World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed sorrow for the lives lost and solidarity for those who are responding to a shooting on 5 November at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas (USA).

At least 27 people are dead, including the gunman, and many more are injured. The shooting occurred while a church service was underway, and officials are still investigating whether the incident is tied to terrorist groups.

With details still unfolding, we must at this time care for those who have lost loved ones, pray for the first responders and, at the same time, continue to question the root causes of this kind of violence, said Tveit. “As weapons become ever more devastating and accessible, and extremist rhetoric augments into extremist action, we must condemn the disregard for human life.”

“Such violence is so painful to confront when it is senselessly focused on people who are worshipping in a place they feel safe to gather as a community to express their faith,” added Tveit. “How do we cope and respond? We cannot necessarily ease someone’s pain but we can walk beside them, whether we are their neighbor across the street or we are thousands of miles away.”

Learn more about WCC's Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace