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Christchurch: How do we respond?

Christchurch: How do we respond?

I am sure, that like me, many of you have been dismayed and horrified by the incident in Christchurch, New Zealand. The action by a single gunman has been widely condemned throughout the world and many have been left bewildered by his actions. On the weekend I felt a sense of heartbreak and mourning for the families, innocent men, women and children, many of whom had fled to New Zealand for refuge.

How do we respond?

I would hope that we can put politics and religion aside and remember the community who has experienced loss. May we remember the people who have lost their lives and the grieving families left behind. On a visit to a Christchurch school, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for students to honour their fallen friends and family.

She also requested that the students help her make New Zealand a place where we don’t let racism exist. May we also respond in kind; our school needs to be a place where all children no matter their race, are treated with love, respect and compassion. May we be a place where each one of us feels welcome and understands that we belong here.

In the face of such a horrendous act many wonder how can we pray? I was forwarded a beautiful prayer by the Senior Minister from St Michaels Wollongong:

Almighty Father,
you rule the earth and its people in love.
We pray for those torn apart
through the ravages of terror
in these New Zealand mosques today. 

And we ask you to bring comfort and healing to the injured and grieving.
In a world of too much darkness,
give to all who exercise authority
determination to defend freedom and justice for all,
strength to protect and safeguard the innocent,
and vision to guide our world into pathways of peace.
In this time of uncertainty and fear,
help us all to love our enemies
and do good to those who hate us,
noting the example of Jesus Christ.
We look to him as the Prince of peace,
in whose name we pray. Amen.

The school will provide support to any students distressed by this incident. Additionally, parents might like to access these resources and suggestions to assist them in discussing these difficult events with their child:

Our student leaders have contemplated whether they can do something to support our neighbours. As a small token they will hold a mufti day on Thursday 28th March, 2019 for all students in Junior and Senior School. The money raised will be donated to the New Zealand Anglican Missions Relief Appeal, in support of victims and families of the mosque shootings in Christchurch. We ask that students donate a gold coin on the day.

Written by Lorrae Sampson, Principal, Nowra Anglican College

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