12 September 2001

Methodist leaders offer sympathy to American people

The President and Vice President of the Methodist Church in Britain have written to US Methodist leaders offering their prayers in the aftermath of yesterday's terrorist attacks.

In a letter today to Bishop Elias Galvan (President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops), the British Methodist Conference President Rev Christina Le Moignan and Vice President Mrs Ann Leck expressed their sorrow over the loss of life in the attacks.

They said: "We write on behalf of the Methodist Church in Great Britain to assure you and the Council of Bishops, and all your people, of our solidarity with all those affected by the tragic events of yesterday. Our hearts go out to you all. We are holding you all before God."

"We recognise that your government is now faced with the most difficult decisions in responding to these acts of terrorism. We pray for much wisdom for them, and for all leaders in the Church as you stand with your people in seeking a response that is true to the gospel of Christ. May the God of all wisdom, and of all comfort, guide and uphold you all."

Rev Christina Le Moignan echoed the call of US Methodist bishops for prayer vigils to be held around the world in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America. The bishops had called upon Methodists everywhere to "open churches for prayer for wisdom, comfort and healing".

She said: "Of course, we all feel the need to talk with others about our response to such a terrible tragedy. But, sometimes, our only response can be silence, the silence of prayer and contemplation." Churches are starting to hold prayer services and opening books of condolence across Britain.

A statement from the United Methodist Council of Bishops said: "It is a time of national grief and sorrow. It is also a time for gathering, for strength and for prayer. Our hearts are open to all those who have been personally affected by this national tragedy. United Methodist churches will be holding prayer vigils throughout the world tonight and tomorrow night. We invite you to join us in praying for wisdom, comfort and healing in this difficult time."

In the wake the terrorist attacks, people who wish to support relief efforts in New York and elsewhere in the US are encouraged to do so. Church and other agencies in the US are currently drawing up plans for pastoral care and trauma counselling when the time is right for volunteers to have access to those affected.

The manager of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) in Britain, Kirsty Smith, said that MRDF is "available to channel any money that people may want to give to support relief efforts". Contributions in the form of cheques made payable to MRDF will be passed on to MRDF's US partner UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).

UMCOR is co-ordinating its efforts with the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other church agencies.

Donations can be sent to MRDF, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR.



Note: the United Methodist Church is the largest Methodist Church in the US, and is also a global denomination

More from the United Methodist Church on the US attacks

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