New Zealand Update

Christchurch Killings: The dreadful massacre of innocent people at worship in Christchurch on March 15th has shocked our nation and rightly dominated the news lately.

Dennis Richards sent a message Sunday on behalf of the Church to the Muslim Association as a mark of our shock and grief, and as a sign of solidarity with them. The message, which was drafted by Phil Baldwin, reads:

To our Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

The people of Grace Communion International in New Zealand are deeply saddened by the tragic violence and hatred perpetrated against New Zealanders at Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch yesterday.

We know that many believers will be praying to the God of Abraham for your comfort and strength at this time. We will be praying for those who are grieving the loss of family and friends, for those who have been injured, and for those who are caring for them.

None of us believe that Muslims or members of any religious group should be targeted because of their beliefs. We share your shock and grief at the senseless death of so many.

May God’s love and blessings and peace be upon you.

Dennis and I have heard from a number expressing support and prayers, and we appreciate those messages very much. We are sure you will all want to acknowledge the selfless courage of the first responders and the hard work of the medical and forensic teams, and are joining in prayer for recovery and healing of the wounded, their families and community, as well as the nation as a whole. It is clear the healing process will be lengthy. We sincerely encourage everyone to remember our Muslim Kiwis and our nation in prayer.

It has been heartening to witness the national outpouring of grief and sympathy towards those affected. The thousands of flower bouquets left outside mosques, provide an acknowledgment that Kiwis haven’t always acted charitably towards our Muslim immigrants, and signify a commitment to draw together as one people even though we represent many different cultures. Despite their grief, the restraint and dignity shown by Muslim community leaders have been impressive, as has also been the open-hearted and determined response of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, and others.

It, therefore, appears that some positive and powerful outcomes will yet emerge from this dark and dreadful tragedy. Thank you for your continued prayers for the return of peace in our Muslim and wider communities.

Warm regards to all,
Rex Morgan