Our pastor, Michael Tutterow, as well as our denominational partner, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, offer responses to the senseless tragedy that occurred at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday:
From our pastor:
I have reached out to our Muslim brothers and sisters in Alpharetta as well as in Cartersville to express my grief and horror over the senseless killing of innocent worshippers in their extended faith community. We lament the tragic loss of 49 lives and the wounding of dozens more in yesterday’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. That such an atrocity would take place during times of worship constitutes an attack on all people of faith. Rather than shrink in fear, we choose to unite our hearts in acts of healing rather than hate. We choose to stand in solidarity to show that hope is greater than despair, and love is stronger than death. As our church family gathers for worship this Sunday, we will hold our local Muslim friends in our prayers, asking that God’s healing peace and strength surround them. Such tragedies make our on-going interfaith dialogues all the more important as we construct bridges of understanding to carry us over our fears and toward new paths of peace.
From the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley released the following statement after the death of 49 Muslim worshipers in a terrorist attack during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
While details are still unfolding about this tragic event, we have been stopped in our tracks by the evil inflicted upon so many at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques. Our hearts ache for the victims and their families, and we offer support, love, prayer and a pledge of solidarity in the wake of all-too-frequent violence.
These attacks happened seemingly a world away, but we are also faced with questions closer to home. How are we reaching out to exemplify the Fruits of the Spirit to all people in our own communities, especially those who may believe and worship differently than we do? In a world too often marked by violent hatred and paralyzing fear of difference, we must embrace and enact Christ’s message and ministry of reconciliation.
That these innocent victims were inside their house of worship practicing their faith underscores the vital work that remains to protect the religious freedom we all hold dear, especially as Baptists who champion religious liberty for all people. - March 15, 2019
From the New Zealand Prayer Book
The Lord's Prayer
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
~ The New Zealand Prayer Book ~