Photo: Kristoffer Trolle via Flickr
Press Release No: 16/25
15 July 2016
The Conference of European Churches deplores the deaths of at least 84 people and the injuring of many more late last night in Nice (France). The attack involved a truck driven through large crowds gathered to enjoy fireworks for the French national celebration. Families, children, parents, and friends from across Europe—and even around the world—were gathered along the Côte d’Azur to celebrate in a joyful way.
CEC is saddened and shocked by yet another indiscriminate act of violence on the ordinary people of Europe. This comes in the wake of other recent deadly attacks throughout the world, including in Iraq, Syria, Bangladesh, Libya, Somalia, and more. Yesterday’s violence is symbolic as it occurred on 14 July, Bastille Day, when French citizens commemorate the start of the French Revolution. On this anniversary, we are especially mindful of the heritage of this 18th century revolution that promoted values of equality, legality, and a state that strives to treat all religions equally.
“As churches and people of faith we must ask ourselves, ‘What is our role in this?’” reflected CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen at a moment of prayer in the Ecumenical Centre in Brussels. “How does this kind of tragedy challenge us and call us toward repentance instead of revenge?”
“I was horrified to hear of the attack in Nice last night,” said CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD. “My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and indeed for France itself.”
Through peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts, we in the churches must persevere in cultivating an atmosphere of trust and acceptance together with all people of faith and goodwill. CEC encourages all to continue and strengthen efforts to build societies where all people feel safe and welcome. Our prayers are with those who have died, those who remain injured and in critical condition, survivors, all those touched by this tragedy, and those who selflessly and courageously put their own lives at risk for the sake of others.
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