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Solidarity message to churches in India

03 September 2008

Geneva, 3 September 2008

Dear partners in the ministry of the Lord,

It is with great concern that we have been following the news about the unfortunate events of violence in Orissa during the past ten days. We have heard that people are being killed, houses burnt, thousands are living in relief camps, and churches and church properties are being destroyed. Religious fanaticism has once again broken the lives of the poor, who are largely Dalits and Adivasis.

We have also heard about the efforts of the churches and Christian leaders across the length and breadth of India appealing to people to strive for peace and reconciliation and to pray for all victims of this violence. We welcome the call given by the National United Christian Forum to observe 7 September 2008 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace and goodwill. We are urging all our member churches and partners worldwide to join in this initiative by praying for the families of those who have lost their dear ones, for those who are displaced, for all others who suffer the consequences of this violence and for all those who are striving to restore trust and goodwill among people and communities.

On behalf of the member churches and partners of the World Council of Churches, I am writing to express our solidarity and extend our prayerful support to you all as you go through these turbulent and challenging times, and encourage you to witness to the love and peace of God in Jesus Christ amidst hatred and aggression. Even as we suffer, as we are told, let us overcome evil with good (Rom.12:21). Let us pray for harmony among religious communities and let us work together to build trust and mutual respect.

May the God of peace fill our hearts and minds with the love of Christ, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, so that we may all strive to establish God's reign of peace, justice and life for all.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary