UM Global Ministries general secretary issues statement on Paris attacks

© Citron / , via Wikimedia Commons

© Citron / , via Wikimedia Commons


Thomas Kemper

Thomas Kemper, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church offered his reflections on the terrorist attacks in Paris this past weekend:

“Love and truth will embrace;
justice and peace will kiss.
Truth will spring from the earth;
justice will look down from heaven”
(Psalm 85:10-11, NIV).

 We mourn for the 132 women, men and children who were killed and hundreds more who were injured in terrorist attacks on Paris, November 13, in the name of Islamic extremist ideology. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those who are devastated by the loss of friends, family, and loved ones. We stand in solidarity with the people of France and our United Methodist congregations. We join the international Christian ecumenical community in proclaiming that love and truth, justice and peace find its way into all human affairs. Violence defiles the nobility of the faith whose holy book describes followers of Allah as those “who tread gently upon the earth” (Quran 25:63). The murder and mayhem birthed by religious extremism are never justifiable and stand starkly in opposition to all major world religions.

We are deeply concerned for the heavy impact the attacks may have on refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq—people we know first-hand through relief partnerships extending across many months. The horror and anguish caused by bombs and gunfire in Paris was preceded in Beirut, Lebanon a few days earlier when 43 persons were killed by the same forces of hatred. One third of the people of Lebanon are refugees with the same rights to human dignity we profess. Atrocities such as those in Paris happen almost daily in the Syrian city of Aleppo and other war-torn areas of the Middle East.

The events of Paris may encourage border restrictions in the name of security and prohibit the entrance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who have endured terrorism for years. We pray that governments and people may resist anti-refugee sentiment and continue to offer sanctuary to those in need. In these days of desperate acts of violence, may efforts to solve the root causes of the current refugee crisis prevail.

We must not allow terrorists to deter democratic nations and religious and secular peacemakers from reaching out to the refugee children, youth, men and women.

We must join together in finding comprehensive ways to reverse the political and military violence that is the cause of increasing refugee numbers. Violence is not the end of the story, God’s redeeming love and grace is.

So let us turn to God and ask for the strength to seek peace and to pursue it with courage, determination, and hope. We ask, God of mercy and justice, in the face of horrific violence in Paris, Beirut and war-torn cities around the world:

  • For those whose lives are forever disrupted and changed by the violence in Paris and Beirut;
  • For those who serve the injured, minister to the families of those killed and have the responsibility of determining responses to the attacks;
  • For the people of France that they may find a sense of security and peace without closing their hearts and borders to Middle East refugees;
  • For the refugees that they may find safety and welcome and not be turned away anywhere out of fear and distrust;
  • For the perpetrators that their hearts may be transformed; that they disavow violence and become peacemakers reliant on you;
  • For champions of peace that they will not succumb to fear but will remain devoted to peace through justice and compassion; and
  • For strong United Methodist witness as instruments of justice and peace
  • wherever there is violence, suffering, hatred, and fear.

We ask all these petitions in the name of Christ, author of peace and maker of justice.

General Board of Global Ministries

The General Board of Global Ministries is the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences, and local congregations. A major responsibility of Global Ministries is to connect the various parts of the Church as United Methodists engage in global mission. The aim of Global Ministries is to be a biblically rooted, historically informed, and organizationally flexible means of spreading the good news.

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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Perhaps Mr. Kemper should read the entire Koran. He might find that violence is an integral part of Islam.


While there are certainly some good comments here it’s curious that the bulk of them have to do with the plight of refugees as opposed to the plight of those who lost innocent loved ones in this horrific terrorist attack. In other words, while everyone should be sympathetic to refugees, there seems to be a lack of perspective here.

Paul W.
Paul W.

I agree with you Mark. Sadly, the bulk of the statement is simply advocating a liberal political agenda. There is little Christian or Methodist anywhere in the statement other than vague “Christian-sounding phrases” sprinkled throughout. It even includes the leftist’s obligatory excusing of Islamic atrocities through the false claims that Islam is a “noble” religion (I guess it depends on your definition of “noble”) and that “all major world religions” are peaceful. The UMC deserves better. We are an evangelical people, and our reason for being is to spread the good news of salvation through faith in Christ. Muslims (as… Read more »

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