March 15, 2019
UM leaders react to New Zealand carnage
United Methodist Church leaders are reacting to a heinous attack on New Zealand’s Muslim community last night from an apparent white supremacist terrorist, who killed at least 49 people in the city of Christchurch. Dozens more are critically injured. 

New Zealand's prime minister has described the mass murder at two mosques as a clear terrorist act on “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.” 

The attack was streamed live on Facebook by the offender, who was wearing a GoPro. The man’s Facebook account was deleted after complaints to the platform by Police. In a separate “manifesto” posted online, he describes himself as a “white man” in his late 20s, born in Australia. The document contains dozens of pages filled with violent, racist language. 
"Religious and racial intolerance and hatred is so much a part of our world today," said Bishop Peggy Johnson, Philadelphia Area episcopal leader.  "We need to actively pray and grieve for those affected by this horrible human tragedy. We are all hurt when anyone is hurt, especially from malicious violence that wounds us all." 

Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of UMC Global Ministries called the mass murders at Christchurch's Al Noor and Linwood mosques "terrorism, and the pain it inflicts reminds us of the kinship of all people across religious and cultural boundaries. 
"We join our voices with those of Christians around the world in condemnation of the shootings," he said in a statement . "The attacks violate the spirit of civility and peaceful diversity of New Zealand. Such violence is especially heinous when inflicted on people at prayer. May we be united in prayer for an end to hatred, violence and bloodshed."