UCC and Disciples Leaders Share Pastoral Statement on Church Attack in Owo, Nigeria

UCC and Disciples Leaders Share Pastoral Statement on Church Attack in Owo, Nigeria

Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children because they are no more.  Jeremiah 31:15

As Christian congregations around the world gathered to commemorate Pentecost Sunday 2022, a day in the Christian faith where unity, love, and peace prevail, gunmen attacked worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Nigeria during Sunday morning worship service.  Amidst the backdrop of this joy and celebration in the sanctity of the church, this atrocity was committed leaving fifty people dead and many others injured.

With a heavy heart we continue to grieve and learn about the mounting loss of innocent lives while in seemingly “safe spaces,” only to find themselves victims of gun violence. These acts of violence visited upon the community in Owo leave us grief-stricken and heartbroken yet again. We join our voices with the international community today with cries for comfort, healing, and peace during these difficult times. 

We condemn the violent acts that were perpetrated by the attackers and pray for the end of gun violence, a pandemic, which we recognize from our context, and which continues to destroy lives, families and communities wreaking havoc in every fiber of our being. 

We attest that we will not shrink in the face of violence, instead we seek renewed strength and power to call for justice and a just system for communities, survivors, and victims.

We appeal to church leaders worldwide to unite in efforts against repeated displays of violence, and pray for the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit to comfort us and led us into greater actions of restoration and peace.

Holy God,

You are our very present help in the time of trouble.  So, we call upon You, the One who hears and responds to the collective cry of your people, as we mourn with those families whose lives were shattered in an instance. 

Thank you for Your faithfulness and the warm embrace of Your presence that comforts the families and congregation at St. Francis Catholic Church in their time of grief.  We trust You to provide healing and restoration for survivors, and to mend the broken hearts of those who lost loved ones in the attack.  We pray for peace, love, and the light of Your presence to prevail in the land, both now and forevermore. 


Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ
Rev. Teresa Hord Owens
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson
Associate General Minister
Wider Church Ministries
Co-Executive, Global Ministries
Rev. Marco Cable
Division of Overseas Ministries
Co-Executive, Global Ministries