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20,000 Attend National Memorial Service for Mosque Attack Victims

Christchurch, New Zealand (March 29, 2019) - New Zealand is a nation grieving the loss of 50 people during a terror attack two weeks ago. Today, new agencies are reporting that 20,000 people attended a national memorial service in support of survivors and families who lost loved ones.

"A succession of survivors, religious and civic leaders, along with community members, took the stage in Christchurch, each introduced in the country's official languages of English, Maori and sign language," according to CNN. Survivors spoke of forgiveness and with love even as they marked their loss.

"People ask me, 'Why did you forgive someone who has killed your beloved wife?'" Farid Ahmed, a survivor who is now in a wheelchair, said. "I don't want a heart that is boiling like a volcano, a volcano has anger, fury, rage, it does not have peace. I want a heart that will be full of love and care and full of mercy."

Connected Nation grieves with and supports those impacted by this terrible act. Chris Pedersen, CN's Vice President of Development and Planning, has been in New Zealand all week for an exchange program. During that time, he's met with community leaders, farmers, woodworkers, families, and so many others.

It is hard to make sense of this tragedy taking place anywhere but particularly in a country that is so welcoming as the people of New Zealand have been.  Our thoughts and prayers are with New Zealand.