difficult time. Thomas R. May, President

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National Council of Churches in Australia

September 12, 2001 - I know Australia's churches would want me to assure the churches in the United States, through you, that you are all very much in our thoughts and prayers following the tragedies of the past few hours.  With understandable shock and outrage gripping the nation, you and other Christian leaders may not find it easy to be voices of measured wisdom. All strength to you at this most difficult time. Sincerely,

David Gill, General Secretary
National Council of Churches in Australia

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National Council of Churches in Bangladesh

September 13, 2001-It's unbelievable !

We express our sympathy for those who are now dead out of the tragic incidence.  We pray for the early recovery of those who are wounded.  The wounded require healing mentally and physically.  We condemn the barbaric act of violence initiated against humanity and civilization.    The victims did not know what their crimes or fault were.

Please accept our sympathy out of this cruel incidence.  Our words fail to console you in this man-made disaster.  We can pray to almighty God to receive His consolation.  The shock-wave needs to be cool down though its very very difficult.   There are many more things to be done to heal the wound, its a monumental work but people should unite to drive away evil from the society.

Please convey our sympathy to those who have lost their dear and near ones.  Through you we are also requesting the NCCCUSA to try  to work together to heal the wounds from people's mind. We are praying for your people.  May God grant us wisdom to decide what is good and what is evil.

Subodh Adhikary                                                                                                                                                    General Secretary  

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National Council of Churches in Japan

September 13, 2001 - We strongly demand peace without military force !

We believe that people all over the world who desire peace are shocked and saddened by the sudden attack on September 11. They will join in your prayers in shock and grief. We, as the NCC-J (National Christian Council in Japan) members, also deeply mourn those victims and sincerely pray for the wounded to be healed as well as pray for those survivors to be immediately rescued from the rubble.

On this day, three hijacked planes crashed into each of the towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the center of U.S. economy and military strategy. Another plane also crashed near Pittsburgh. This " Simultaneous Multi-Terrorist Act " shakes the world and creates anger against terrorism and violence. It was just after the beginning of an ordinary day when this happened for those passengers of the planes, workers in buildings and those who helped rescue activities. There will be thousands of deaths and injuries.  Just as a missile attack is inadmissible neither can we tolerate, whatever the reasons may be, such a reckless acts as slamming into buildings by hijacked planes, which was able to happen through the cracks of a mighty military power. This criminal act should be punished internationally, lawfully, and rationally in a peaceful way.

When the United States declares war against the attack on its " freedom and democracy ", we sincerely hope that the countermeasures will be completely peaceful, not leading to military reprisals. We believe that, by taking peaceful measures, the US will show its ethical superiority, based upon the decisions to commit itself to peace and justice, over terrorism. " Retaliation " breeds hatred and will multiply military expansion, which endangers peace. It will also bring people into fear and terror. Any defense systems with advanced scientific technologies will not be able to stop a sneak and shrewd attack motivated by hatred. We believe that there is no other way for humankind to survive except by seeking to peace and reconciliation without increasing the race for military expansion. It is our understanding that the United States has been making a great effort to play a mediating role for regional conflict with a firm conviction to value the spirit of freedom and democracy. It is in itself unjust and intolerable for non-military, ordinary citizens, regardless of their social and economic situation, to be exposed to an attack either by missiles or by terrorists.  It is not just an issue for other people but it is an issue for us in Japan to have the massive presence of US military bases, under the U. S -Japan Security Treaty, as in Okinawa, with the intention of strengthening the to be basic point of attack against other countries. We demand the removal of these dangerous US bases through which military retaliation could take place.

We strongly express our hope that the United States will show us the way to true peace by demonstrating what it means to seek justice, freedom and democracy without falling into the trap of military retaliation which leads all of us to perish.

Rev. OTSU Kenichi, General Secretary
Ms.OGASAWAR Kimiko, Chair
National Christian Council Peace and Nuclear Committee, in Japan
National Christian Council in Japan

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National Council of Churches in the Philippines

September 14, 2001The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) does not look with favor on the terrorist assaults made on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Far too many lives have been lost. Innocent lives. The trauma of September 11, 2001 will, no doubt, stay with the survivors and the whole nation for a long time. We weep with those who have lost friends and relations even as we realize that no words of sympathy can bring back their loved ones. We share the disbelief of many who cannot fathom the sense of some people’s capability to perform such acts. We can understand the screams of anger calling for retaliation even as political leaders invoke international accords to justify whatever retribution America will take. We commend those who continue to indefatigably clear away debris and tirelessly treat the wounded. Heroic acts of compassion. We are touched by the unity forged among erstwhile political rivals and the bourgeoning international solidarity with the American people. Indeed, we have realized, through the searing pain, that we are all part of humanity.

The fall of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon call us to a time of profound soul-searching. Why the World Trade Center? Why the Pentagon? What is God’s message to America and to the rest of the world? The sentinels of wealth and power have been attacked by people who seem to harbor  much anger against what these infrastructures symbolize. What has the United States done and what posture does she project globally that can inspire such inhuman acts on buildings which show what she is about and what she holds dear? And what does America plan to do in order to vindicate herself? As we unearth answers to these questions we emphatically declare that military might, will not solve the problem of terrorism. It will only perpetuate a vicious cycle of violence.

As we pray for and with our brothers and sisters in the United States, we call on President George W. Bush to lead his country in pursuing peaceful diplomatic negotiations with countries perceived to host the suspected terrorists. We ask that all Americans deeply reflect on their country’s posturing vis-à-vis other countries. We wish to convey to them that while there is the violence of terrorism, there is also the violence of imposing a nation’s economic and political agenda on weaker nations.

We further remind all other governments that to express solidarity with America does not mean fanning the flames of vengeance for it is written: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody…live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge…” (Romans 12:17-19)

(SGD.) MOST. REV. TOMAS A. MILLAMENA, Chairperson
(SGD.) MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES, General Secretary

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National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.

September 11, 2001 - We join all in our nation and world in shock and anger at Tuesday’s horrific chain of attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 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

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Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea

September 12, 2001 -- I greet you in a spirit of deep fellowship and prayerful solidarity. On behalf of The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea I express our shock and grief and the assurance of our prayers, on hearing of the terrible tragedy of the catastrophic attacks on the people of the United States and the loss of unbelievable numbers of innocent lives. In the face of such horrific tragedy it is difficult to find words to pray, but from the depths of our hearts we pray that God give strength, comfort, courage and wisdom in this time of inexpressible pain. Please know that the people of The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea stand with our brothers and sisters of our partner churches and all people in the United States, in close prayer and deep sympathy and active solidarity. In sincere and faith-filled prayer,

Rev. Jong-Moo Kim, General Secretary
Rev. Heawon Chae, Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Relations

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Religious Education Association

September 12, 2001

On behalf of the international and multi-faith membership of the Religious Education Association, I extend deepest sympathy to the victims in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania and their loved ones throughout the world.

Violence is an outward manifestation of spiritual crisis.Violence comes from the deep despair of fatalism—the assumption that things cannot and will not change.  Some religious communities have called violence “sin.”Certainly, human beings are capable of many horrific acts.  But sin is not the only thing that humans express.   Created in God’s image, human beings are created for love, caring, sharing, and peace.  We have seen both the capacity of human beings for sin, as well as the capacity for love during these last two days.

Religious education in Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and other religious traditions begins with the assumption that change is possible.  Religious education affirms the human capacity for love and for caring.  Religious education does not deny the human capacity for sin, but presumes that the fully human person is a person of love.  I have been asked many times during these past two days what children and adults are learning religiously from these terrible events of violence.  It would be easy to teach children and adults that human beings are capable of terrible acts of violence alone.  But that is not the whole story.  Doctors, government service personnel, religious leaders, blood donors, and volunteers remind us that we are all created in God’s image, and that we all are created for love.

Concretely, whatever our faith tradition may be, we can remind our friends and family members of all ages that violence does not tell the whole story of what it means to be human.  We can pray that we and those around us learn to live in a way that affirms human dignity and human worth.  We can worship and study together with those persons who seek to affirm love and acts of caring.  We can explore the importance of justice in ways that moves beyond simple acts of retribution to the spiritual renewal of the whole world.

Ronald Hecker Cram, Ph.D
President of The Religious Education Association

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Union of American Hebrew Congregations

September 13, 2001-Together with all Americans, we are still in shock, reeling from the devastation of Tuesday's terrorist attacks. At times such as these-- and we pray that there will no more such times--it isespecially important that we behave with deliberation, lest trauma distort our actions. Specifically, we need to bear in mind that this conflict isbetween the United States and those who would see our way of lifedestroyed. It is not between some Americans and others. We must not allow this attack on America to divide Americans

We are concerned, in particular, with reports that some in our nation have directed their understandable anger at Tuesday's carnage at individual Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. We are outraged at reports of attacks on Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and their mosques and businesses and condemn all such acts of lawlessness. Such attacks, such scapegoating, are deeply un-American. They also violate what is perhaps a preeminent lesson of Jewish history the danger of group hatred, of imputing to a group the actions of a few individuals.

We know that like all Americans, Arab Americans and Muslim Americans overwhelming share our revulsion at the terrorist attacks, and our commitment to American values. We know that they, too, have family and friends injured or killed in the attacks, and our condolences go out to them, as to all who are grieving.

On Tuesday, evil was evident, but humanity will prevail. Since Tuesday, we have witnessed a remarkable outpouring of human kindness, as Americans instinctively insist that evil's victory would be limited and that we would not permit inhumanity to prevail. We believe, deeply and stubbornly, that goodness and kindness are more powerful than cruelty. We therefore call on all Americans in their interpersonal dealings, and especially in dealing with those rendered particularly vulnerable by these events, to be fully American to act with kindness and with courtesy, to seek to express, as Lincoln put it, the better angels of our nature.

Statement of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON (September 11, 2001) -- The Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting here issued a statement on the apparent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington today. This is the text of the statement:

"This is a day of national tragedy. Though we do not yet know its full extent, we mourn those who have lost their lives and pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families. We pray for the living victims that they may know that God is with them in their sufferings. We pray for those who are rescuing and ministering to the injured, that God may strengthen them in their heroic and often heartbreaking work. We pray for our national community that we will be of support to one another in the days ahead as we come to grips with the enormity of what has happened.

We express our support for our President and other government leaders, both national and local, who bear the tremendous responsibility of dealing with the aftermath of these unbelievable events. They are in our prayers in a special way. If, as seems likely, this tragedy is the result of acts of terrorism, then we pray also for those whose hatred has become so great that they are willing to engage in crimes against our common humanity. May they realize, at last, that such violence creates not justice but greater injustice.

On Friday and Saturday, we celebrate the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross and then honor our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. These are particularly apt days for Catholics to reflect on the ways in which we are called to take up the cross and follow our Lord. We call upon all our fellow citizens to renew their trust in God and to turn away from the bitter fruits of the kind of hatred which is the source of this tragedy. Especially let us not engage in ethnic, religious, or national stereotyping for what may be the acts of a few irrational terrorists. As the Catholic Bishops of the United States, we unite in prayer to the Lord our God in the words of the Psalmist: "In you, O Lord, I take refuge... Incline your ear to me, and save me. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety." (Psalm 71)

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United Church of Christ

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The United Church of Christ today (Sept. 11) established an online forum at www.ucc.org   for its members and others to give and receive mutual support during the aftermath of what appears to have been a terrorist strike at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the plane crash in western Pennsylvania.

The online forum is part of the denomination's response to the current tragedies. Church leaders hope the forum will give UCC members and others the opportunity to express their feelings and reactions. The UCC's website also will provide links to updates from Church World Service, the disaster relief arm of the National Council of Churches.

At the denomination's Church House at 700 Prospect Ave. in Cleveland, Edith A. Guffey, Associate General Minister, and the Rev. Josi A. Malayang, Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries, gathered the Cleveland staff as a people of God into the Amistad Chapel shortly after the disaster struck. The staff prayed for the victims, their families and friends, the United States and the wider world, singing songs of comfort and assurance.

"Although we are but one of the many expressions of who God is in our world, we are mindful of our call and our denomination's rich heritage as peacemakers," said Guffey, recalling Matt. 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."

UCC General Minister and President the Rev. John H. Thomas, who is visiting with partner churches in Europe, called in from Frankfort, Germany, with the following statement:

"The violence that afflicts so much of the world that we have witnessed on television from Kosovo, Palestine, Ireland and elsewhere has now come to our homes. My heart is broken and my prayers go out to those whose loved ones have died, those who are injured and those overwhelmed by fear today.  I also pray for those who are risking their lives to save others. In the coming days we all will be tempted to surrender to our rage, to seek vengeance and to be consumed by bitterness. I call upon the members of the United Church of Christ to join in reflection about the culture of violence that consumes our world, to pray night and day for God's presence and to resist the impulse to respond to violence with violence. This is a time of testing for our souls. May we remember that our only comfort is that we belong to Christ."

UCC pastors in the Somerset, Pa., near the crash site of the fourth plane, have rushed to Somerset Hospital to offer pastoral care assistance for victims of the crash and their families. The offices at the UCC Church House in downtown Cleveland closed at 12 p.m. ET today (Sept. 11). All staff members are safe, including those in the UCC's Washington, D.C., and New York City offices.

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United Church of Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, September 11, 2001 -- The United Church of Canada joins with brothers and sisters in the ecumenical family around the world today in expressing shock and sadness at the horrific series of attacks and massive loss of lives in the United States. The church also called on world leaders to refrain from speaking or acting rashly, not knowing by whom these deeds were committed. In a prayer posted on the United Church’s website - www.ucan.org, and reproduced here, the church called on Canadians to pray for the victims and their families, as well as for those called into emergency service.

PRAYER

As the cries of the bereaved rise across this continent, we turn, O God, to you in shock. We watch as this day of horror unfolds, and cannot fathom the depths of hatred and desperation that could have willed such devastation upon innocent people. We, as the people of The United Church of Canada, join with others throughout the world in praying for the victims killed, maimed or wounded, and for their families and loved ones.  Be near to those who grieve, we pray.

We pray for all those called into emergency service, police and ambulance drivers, caregivers, emergency personnel and passers-by ---- give clarity of thought, steady hands that they may do what is needed. We pray for the people and Government of the United States of America, and indeed all nations, that those in authority might respond not out of vengeance but with wisdom, restraint, and reason.

Finally, we pray for ourselves, and people of goodwill throughout the world, that we might be given open hearts to understand the meaning in the madness of this day.  Comfort us all.   In the legitimate cries of oppressed and suffering people throughout the world who live lives of ongoing catastrophe, may we hear your voice calling us to build a world of justice in order that we might create a world of peace. In the name of Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen

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United Methodist Church

September 11, 2001 -- United Methodist Church Council of Bishops' Call for Prayer: "It is a time of national grief and sorrow. It is also a time for gathering, for strength and for prayer. Our hearts are open to all those who have been personally affected by this national tragedy. United Methodist Churches will be holding prayer vigils throughout the world tonight and tomorrow night.

"We invite you to join us in praying for wisdom, comfort and healing in this difficult time. The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is calling on all churches and members throughout the world to participate in a prayer vigil tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Wednesday, Sept. 12.  Please take initiative to organize this vigil in cooperation with your church members.

"This is a time to put into action what we know in our hearts and what we are striving to commit to be reality -- that our hearts, our minds and our doors are TRULY open. In addition to prayers, we ask that: * contributions be made for disaster relief through your local church to United Methodist Committee on Relief (Designate your contributions to "Domestic Disasters." ) * blood be donated through your local blood bank.

United Methodist Communications, at the request of the Council of Bishops, has also changed the message of our national television commercials which invite persons to our local churches for prayers vigils tonight and tomorrow night. May God be with us all during this time."

Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church
Bishop Elias Galvan, Seattle Area, President

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United States Conference of Religions for Peace

September 12, 2001 -- The United States Conference of Religions for Peace (USCRP), an affiliate of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, expresses its shock and sorrow at the death and destruction caused by yesterday's terrorist attacks against our country and its citizens, and we join in mourning with the families who lost their loved ones in these terrible events.

On behalf of the forty national, regional and local religious communities affiliated with USCRP, which in turn represent all of the world's major religious traditions, we urge all Americans to not find fault for these events in one or another religion.  Indeed, there can be no religious justification in any faith tradition for such evil. If current suspicions regarding the perpetrators of these acts are confirmed, we will find that the responsibility lies solely with those who would manipulate religion to their own ends.

Reflecting on this tragedy, His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, one of USCRP's co-presidents, stated: "As His Holiness Pope John Paul II reminded us at an interfaith celebration during his visit to Jerusalem, the basic tenets of the world's monotheistic religions---and by extension I would add all of the worlds' religions--affirm that non-violence, reconciliation and peace are divine mandates for us. At this time we shouldn't be seeking to blame any religious or ethnic group for these insane crimes. At the same time, we pray that those who have done this will be brought to justice according to the rule of law."

The United States Conference of Religions for Peace is an organization of representatives of religious communities in the United States operating on the conviction that multi-religious cooperation and common action can be powerful instruments in the quest for constructive social development, justice, reconciliation and peace. We therefore join President George W. Bush, our national leadership, and all of our fellow citizens in praying and working for peace at this time of national and international crisis.

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Uniting Church in Australia

September 12, 2001 -- To our friends in the United States of America: The Uniting Church in Australia wishes to express its deep sorrow and regret at the terrorist attacks on the people of the Untied States of America.  Our church is deeply grieved at the shocking series of events that has unfolded on Tuesday 11 September 2001, with the consequent loss of innocent lives and lingering suffering.  Words cannot express our deep sadness. Please be assured that though Australia is many thousands miles from the shores of the United States we unite with you in your grief and sorrow.

Please be assured of the prayers of the people of the Uniting Church in Australia. We mourn with you and as you move ahead through your grief we pray that we will share that journey with you. We also remember that this series of events will affect many people around the world, including Australian citizens, and we obviously express our condolences for them and their families as well. As far as we able we will walk this difficult walk with you. Yours in Christian love,

Reverend Professor James Haire, President
Uniting Church in Australia

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Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

18 September 2001 - Our old ways of being and believing were shattered this past week when innocence fell from the sky.  As we witnessed the World Trade Center explode into flames, the debris tore through the hearts of many faith groups and many nations. Although the soil was American, the people inside those buildings who lost their lives included individuals from countries around the globe. They spoke many languages and worshipped in many ways.  Tuesday morning they came together in that time and place as citizens with shared values and ultimately shared fate.   That morning their differences evaporated. They became simply human.

The stories and images of their humanity are etched into our psyches and our souls forever.  We who have survived are staggered with grief and disbelief.  We cry out to God for help -- and for justice. 

And now it is we who are in danger. We who have a choice: we can go back to seeing the world as a flat map hung on a wall with thick black lines neatly dividing up the deserving from all the rest or we can finally understand that we are truly in it together as one people clinging to this small orb of planet hurtling through the vastness of space.

As our souls cry out for justice, we must resist the easy temptation to demonize. We are irrevocably linked by the One Creator and it is time to acknowledge that no religion, race or nation can claim unique ownership of Goodness.   It is time for our faith communities and nations to meet the challenge of recognizing ourselves as part of a global creation and finally becoming the planet of light that addresses the majesty of God through the language of each faith speaking for its small piece of a greater whole.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches is resolute in its determination to stand united with all people of faith who love peace and seek justice. We are emboldened to affirm and uphold our Arab American neighbors and friends, our Muslim neighbors here and abroad, and all citizens of the world who seek to sustain peace and compassion. We further resolve to stand for the sanctity of the innocent people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been brutalized by forces that are far more powerful than they.

We ask our ecumenical brothers and sisters in Christ and our interfaith partners to join with us now on the eve of the Jewish High Holy Days and in the days ahead to speak out for the best of all faith traditions such that we act as one humanity and so bring honor to those whose deaths have changed our lives forever.

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Uniting Protestant Churches in the Netherlands

September 12, 2001 -- Dear sisters and brothers in our Lord Jesus Christ, Words cannot express our feelings in these dark days. Brute and inhuman violence, affecting thousands of people in New York, Washington and Pittsburg, hits the whole population of the USA in its heart, and means an inconceivable shock for all who are called to bridle violence in this world and to pray for its peace in Christ's name.

Seeing the pictures of death and destruction, of mourning and fear we share in the distress that has come to so many innocent and unprepared people. Primarily this human solidarity urges us to address you as our sister churches in the USA. Facing your and our powerlessness against such malicious acts of terror we also seek together with you God's face in our prayers. We pray for those whose lives were broken once and for all by this violence. For those who found death and for those who have to stay behind in mourning. For those who were injured for the rest of their lives and for those who are called to give help and care. For those who have to give spiritual guidance and for those who have to take responsibility for political steps under these extreme conditions. Lord, have mercy.

People from many churches and communities in the Netherlands will come together these days, to seek silence, to pray and to express solidarity with the victims. Saturday night all churches of the Netherlands will convene in a national prayer service in the Dom Church in Utrecht. This service will be directly transmitted by television and will be accompanied by church bell-ringing throughout the Netherlands.

The world will be different after this atrocity. At this very moment nobody can imagine the impact this will have on the worldwide relations between peoples and countries and on national life in the USA. Deep-rooted violence is manifest in many conflicts in our world. Together we are part of the underlying tensions. As churches we must be held accountable for the role religious convictions and communities can play in the quest for other ways of dealing with conflicts. Together we want to stand for peace, justice and reconciliation. May the Spirit of Jesus Christ lead us in all truth, for the good of all humankind. "O Lord, show us your mercy and grant us your salvation"(Psalms 85, 8) On behalf of the Uniting Protestant Churches in the Netherlands, Yours in Christ,

Dr. Bas Plaisier, General Secretary

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West Virginia Council of Churches

September 11, 2001 -- The West Virginia Council of Churches and its member bodies today called for interfaith prayer vigils to be held throughout the state in response to this (Tuesday) morning’s attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C.  “We are encouraging all religious communities in the state to join together in prayer for all people,” said the Rev. Nathan Wilson, the council’s executive director. “At the same time, our faith calls us to discourage any retaliatory actions in response to what would appear to be terrorist activities.”

The council’s board of directors, meeting in Charleston at the time the attacks were taking place, urged that the vigils be organized quickly, to take place on or before Sunday, September 16. The board emphasized the need for diverse faith groups to join with one another in conducting the vigils.  “The council also recognizes the urgent need for blood in the areas hit by the attacks,” Wilson said, “and we urge all West Virginians who are able to donate blood to do so at this time.”

Member denominations of the West Virginia Council of Churches include African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Antiochian Orthodox, Church of the Brethren, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, United Churches of Christ, United Methodist and West Virginia Baptist Convention.

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World Alliance of Reformed Churches

September 12, 2001 - Message to US Member Churches of WARC and to the NCCCUSA and partners, from WARC General Secretary Setri Nyomi: "It is with a sense of shock that we heard the news of the terrible acts of violence that rocked lower Manhattan and Washington D.C. yesterday.  No amount of words can describe our feelings about the senseless loss of lives resulting from the planes that crashed into the Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

"On behalf of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, we extend to the churches and peoples of the USA, and especially to the affected families our deepest condolences.  We share in their grief.  We pray that they will be surrounded by God’s comforting presence through these difficult times.  We also pray for speedy recovery for those who have suffered injuries in various forms.

"We pray for the government and all those in decision making, that they will be governed by wisdom from above in responding to this great tragedy.  We pray that God will continue to lead you in the churches as you minister to people through these difficult times, and as you continue to be faithful prophetic instruments of God opposing evil in every form.

"On behalf of the WARC President, Professor CS Song, the Executive Committee, and all colleagues here in Geneva, we express to you our deepest condolences, and assure you that you are in our thoughts and prayers. "

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World Conference on Religion and Peace (Religions for Peace)

September 12, 2001 - Religious Leaders Worldwide Condemn Terrorist Actions Against U.S., Plea for Understanding Among People of All Faiths;  "No Religious Tradition Can or Will Tolerate Such Behavior" Says Moderator of World Conference on Religion and Peace

Leaders of the world's great religions have responded with sorrow and anger to the terrorist attacks on the United States yesterday, condemning the extremist actions and urging people of all faiths to strive for tolerance and understanding in the wake of violence and bloodshed.

"These acts of extreme violence, in which innocent men, women and children were both the targets and the pawns, are totally unjustifiable," said Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, a Muslim who is Moderator of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (Religions for Peace). "No religious tradition can or will tolerate such behavior, and all will loudly condemn it."

"Respecting the sanctity of life is the cornerstone of all great faiths.  The world's faithful are aghast at this tragedy and reject such wanton violence."

Religions for Peace announced today that it will organize a summit meeting of international religious and political leaders to promote increased religious tolerance and common actions for peace, and to express the solidarity of religious communities in condemning terrorist acts such as those that occurred yesterday.

Religions for Peace is the largest international coalition bringing together representatives of the world's great religions who are dedicated to achieving peace. Its international governing board comprises senior leaders of the Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Baha'i, Zoroastrian and indigenous religions.

"These actions by a small group of extremists are truly despicable, but it is wrong to exact retribution against the many because of the actions of a few," said the Very Reverend Leonid Kishkovsky, Vice Moderator of Religions for Peace and Director of Ecumenical Affairs for the Orthodox Church in America.  "Even if it is proven that these crimes were committed by religious extremists, as has been speculated, their religious tradition itself is not to blame, nor should the overwhelming majority of peaceful and innocent followers of that tradition around the world be held in any way accountable for it."

Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interreligious Relations for the American Jewish Committee and one of 40 co-presidents of Religions for Peace, expressed hope that yesterday's events will serve as "a positive, not a negative turning point" for people of all religious traditions.

"What we saw yesterday around the world was a universal outpouring of horror over these acts and sympathy for their victims," Rosen said. "It is my prayer that the peoples of the world will recognize their shared sorrow and revulsion at these events and will work together, across national and religious boundaries, to make sure that terrorism and intolerance are eradicated from the earth."

In announcing plans for the summit meeting, Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, noted that yesterday's events will not deter the organization from fulfilling its mission to facilitate multi-religious collaboration and understanding worldwide.

"The work of Religions for Peace, and the visionary leaders who sustain it, is not always well known to the public," Dr. Vendley said. "But even in these saddest of times and in the wake of this most horrible of events, religious leaders and believers around the world know of the enormous progress that has been made in religious cooperation in recent years.  We proceed with confidence that, in time, more and more people of religious conviction will cast aside the barriers that divide them and act together upon the positive values that all religious traditions share."

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World Council of Churches

11 September 2001, Geneva, Switzerland -  Message to the churches and people of the United States of America.   World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, on Tuesday 11 September sent the following message to the churches and people of the United States of America:

"News of the terrible tragedies in New York and Washington, D.C. has just arrived here in Geneva where the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) is currently meeting. At their request and on their behalf, and for all our member churches around the world, I wish to express to the people of the United States, their churches and religious bodies, and to the president and other leaders of the nation, our profound shock and our heartfelt sympathy. You are all in our prayers.

"We pray especially for the victims of these tragedies and for their families and loved ones. We pray for those providing emergency services. We pray for the leaders of your nation. May God give them courage and wisdom in this terrible hour. We fervently pray that this is the end of terror, and implore those responsible to desist from any further such acts of inhumanity. Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy. Amen."

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, General Secretary
World Council of Churches
WCC Web Site: www.wcc-coe.org

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Please find additional statements on Worldwide Faith News: www.wfn.org


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