New Zealand and Australian Adventists Continue to Send Love and Prayers in Wake of Christchurch Mosque Shootings

In the wake of the tragic shooting on Friday, March 15, at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, several Adventist entities have responded with love, prayer, and condolences for the victims and families. The latest responses have come in the form of two videos, one from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in New Zealand and another from Macquarie College, a Seventh-day Adventist school for Pre-school through Year 12 in Australia.

“As a people we are called to love,” said Pastor Mike Sikuri in the first video. Sikuri is president of the South New Zealand Conference which is located in Christchurch. “Religious freedom is valued highly by all Seventh-day Adventists and we do not condone violence in any form.”

He continued saying, “Our church family globally is keeping the Muslim and wider Christchurch community in our prayers during this difficult time. We are also partnering with local authorities and agencies at this time to provide support for the ongoing needs of those effected. Kia kaha* Christchurch. We stand with you.”

WATCH “Christchurch Attacks — Our Response”:

The second video was created by Macquarie College senior students who wished to pay their respects to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings, states the video description on the school’s Facebook page. Several students, as well as faculty and staff, are featured throughout the video, sending love and prayers to the victims in Christchurch.

When asked for comment on the creation of the video, Macquarie College Senior School Chaplain Joshua Goss replied with the following statement:

The Macquarie College School community was devastated by the senseless killings that took place on Friday in Christchurch. The attack flowed from minds that were infected with racial superiority and religious prejudice. It was an attack on a faith tradition and as such, it was an attack on freedom and humanity. As a school community, we've been engaging with Jesus' teaching about who our neighbours are. When we think about that authentically we understand that Jesus calls us to love one another regardless of creed, culture or ethnicity.

On the Sunday after the massacre, Macquarie College staff were invited to attend a commemoration service at the Wallsend mosque. This was a moving experience that highlighted the love and tolerance that we share with people of all faith backgrounds. Many of our students had been personally affected by the attacks and were experiencing confusion, fear and heartache. To respond to this, the chaplaincy team decided to prepare a special segment in our Week of Spiritual Emphasis that would show solidarity with our hurting community and a Christ-like response to those affected.

While preparing for this, the team was approached by a Year 8 Muslim student who wanted to present a speech about the dangers of racism and xenophobia. The Senior School Chaplain Joshua Goss and the Coordinator of Religious Studies Carmel Roenndfeldt stood with her as she shared her pain and plead with her peers to be the generation that stood up for religious tolerance and love.

She inspired all of us to show compassion and empathy. She highlighted that in the places and spaces we share, our voices are powerful and that we need to use our voices to uplift others.

The Youth Pastor of our Campus Church Jake Whittaker lead us into worship as students brought candles up to remember the 50 lives lost.

As a community that strives to follow King Jesus and his teachings, our deepest condolences go out to all those families and friends who are suffering at this time.

May God show his healing love to each of you.

WATCH Macquarie College pays respects to Christchurch victims:

South Pacific Division President Glenn Townend responded to the tragedy via Facebook on Friday, and the North American Division issued a statement on Tuesday.

*Kia kaha is a Māori phrase used by the people of New Zealand as an affirmation, meaning stay strong (definition from Wikipedia).

Further Reading:

South Pacific Division President Responds to New Zealand Mosque Shooting

North American Division Leadership Issues Statement Against Violence in Christchurch Mosques

Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org

Image: video still

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9501
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I applaud the effort of SDA’s in New Zealand to send love and prayers to the Mosque Shooting incident. Now. I wish we would take a step further, rescind all our anti-Catholic rhetoric. We have been far too forward to declaring that the Pope is responsible for changing the Sabbath, which is historically not true, and the church is the Antichrist. We would be opposed to any negative comments about Islam, while we are unashamed of our continued in anti-Catholic opposition.

If you substitute the word Muslims for Catholics in this EGW quote you are left with a simple and wise counsel that is relevant for all of us to follow:

“This message must be given, but while it must be given, we should be careful not to thrust and crowd and condemn those who have not the light that we have. We should not go out of our way to make hard thrusts at the Catholics. Among the Catholics there are many who are most conscientious Christians, and who walk in all the light that shines upon them, and God will work in their behalf.” Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 575.

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor” ([Romans 13:10) “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” ([1 Corinthians 13:4]

God’s love compels us to respond with love to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

When I say that love calls us to do good in practical ways that meet physical needs I do not mean that this help is offered contingent on Muslim’s becoming Christians. Practical love is a witness to the love of Christ. Witness is not withheld where it is needed most. Conversions coerced by force or finances contradicts the very nature of saving faith. Saving faith is a free embrace of Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and highest Treasure. He is not a means to treasure. He is the Treasure.

Adventism is also quite anti-Protestant.

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"323 Pope Sylvester I in his calendar give to Sunday, first day of the week, name Lord´s day and give commandment to church members to keep it as a holy day and so he changed old Christian and Jewish sabbath to Sunday."

S.R.E. Humbert, Adversus Graecorium calumnias 6, in Patrologie Cursus Completus, series Latina, e.d. J.P.Migne, 1844, p.143

From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Catholic_Church>

The Didache (circa 96 AD) speaks of worship on the Lord’s day , a reference to Sunday ( Didache 14:1 ). Ignatius of Antioch (cir 112-120 AD) also speaks of worship on Sunday AND reveals an anti-Jewish sentiment.

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