In a statement released October 30 leaders in the Christian Reformed Church expressed the grief that many feel.
“We mourn the wanton destruction of life through weapons and violence,” the statement reads in part. “We mourn the assault, and threats of assault, on people of faith gathered in places of worship. We mourn the rising rates of anti-Semitic attitudes and actions, the increase of hate crimes in our communities, and in particular the persecution of people on the basis of their religious beliefs. We mourn that fear is on the rise, because everyone’s safety is threatened through actions like these.”
In addition to expressing mourning and lament, the statement called for commitment to prayer, a request for pastors to “have brave conversations in their congregations with members who struggle with fear of the other,” and a call for church members to cultivate “meaningful friendship toward people who are different from them.”
Steven Timmermans, executive director of the CRCNA, said the statement reflects the CRC’s long history of “seeking to be used by the Spirit in bringing God's Word into the public square” and was written “to faithfully pursue the posture of standing together” that Synod 2010 called for concerning action in our interfaith world: "Interfaith dialogue is an activity of people from other faiths coming together to understand each other better, and where possible, stand together on selected issues that address the “common good” for our society."
Quoting from Our World Belongs to God, contemporary testimony of the CRC, the statement recalled, “We pledge to walk in ways of peace, confessing that our world belongs to God; he is our sure defense” (para. 53-54).
The statement further resolved “to ensure that the CRCNA works ever more diligently toward interfaith friendships, antiracist relationships, and the cultivation of peace and justice in each of our communities.”
In addition to Timmermans, the statement was signed by Colin Watson, the CRC’s director of ministries and administration, Carol Bremer-Bennett and Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, the U.S. and Canadian directors of World Renew, and Reggie Smith, director of the Office of Race Relations and the Office of Social Justice for the CRC.