Dear friends in the Lord, be comforted': MCC offices in the United States hear responses from around the world

Mennonite Central Committee
Friday, 14 September 2001

AKRON, Pa. -- In the wake of terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has received prayerful condolences from workers, churches and partner organizations around the world.

"As sisters and brothers in faith, we know that when one part of the body of believers is hurt, the whole body feels the pain," wrote Levy and Leontine Madjibe, local MCC workers in Burkina Faso. "This tragedy reminds us to draw closer to the Creator, the only one in control of all of human life. Dear friends in the Lord, be comforted and share our condolences also with those who are affected."

"Our hearts are torn apart by this," said Zoughbi Zoughbi of the Wi'am Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem.

Bishara Awad, president of Bethlehem Bible College, reported that churches in the Middle East are praying for the victims and their families. Bishara and others sharply criticized what they viewed as thoughtless celebrations by a small number of Palestinians following the attacks.

"When words are confusing and there are no answers to our questions, that's when the prayers that renew hope become significant," said Henry Góngora, director of Ediciones Clara, an Anabaptist publishing house in Colombia.

Churches in the Netherlands are also praying, according to staff from Mission and Relief Transport in the Netherlands.

"The expressions of concern and sorrow here are numerous and generous," said Mary Raber, from MCC Ukraine, who received calls from the local chapter of the Christian Medical Association and from Good Shepherd Children's Shelter in Makeevka, among others.

From Zimbabwe, local MCC workers Jethro and Doris Dube offered prayers for "all who have been and may continue to be affected by this tragic loss of lives."

"Please convey our deep-felt sympathies to all MCC staff and volunteers," they said.

Wally and Evelyn Shellenberger, MCC workers in Iran, report feeling supported by their Muslim community in Qom. Their landlord brought a gift of food, and "several people have called to see how we are doing," they said.

"Not only America but also the world community is frightened by such an attack," wrote Dinh Thi Vinh, a local MCC worker in Vietnam.

"Now is the time to work with more determination to deal with the root causes that create violence ... to remember that only God is great," came a letter from Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. "Let us pray that his love and mercy will comfort the bereaved, heal the injured and help and guide leaders into making decisions that will avoid more suffering."

In addition to these, MCC has received responses from Tanzania, Bolivia, Cuba, Jamaica, Germany, Russia, Laos, Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

MCC has also heard from many churches in North America who are joining in prayer.

For more information, or to contact Mennonite Central Committee, see their website at: www.mcc.org

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