Elder Cynthia Bolbach, moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly, and Elder Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council, issued the following statement today in the wake of the October 31, 2010, attack on the Sayyidat Al-Najat Church (Our Lady of Salvation Church) in Baghdad:

On behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we add our voices to the growing number of church leaders around the world in condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent attack on the Sayyidat Al-Najat Church in Baghdad.

The brazenness and brutality of the attack, which terrorized and killed around 58 people, including priests, women, and children, is shocking and saddening. Such disregard for human life in general – and the specific targeting of a Christian minority in the area in particular – is deeply troubling.

We lift up in prayer the families of the victims of this most recent attack, as well as the congregation of Sayyidat Al-Najat Church, as they grieve such tremendous loss. We pray for the churches in Iraq – the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches in Basrah, Baghdad, Mosul, and Kirkuk; the Chaldean Catholic, the Armenian Orthodox and Catholic, the Assyrian, and the Greek Orthodox Churches – as they strive to survive and witness during the chaotic period of rebuilding their nation and their churches. We also lift up all Christians in the region who face ongoing threats of lethal violence.

We urge leaders of the United States and the community of nations to speak out against all persecution directed toward people of faith. As the apostle Paul wrote, “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).