WCC general secretary expresses empathy following Belgian tragedy


“Words alone are inadequate to express our sorrow,” wrote World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the churches and people of Belgium following the death on Tuesday 13 March of 22 children and six adults in the crash of a hired coach near Sierre, Switzerland.


The students and their teachers were beginning the journey home from a ski excursion in the Alps when their coach ran head-on into the wall of a highway tunnel. Another 24 pupils were injured in the accident; three of them remained in critical condition on Thursday.


Tveit invoked the abiding love of God in support of the Belgian faith communities’ “ministries of comfort and healing in this tragic time.”


Recalling the shock and mourning that struck his own nation of Norway in July 2011 following the mass murder of students and adults at a youth camp on Utøya Island and in downtown Oslo, Tveit continued, “We have learned that the road back from such a moment is difficult, that the emotional challenges to survivors are formidable, that whole communities can be crucial to the recovery of individuals and families, and that the support we offer one another in faith is crucial to building the future.”


“Standing in the shadow of the Cross,” he concluded, “we dare to seek once more the sure and certain hope offered by the Resurrection. Meanwhile, may the living God bless you as you offer consolation to those who are suffering.”


Read WCC general secretary's letter to the faith communities of Belgium