Common prayer in Geneva responds to acts of violence
Commemorating the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 was to have been the principal focus of the service of Sunday morning prayer on 15 November in the cathedral church of Saint-Pierre at the summit of Geneva’s old town. Following terror attacks in Beirut and Paris killing and wounding hundreds of civilians over the preceding days, the prayers of the Protestant Church of Geneva and the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) took on a new dimension.
Armenian Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, a member of the WCC Central Committee, was one of those who led prayers of intercession in French and English both for the martyrs and all who suffered during the 20th-century genocide, and also “for victims today in Beirut and Paris”.
He also quoted from a statement adopted over the weekend by the Executive Committee: “In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence.”
Armenian archbishop Nareg Alemezian, a member of the WCC Executive Committee, petitioned God to deliver humanity from evil in these times, and to strengthen believers in the Christian life.
Terrorist Attacks Condemned by Global Ministries, World Council of Churches
As the people of France grapple with the horror of the latest deadly terrorist attack that left 129 dead, placing candles, flowers and messages outside a Paris cafe, one of several locations targeted by ISIS Friday night, leadership of the United Church of Christ denounced the violence that is terrorizing countries around the world.
“Across the United Church of Christ, we join our hearts with people of faith, conscience and good will as we pray for those who are grieving the tragic loss of life in Paris, Beirut, Syria; and all worldwide who are impacted by terror and violence,” said the Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer General Minister and President. “We pledge anew to never shirk from the call of our peaceful Creator to work for a better way, a better future, rooted in peace, shalom, salaam for all humankind.”
Call to Prayer After Terror Attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad
The Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance coordinator for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a call to prayer Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, following the terror attacks in Paris. Kraus also acknowledged the wave of terror attacks leveled against other locations around the world in the prayer, specifically noting last week’s attacks in Beirut and Baghdad.
The English version of the prayer is below. It has been translated into Spanish as well.
God of mercy, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
in the midst of unfolding violence and the aftermath of terror and loss,
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.
Executive Council calls for prayer, discernment after terrorist attacks
Council expressed its “sorrow and grief for those who died, those injured, and those for whom peace has been shattered by the recent acts of terrorism in Paris and Beirut.” The statement came by way of a resolution that council’s Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking had crafted the day before.
The council’s action came on the heels of Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry’s call last Friday for all Episcopalians to engage in prayer in response to the terrorist acts in Paris. Curry’s message, presented in video form, is available on The Episcopal Church’s website and itsFacebook page. As of the morning Nov. 16, the presiding bishop’s statement had received more than 370,000 views on Facebook.
Shock, solidarity after Paris attacks
Bishop Patrick Streiff, who oversees the small number of United Methodist congregations in France as the episcopal leader of central and southern Europe, pointed to his horror over “the depth of violence despising human lives” and to his conviction of the need to follow the model of Christ as peacemakers.
“We are people who believe in Christ. Our life shall witness that Christ is the Prince of Peace. He has blessed those who make peace. This shall model our answer to the terrible attacks in Paris,” he said in a statement.