Bishops Grieve for Germany

Friday’s murders began outside this McDonald’s restaurant near the Olympia Shopping Centre in Munich. • Stefan Wust/Wikimedia

Adapted from Gavin Drake/ACNS

Two bishops responsible for Anglican and Episcopal churches in Europe have responded to Friday’s deadly shooting attack in Munich. Nine people were killed and 16 others injured by student David Ali Sonboly, 18, who shot people near a McDonald’s restaurant in the city’s Olympia Shopping Centre.

Sonboly killed himself before he could be captured by any of the 2,300 police deployed to the city. He had a fixation on mass killings, and police do not believe he had links to other terrorists.

Bishop Pierre Whalon, bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe wrote a lament, in which he said that he was “sick and tired” of having to respond to such atrocities. Since the attack in Munich a failed Syrian asylum-seeker killed himself and wounded 12 other people when he detonated a bomb at a music festival in Ansbach; and days earlier a boy attacked passengers on a train at Würzburg with an axe.

“Do you not hear the cries of your children, O God?” Bishop Whalon wrote. “Have you turned a deaf ear to our petitions? Let my cry come to you, O Lord! How long? How much longer must this so-called Islamic State continue to exist? When will you bring Boko Haram and all the other imitators to an end? What about the persecutors and the persecuted elsewhere in the world? In India and Indonesia. In Pakistan and Thailand and Myanmar. How many more million Congolese are going to die?”

Anglican churches on the European mainland belong mainly to the convocation or to the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe. Churches from both provinces have a common life in the Council of Anglican-Episcopal Churches in Germany.

The Rt. Rev. David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese in Europe, responded to the shooting by writing to the Rev. Steven Smith, rector of Church of the Ascension in Munich, to express his “horror and disbelief that the inhabitants of yet another European city were under attack.”

He added:

May I, on behalf of your brother and sister Anglicans from the Church of England congregations on the continent, express our deep sorrow at these recent killings of at least nine persons.

“This Sunday in our services we will pray for the victims and for all who have been injured, and for all who mourn the death of their loved ones and friends. We pray that God will strengthen all who serve and minister to those affected, including you and your colleague priests and pastors in Munich.

We pray for the German authorities as they continue their investigation and for faith communities that they may draw together and not apart as a result of this atrocity.

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