World Council of Churches Condemns Attack Against Church In Nigeria
World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned an attack that occurred on New Year’s Day at the Rivers church in Omuku town, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Southern Nigeria.
At least 16 people were killed by gunmen who opened fire after a New Year’s Day church service, according to police reports. The group had attended a midnight service before they were ambushed in the early hours of Monday.
Over 52 persons, who were also injured in the New Year’s Day attack by some gunmen, were in critical condition in hospitals. An eye witness account who revealed indigene how the 15 worshippers were gunned down, said as the Christians were leaving their various churches on January 1, the gunmen were spraying them with bullets at close range.
“People who were worshipping, starting anew, celebrating and reflecting on a new year, have lost their lives,” said Tveit. “We condemn this senseless violence. Let us strengthen our resolution to pursue peace and justice for all, dignity for all, the freedom to worship safely for all.”
Tveit and the WCC fellowship held those who lost loved ones in prayer. “We mourn for the families of the victims, and for the church family that lost so much so quickly,” he said. “God, we seek your mercy.”
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a worldwide inter-church organization founded in 1948. Its members today include the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, most jurisdictions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Old Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, most mainline Protestant churches (such as the Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian and Reformed) and some evangelical Protestant churches (such as the Baptist and Pentecostal). Notably, the Roman Catholic Church is not a member, although it sends accredited observers to meetings.
The WCC describes itself as “a worldwide fellowship of 349 global, regional and sub-regional, national and local churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service. It is based at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The organization’s members include denominations which claim to collectively represent some 590 million people across the world in about 150 countries, including 520,000 local congregations served by 493,000 pastors and priests, in addition to elders, teachers, members of parish councils and others.