Hundreds of migrants traveling by fishing boat across the Mediterranean Sea are feared dead after a boat sank off the coast of Kalamata in southwest Greece. As of Tuesday afternoon, a total of 81 bodies had been found while 104 people have been rescued. The boat was on its way from Libya to Italy when it sunk. There are estimates that more than 700 people were on board at the time. Authorities are still searching the area for potential survivors as well as the bodies of those who died.
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has sent a letter to the Greek Evangelical Church/Lesvos Solidarity, expressing his grief over the tragedy.
To the Greek Evangelical Church/Lesvos Solidarity,
It is with great sadness that we hear of the vessel carrying migrants that capsized off the coast of Kalamata and the loss of many people who were aspiring for a better life. We mourn with the people of Greece and the families who have lost loved ones to this tragic accident. As a sibling faith community/partner we seek to stand in solidarity alongside the Greek Evangelical Church/Lesvos Solidarity as you support people affected by this tragedy and as you continue to work with people on the move. Please know that our prayers are with you at this time, and we continue to stand with you as we seek justice together for all people.
Eternally accompanying God, whose Spirit hovered over the waters of creation as earth and sea were formed, we cry out now for those whose lives have been lost in the sea. God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, we trust you were with those trapped in the belly of a ship as hope for a new life faded into the depths. We mourn for the unnecessary loss of life and grieve with those who have lost family and friends. May the salt of our tears join us to those who drank of the sea. And may our grief, anger and love move us to act for justice, remembering each human life as a cradle of the divine. Through Jesus the Christ who descended to the place of the dead, we pray.
In God’s Love and Care,
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)