Looking back on a week of grief. A week full of sorrow, tears, loss and anger.
A week of grief that began with the air disaster in Ethiopia, when the life of our colleague Rev. Norman Tendis was taken too early. A question that surfaces: Why? Why this air crash, involving leading climate experts on their way to the UN climate meeting in Nairobi? So many dead and missing. So much grief.
We then received the sad news that a World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee member died at the airport in New York after a ten-day tour of the Middle East. Rev. Robina Winbush, who was in the midst of life, full of life and plans to create an equal world for everyone. A leading voice against racism in the US and one of the initiators of WCC’s renewed focus on Churches overcoming racism.
And on Friday morning, we woke to media reports about the latest horrific terrorist attacks, against two mosques in New Zealand, with 50 people killed and many others injured as they were praying. Children, women and men killed as they prayed. On a Friday, which is a holy day for Muslims. In peaceful Christchurch. How can the face of evil take this form?
A week of sorrow in every possible way. One of the toughest since I joined the World Council of Churches just over five years ago. In the midst of all the grief, there was at least a ray of hope and light, in the togetherness shown among colleagues, churches, the UN, media and religions. We seek out each other in difficult times, and we provide each other with support and comfort. Even the media who visited the Ecumenical Centre passed on their condolences to us. That warms my heart.
I am grateful for the good cooperation between churches and other organisations. Thank you for helping to disseminate the “Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice”. In the midst of grief, we decided to implement Norman Tendis’ plan to launch the Roadmap to all churches around the world. It is important, and he spent half his working life thinking about how to work locally and globally to create a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you to everyone who helped disseminate this important work. A good and concrete example of how churches work together.
When the fog of grief dissipates in my heart
I look forward to a new week of thoughtfulness and gratitude for those who have gone before us and shown the way, with new insights, memories and a renewed belief in the future. Together, we can bring about change.
It is important not to give up, not to be pushed aside, and not to stop fighting for the good in the world. We know that light will always prevail over darkness, and good over evil. We have to believe in what we do and seek hope in everything we do. We must counteract dark forces and hatred. We must seek connections and build new bridges of dialogue, love and trust. We know that we can bring about change together. To do this we have to seek the light and new energy. To communicate beyond words. Just a single word can make a difference: It is spelled love.
Peace be with you.