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Pastoral Message to the World Council of Churches member churches in

31 December 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the entire fellowship of the World Council of Churches we send you
sincere condolences and express our sorrow at the loss of more than 125,000 thousand
lives in one of the deadliest natural catastrophes that has faced the people of
South East Asia and regions surrounding the Indian Ocean. We are also aware
that the devastating earthquake followed by the tsunami has left more than five
million people homeless who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian aid as
well as psychological and spiritual accompaniment.

With our deepest sympathy we pray and think of those who have lost their loved
ones. We are greatly encouraged by the exemplary efforts of our member churches
in responding even with meagre resources to bandage the wounded and bond
with the sorrowful. In prayer, we yearn to God that we may all overcome this cosmic
anguish together with all peoples of faith in the region. The WCC, together
with our partners in ecumenical disaster and emergency management, will continue
to reach out with the resources available at our disposal to prevent more
human suffering and bring about relief to those in this great affliction. Please let
us know in what other ways you would wish the global ecumenical community
to be in solidarity with you as you try to come to terms with this unprecedented

During this holy season we have witnessed through liturgy and the sacred narratives
of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ that even in the face of so many contradictions
in life God is still part of our broken world. The miracle of the incarnation
reminds us in the most profound way of the dwelling presence of God that
transforms even probabilities of annihilation into new possibilities of life in history.

And now we must reach out to one another, and not only weep with those
in anguish but also make a new place for those seeking shelter as we struggle to
find lasting solutions to future tragedies in this world. One lesson to learn from
this tsunami tragedy is the need for the international community and the religious
communities to unite in one spirit and reinvent the capacity for preparedness
to face such tragedies together. It is also a moment to be re-awakened to our
God given responsibility to care not only for one another but for the health of the
creation as well.

On the eve of the New Year may God's grace be with you, comfort you, and give
you peace in 2005 and beyond.

Yours in Christ,

H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Moderator
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, General Secretary