MH17: Call for prayers following Malaysia Airlines tragedy

By  Cath Martin,

An Amsterdam church leader is asking for prayers after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.

The plane was downed around four hours after taking off from Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam. The 298 people killed in the tragedy included 192 Dutch nationals. There were no survivors.

Canon Mark Collinson, chaplain of Christ Church, Amsterdam and Area Dean for the Netherlands said the chaplaincy team at Schiphol had organised support for relatives of those killed.

“Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholic and Roman Catholic ministers are meeting with grief stricken family members at Schiphol together with other professional support services,” said Canon Collinson.

“Please pray for those who are bereaved, together with all those who provide support for them, and for our mission partner the Anglican Old Catholic Airport Ministry, as people in this nation come to terms with this tragedy.”

They have offered this prayer for use:

Gracious God, look in mercy on all to whom great sorrow has come. Console and protect those who have lost loved ones. Strengthen those who minister to the grieving. Give your light in darkness to all who are near to despair, and assure them that you hold all souls in life.

The World Council of Churches expressed particular sadness over the loss of HIV and Aids experts on the flight. The scientists accounted for nearly a third of the passengers on the flight and were making their way to an international AIDS conference in Australia. They included former International AIDS Society president Dr Joep Lange.

Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, the WCC associate general secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia, said, “The WCC is mourning the deaths of a reported 100 HIV and AIDS workers including some from the WHO.”

“I knew personally and worked with some of the people who died in this crash.

“It is in this context that the WCC is seriously affected by these deaths. It is painful to realise that the deaths will have a negative impact on progress that was being made in the area of HIV and AIDS research at a global level.

“My own relatives whose lives depend on new discoveries in HIV and AIDS research will be affected by the deaths of these people.”

Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Geoff Tunnicliffe, has called for Christians to pray for peace in the region.

He said in statement: “I am calling on our global family to pray for those who have lost family or friends as a result of the tragedy.

“And once again we renew our call for prayer for Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in the region, that there be a peaceful and lasting solution,” he added.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down between Krasni Luch in the Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in Donetsk.

Experts from the UK and Malaysia are assisting the investigation, but Ukraine has accused rebels of trying to destroy evidence of an “international crime”, the BBC reports.

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