To the Brazilian churches,

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, “May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).

On behalf of the World Council of Churches, we express to you our very sincere condolences for the tragic death of 231 people, many of them university students, who were killed as the result of the fire at a night club in the southern city of Santa Maria, Brazil, last Sunday.

We have been very moved by the compassionate ministry carried-out by several churches in the region, providing the necessary accompaniment to all families affected by the tragedy, which has been a genuine example of the gospel’s mandate to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).

Our prayers are with you as a nation mourning the dead, particularly with those supporting all the people affected, including the churches of different confessions, which are providing the necessary pastoral care and spiritual support to all people who, one way or the other have been affected by this calamity.

In critical situations like this one, together with the psalmist we lift up our eyes to the hills and wonder from where will my help come? And indeed, we are assured that our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Psalm 122: 1-2). Therefore, May the Lord continue to help you in this critical moment of your nation! You are not alone; brothers and sisters from around the world are interceding for you in this moment of sorrow, since, as Saint Paul affirms, “If one member of the body suffers, all suffer together with it” (I Cor. 12:26).

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary