Category : Violence

(Local Paper) Senate gun bill supported by Lindsey Graham addresses Charleston loophole

The Senate’s bipartisan gun safety bill, which has the backing of South Carolina’s senior Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, includes a pair of provisions that would address two issues of tremendous importance in the Palmetto State:

1. Closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed a young white supremacist to buy a gun on a technicality before going on a hate-fueled rampage inside a downtown Charleston church in 2015, and

2. Expanding the definition that determines which domestic abusers are barred from getting guns, an issue of significance in a state that ranks sixth-worst in the nation for women killed by men.

Graham was one of 14 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who joined all 48 Democrats and two independents in advancing the bill June 21 for debate.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Senate, Violence

(Local Paper front page) How Polly Sheppard, a survivor of the Emanuel mass shooting that occurred 7 years ago today, carries on

It doesn’t take long before the first embrace. And then Polly Sheppard greets another of the students, then another.

This group of young evangelicals, affiliated with the parachurch ministry Cru, is here at Emanuel AME Church to learn more about the 2015 mass shooting, visit the sanctuary and offer their prayers. They have just watched Brian Tetsuro Ivie’s documentary “Emanuel,” and they recognize Sheppard, who is visiting the church grounds, where a memorial soon will be erected.

The exchange between this survivor of the attack and the Cru crew is polite, warm, engaging.

Because that’s how the magnanimous Sheppard operates. Mostly, she sees the good in people. She’s ready with a smile….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NYT front page) Senators Agree On Framework For Gun Safety

Senate negotiators announced on Sunday that they had struck a bipartisan deal on a narrow set of gun safety measures with sufficient support to move through the evenly divided chamber, a significant step toward ending a yearslong congressional impasse on the issue.

The agreement, put forth by 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats and endorsed by President Biden and top Democrats, includes enhanced background checks to give authorities time to check the juvenile and mental health records of any prospective gun buyer under the age of 21 and a provision that would, for the first time, extend to dating partners a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns.

It would also provide funding for states to enact so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous, as well as money for mental health resources and to bolster safety and mental health services at schools.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, House of Representatives, Politics in General, President Joe Biden, Senate, Violence

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

(Guardian) Archbp Justin Welby–‘Is a world without violent conflict really possible?’

The effort we are rightly making to support Ukraine in defending itself against aggression needs to be matched by efforts towards negotiation, dialogue, reconciliation and peace. You cannot have one without the other. Our challenge is to put in place the infrastructures of reconciliation and the architecture of peacebuilding that enable disagreement to happen robustly, but not violently.

In a culture that often expects instant results and gratification, this work does not happen overnight. There is no “kiss and make up” moment. More often, there is the gradual transformation – sometimes over generations – of enmity and hostility to respect and trust. I clearly remember a leader in Northern Ireland being interviewed on the radio in the early summer of 1998, a few weeks after the signing of the Good Friday agreement. He was asked whether reconciliation had been “achieved”, and responded that the idea that something called reconciliation could be achieved in weeks, after 30 years of the Troubles and several centuries of bitterness, was absurd.

Deep wounds take a long time to become scars. Each of us carries our own pain, which makes it difficult to apologise and to forgive where we have wronged and been wronged. When we look towards reconciliation, we must also recognise – and have compassion for – our own conflicted and hurting hearts. Reconciliation is often risky and always costly – but it is less costly than the alternative.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Violence

(Local Paper) 10 people hospitalized in Memorial Day mass shooting on Charleston’s East Side

A pregnant woman, a 17-year-old girl and a Charleston police officer were among 10 people hospitalized after a mass shooting at a late-night Memorial Day party in the city’s East Side neighborhood, authorities said.

Four people remained in critical condition the afternoon of May 31, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds said at a news conference. No deaths have been reported, and police indicated the pregnant woman did not lose her baby.

A police officer came under fire after responding to a noise complaint around 11:40 p.m. at 41 South St., Reynolds said.

Two bullets struck his police cruiser as he took cover and called for backup, Reynolds said. The officer was not shot, but he suffered minor injuries from shattered glass. At least one bullet was found lodged in the headrest of the squad car, police said.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(NYT front page) Days of Funerals Begin in Uvalde, with a Plea to Celebrate Life

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, a jokester who made the honor roll. Tuesday, 2 p.m.

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10, who excelled in school and learned how to sew from YouTube videos. Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Irma Garcia, 48, and Joe Garcia, 50, the parents of Lyliana, Alysandra, Cristian and Jose. Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10, called Josecito and Baby Jose, who collected toy trucks and played Little League. Wednesday, 2 p.m.

A week after a gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, funerals began on Tuesday for the 19 young students and two teachers killed — as well as the husband of a victim whose fatal heart attack was attributed by his relatives to his overwhelming grief. Stretching into mid-June, the coming days will be packed with services, visitations, rosaries and burials, memorializing each of the victims whose deaths are the sum of a community’s agonizing loss.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry, Violence

(NPR) A Uvalde coroner is haunted by identifying the bodies of children and an old friend

When they entered the school, he and the medical examiner found that the first responders had moved the bodies – separating the deceased from the wounded – in order to get to those who needed medical assistance.

“So when we got there, there were children in four rooms – the initial two rooms plus two other rooms,” Diaz said, adding that they “went room by room getting the plan together on what we were going to need to make sure that we identified everybody correctly.”

Diaz did not describe the scene in detail. Instead, he said, “It’s something you never want to see and it’s something you don’t, you cannot, prepare for. It’s a picture that’s going to stay in my head forever, and that’s where I’d like for it to stay.”

He says he has no intention of ever sharing exactly what he saw.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(CT) Nigerian Christians Protest Deborah Samuel’s Death

Thousands of churches across Nigeria demanded an end to sectarian killings on Sunday, horrified by the mob assault on a female university student accused of blasphemy. But fearful of more violence, their approach differed significantly—by geography.

“The overwhelming majority of our churches in the south participated, many going to the streets in peaceful protest,” said Testimony Onifade, senior special assistant to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). “Gathering together, we condemned this gruesome act and demanded the government identify, arrest, and prosecute the culprits.”

But in the north, where Muslims represent the majority of Nigerians, John Hayab described 20 minutes set aside to pray for divine intervention. The president of CAN’s Kaduna state chapter lauded the “solemn” ceremony observed by all northern denominations, amid a ban on protests by local authorities as some Muslims had threatened counterdemonstrations.

Instead, a select group of 120 Christian leaders gathered in a Kaduna city church, guarded by police and security agencies.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Violence

(NYT) The deadliest U.S. school shooting in a decade shakes a rural Texas city

UVALDE, Texas — Anguished families waited late into the muggy Texas night on Tuesday to find out whether their children were among those killed by an 18-year-old gunman’s rampage at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde hours earlier.

Armed with multiple weapons, the gunman, who attended a nearby high school, killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, the authorities said, in the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 10 years ago. Several other children were injured in the shooting at Robb Elementary, including at least one 10-year-old who remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

At least one teacher was among the dead, and the gunman, whom officials identified as Salvador Ramos, died at the scene. A 66-year-old woman who officials said was the gunman’s grandmother had been shot at her home in Uvalde shortly before the massacre and was also in critical condition.

Robb Elementary lies in a rural area dotted with desert willows and bigtooth maples, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Census data show that more than 40 percent of people in the neighborhood around the school have lived in the same house for at least 30 years.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(CT) Russell Moore on the SBC Report on Sexual Abuse–This Is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse

Someone asked me a few weeks ago what I expected from the third-party investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. I said I didn’t expect to be surprised at all. How could I be? I lived through years with that entity. I was the one who called for such an investigation in the first place.

And yet, as I read the report, I found that I could not swipe the screen to the next page because my hands were shaking with rage. That’s because, as dark a view as I had of the SBC Executive Committee, the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be.

The conclusions of the report are so massive as to almost defy summation. It corroborates and details charges of deception, stonewalling, and intimidation of victims and those calling for reform. It includes written conversations among top Executive Committee staff and their lawyers that display the sort of inhumanity one could hardly have scripted for villains in a television crime drama. It documents callous cover-ups by some SBC leaders and credible allegations of sexually predatory behavior by some leaders themselves, including former SBC president Johnny Hunt (who was one of the only figures in SBC life who seemed to be respected across all of the typical divides).

And then there is the documented mistreatment by the Executive Committee of a sexual abuse survivor, whose own story of her abuse was altered to make it seem that her abuse was a consensual “affair”—resulting, as the report corroborates, in years of living hell for her.

For years, leaders in the Executive Committee said a database—to prevent sexual predators from quietly moving from one church to another, to a new set of victims—had been thoroughly investigated and found to be legally impossible, given Baptist church autonomy. My mouth fell open when I read documented proof in the report that these very people not only knew how to have a database, they already had one.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Baptist, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

(NPR) Chris Singleton’s mom was killed in a racist attack in Charleston. Now he’s helping Buffalo

SINGLETON: How many other people are thinking this kind of thing? It’s scary, especially because I’m trying to stop this stuff from happening. And it’s kind of demoralizing, honestly, you know, when it continues to happen.

HANSEN: But Singleton says he won’t let another racist attack shake his faith. He’s now headed to Buffalo to speak with schools where children have lost family members. He remembers the confusion he felt as a college student, robbed of his mother and left to raise his two siblings.

SINGLETON: And so if I could just be of any support to them, just sharing the things that have helped me out, with realizing it’s OK to cry.

HANSEN: Singleton still hopes he can change even one misguided mind by setting an example as a Black man who’s lost a loved one to racism but does not hate. He was supposed to visit Buffalo schools last year but couldn’t make it. The suspect would have still been in high school. Singleton worries he missed an opportunity.

SINGLETON: If he would have realized that everybody has a family and they’re loved and we didn’t choose the very thing that he hates us for, I hope it would change his heart.

HANSEN: It’s a message he shares during public talks.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(RNS) Buffalo Pastors Respond to Loss of Community ‘Pillars’

Soon after a white 18-year-old shooter targeted Black customers of a community grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo, a social justice and equity organization, was coordinating clergy to offer grief counseling and help families immediately and, she hopes, for the foreseeable future.

She was also grieving personally: She knows the families of most of the 10 people killed in the massacre.

“This is going to take more than a week, more than a month, more than six months,” said Walden, a member of the clergy team at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly Black congregation in Buffalo. “We need long-term solutions and support.”

Walden’s 25-year-old organization is a local chapter of Live Free, a Christian organization that has in recent years focused on preventing community violence, which now has new questions to answer, Walden said, about “the hate that caused this person to come into this community and create such a horrible, violent violation to our community.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Statement Regarding Buffalo Shooting From Mother Emanuel Ame Church In Charleston S.C.

Read it all:

“To my beloved brothers and sisters in Buffalo, New York. It is with a heavy heart that I pen these words to you, your families, and the surrounding community. As the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C., we can relate to your hurt, pain, and anger; the congregation of Mother Emanuel was in the same place almost seven years ago.

For the last six years, I have personally watched how God continued to strengthen our community and I know that He will do the same for yours. However, it does not negate the reality of your pain, and the testimony of the empty seat of your loved ones. Please know that as you mourn, we mourn with you, and will be here for you if you need anything. In closing, I leave you with the following words that are found in Psalm 121 verses one and two, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

May the God of Heaven continue to strengthen you today, tomorrow, and always. In The Strength of The Lord

-Pastor Eric S C Manning

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Sri Lanka protests: Leaders under pressure as anger at economic crisis boils over

Security forces are out in force across Sri Lanka with orders to shoot looters on sight amid continuing protests at the government’s handling of a devastating economic crisis.

Despite a nationwide curfew, there was a second night of arson attacks.

Shops near Colombo were torched, as well as a resort owned by the son of ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The ex-PM is holed up in a naval base after resigning when public fury erupted over fuel and food shortages.

At least nine people have been killed and about 200 injured in unrest since Monday.

Read it all.

Posted in Politics in General, Sri Lanka, Violence

(NPR) Firearm-related homicide rate skyrockets amid stresses of the pandemic, the CDC says

The rate at which Americans were killed in gun homicides leapt by nearly 35% in 2020 to the highest level in more than 25 years, according to new research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Amid the pandemic and recession that followed, gun homicide rates grew most among groups that were already at higher risk, researchers found — including people in poor areas, young men, and Black people.

In 2020, the firearm homicide rate was 6.1 per 100,000 Americans — up from 4.6 a year earlier.

“These findings underscore the importance of comprehensive approaches that can stop violence now and prevent future deaths,” said Dr. Debra Houry, the acting principal deputy director of the CDC.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Violence

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent this weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Addressing survivors and Indigenous elders in Prince Albert on Sunday, the Archbishop said: “I am so sorry that the Church participated in the attempt – the failed attempt, because you rose above it and conquered it – to dehumanise and abuse those we should have embraced as brothers and sisters.”

He added: “I am more than humbled that you are even willing to attempt to listen to this apology, and to let us walk with you on the long journey of renewal and reconciliation.”

The Archbishop is visiting Canada to repent and atone for the Church of England’s legacy of colonialism and the harm done to Indigenous peoples – and to share in the Anglican Church of Canada’s reconciliation work with Indigenous, Inuit and Métis communities.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canada, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(Church Times) Conflict likely to get worse, say Ukrainian church leaders

Churches in Ukraine have advised citizens to be ready for an intensification of Russia’s invasion, as representatives of the Council of Europe condemned the destruction of religious sites, and pressure continued for Russian Orthodox leaders to call for a ceasefire in the two-month war.

“The war that Russia has imposed on us and on the whole world did not begin with missiles and bombs — it began with deception, untruth, and lies,” the head of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany (Dumenko), said in a Sunday homily.

“The Lord is now showing us how we must resist with the testimony of truth. Evil is evil, not just an alternative viewpoint, and war is war, not just some conflict. Rapists, looters, and murderers are criminals, and what they are perpetrating is a genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

Metropolitan Epiphany was speaking as evidence emerged that Russian forces had launched a new offensive along a 300-mile front line in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine. Moscow confirmed on Monday that its shells and missiles had struck more than 1000 targets.

The Metropolitan said that Ukrainians knew from experience that Russia had long concealed “evil plans to restore the tyranny of a rotten, overthrown empire”, and that the divine commandment to love neighbours did not mean “loving the evil they do”.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(Economist) Sudan faces collapse three years after the fall of its dictator

reaking fast at sundown during Ramadan, which started on April 2nd, will not be the usual joyful family occasion for many Sudanese this year. The communal iftar will be blighted by the shortage, and spiralling cost, of wheat and other basics. Some expect this year’s Ramadan to explode into a confrontation between a frustrated, immiserated people and the country’s brutal military regime.

Few Sudanese can remember a time when their country was in such a bleak state. The currency is in free fall, having plunged by more than a quarter since October. Inflation is officially 260%, but probably even higher. Some 9m people (out of a population of about 44m) face “acute hunger”, says the un’s World Food Programme, and this number could double by September. Khartoum, the capital, is rocked by daily anti-regime protests and the often-violent response of the security forces, who have killed about 90 people over the past five months (see chart).

Blame this mess on a military coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in October, which reversed Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy. This had started three years ago after protesters took to the streets to eject Omar al-Bashir, a ruthless Islamist despot who had ruled the country for 30 years.

Read it all.

Posted in Politics in General, Sudan, Violence

(Church Times) Russian atrocities denounced by Ukrainian church leaders

Ukranian church leaders have hardened their tone amid growing evidence of Russian army atrocities in their country.

“As we received good news that the Kyiv region was liberated, we also received horrific footage of civilian killings: it is difficult to explain and understand how the murder of innocent people and children can be justified,” the leader of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany Dumenko, said.

“Today, we heard that the peoples of Holy Russia are peaceful, while we see the ideology of the ‘Russian world’ justifying murder, violence, and war. This ideology must be rejected and condemned, as was the ideology of Nazism.”

The message was published before a speech on Tuesday by President Zelensky to the United Nations Security Council, describing how civilians were shot in the streets, thrown into wells, and crushed by tanks in a list of alleged Russian war crimes.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Orthodox Church, Parish Ministry, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(WSJ) In Ukraine, New Reports of War Crimes Emerge as Russians Retreat From Kyiv Area

More than 100 civilians lay buried in mass graves in this suburb of Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew last week, one of several regions in which Ukrainian officials and independent rights watchdogs say they are uncovering evidence of war crimes perpetrated by occupation forces.

When the Russian military forces abandoned Bucha, it left streets littered with bodies of civilians. Human Rights Watch on Sunday released a report documenting instances of rape and summary executions in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, including Bucha, as well as other alleged crimes.

Ukrainians were finding “people with hands tied behind their back and decapitated… kids who were killed and tortured,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS. “As the father of two children and as a president, I think that these people, if they are put behind bars, this is one too little for what they have done.”

Accounts of purported Russian atrocities set off an outcry from Western governments and added to the persistent pressure on the Biden administration and European allies to do more to tighten sanctions on Russia and step up weapons transfers for Ukraine. They could make it harder for some countries to justify continuing to purchase oil and natural gas from Russia and complicate the peace talks currently under way between Kyiv and Moscow.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(FT Magazine) ‘We packed fast’: those who left Ukraine, in their own words

Anastasia and Sonia arrived from Dnipro in central Ukraine. Hosted by the Świderski family

Anastasia says:
“My sister called me at 6am, February 24, and asked me if I am alive. I was shocked because I didn’t know what was happening at all, I didn’t listen to the news. My daughter was supposed to have a concert in the kindergarten that day, and she’d just woken up. We never watch the news on television, but after she called we turned it on to see what she was talking about. We saw that they started shooting and bombing all over Ukraine. I was shocked and didn’t know how to react. I started crying. We called a relative that has connections with the army and asked what to do, and she said that we have to leave the city.”

Marcin says:
“It was mostly my wife’s initiative [and] when Anastasia came to us, she asked why we are doing this, and it’s hard to explain. It’s something that feels so natural to us. Maybe because of ­historical reasons, that we thought that in the past, as a nation, we were abandoned during the war. So right now we feel this natural solidarity with this other country that is kind of in the same position — that there is an aggressor, and the rest of the world can’t really intervene, or they don’t want to. And I think that this is something that we as Polish people feel quite familiar with . . . There was no calculation. We didn’t even think it through that well.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Poland, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(Church Times) Ukrainians hear note of hope as fighting goes on

Church leaders in Ukraine have begun talking more convincingly about victory over Russian forces.

The Primate of Ukraine’s independent Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphany (Dumenko), told a Kyiv congregation on Sunday: “Although a heavy cross has fallen upon us, we must bear it with dignity, following Christ until we achieve victory — a spiritual victory over the evil brought to our homeland by the Russian aggressor. . .

“By the power of God’s truth and mercy, by the power of our people’s love, sacrifice, and faith, Ukraine — still wounded, tortured, and crucified by its enemies — will be resurrected.”

The Metropolitan preached as Russian forces continued shelling the capital, as well as Kharkiv, Sumy, Mykolaiv, Mariupol, and other cities, despite claims by Moscow last week that it was refocusing its offensive on eastern Ukraine.

He asked: “Have we, as a state and people, done something against Russia which merits this cruelty and murder — did we harbour evil plans against our neighbours, or did we just want to live in our own home as free people?”

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Orthodox Church, Parish Ministry, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(UN) World is seeing the greatest number of conflicts since the end of WWII, U.N. says

Two billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, now lives in conflict-affected areas, according to the United Nations.

An estimated 84 million people were “forcibly displaced because of conflict, violence and human rights violations,” and an estimated 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance due to conflict, the U.N.’s Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday. In remarks to the U.N.’s Peacebuilding Commission, Guterres said the world is experiencing the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945, as World War II drew to a close.

Guterres said the world is grappling with the most conflict since 1945, and proposed a plans to bring stability to places such as Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Sudan and Ukraine.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Violence

(WSJ) In the Rubble of Kharkiv, Survivors Make Their Stand: ‘It’s a War, and It’s a Dirty War’

In the days since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, shelling and airstrikes have killed hundreds of people in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million about 20 miles from the Russian border. Residents spend their days and nights huddled in the subway. Above them, explosions devastate their city.

At least 400 high-rise apartment buildings have been hit, Kharkiv city authorities said. Strikes have damaged the art museum, with its collection of famous Russian painters including Repin and Shishkin, and the Korolenko library, which houses priceless manuscripts.

“Everyone is in shock here,” said Ihor Terekhov, the city mayor. “We used to think of the Russians as our brothers. Even in our worst nightmares, we never imagined that they would destroy our city.”

Russia’s attempt to use rapid thrusts by armored columns and assaults by paratroopers and special forces to seize the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and other cities, overthrowing the country’s government, has stalled in the face of fierce resistance. Now, Moscow is resorting to a punishing, wholesale destruction, shelling and bombing residential neighborhoods and historic downtowns.

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Ukraine, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Church Times) Relief Agencies focus on fleeing Ukrainians, the Largest exodus of refugees in Europe since 1930-45 war

Christian charities and churches are hard at work in Eastern Europe to address the plight of those affected by the war in Ukraine.

More than 2.1 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion on 24 February, according to UN figures on Tuesday, in what is the largest exodus of refugees in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

USPG and the diocese in Europe have put together an emergency appeal to help those caught up in the conflict. Funds are supporting the work of Anglican chaplaincies in neighbouring Poland and Hungary — but also in Western Europe, where many refugees are now arriving.

On Wednesday, the diocese’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Caspari, said that the chaplaincies’ community relationships and cross-continent links meant that they were ideally positioned to support refugees. They have been distributing aid, as well as individual grants.

Read it all.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, England / UK, Europe, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Ukraine, Violence

(Church Times) Ukraine invasion: Church leaders and charities react with horror and dismay

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Bishop in Europe, Dr Robert Innes, wrote on Twitter: “We wake this morning to the sickening sights and sounds of war. Praying for all in Ukraine, for all who are fearful of what lies ahead and for the minimum possible bloodshed.

“At a time of international crisis, please join me in praying fervently for peace in Ukraine and especially for the wellbeing of our little Anglican community of Christ Church, Kyiv (which meets in the German Evangelical Church of St. Catherine’s).”

Bishop Robert co-ordinated an online prayer vigil on Thursday evening, including the Anglican chaplain in Moscow, the Revd Malcolm Rogers, and members of the Anglican community in Kyiv if it safe for them to do so. A further vigil is being organised by the Diocese in Europe on Shrove Tuesday (1 March) at 6 p.m.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said: “This act of aggression impacts very harmfully on a free, democratic European state and on all the nations of Europe. I exhort you to pray for peace with justice for the people of Ukraine.”

In their statement, the Archbishops invited Christians to “make this Sunday a day for prayer for Ukraine, Russia, and for peace”, and also endorsed Pope Francis’s call to make Ash Wednesday (2 March) a global day of fasting and peace for Ukraine.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Ecumenical Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby’s Thought for the Day today

To wake up to the news of war is terrible.

To wake up to its reality is orders of magnitude worse.

Shakespeare refers to war as chaos – the loosing of the dogs of war – and calls for one of his characters to cry out the warning about what it means.

Those in the Ukraine will be thinking about their relatives on the front lines, or the friends on the front lines. We are thinking, where is it going to go next? Politicians are thinking, what do we do?

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

(WSJ) Ukrainian Refugees Head to Poland, Seeking Safety in EU

Hundreds of Ukrainians poured across this usually sleepy border post on Poland’s edge on Thursday, dragging suitcases and bearing looks of disbelief in what European officials described as the first arrivals of a coming wave of refugees.

The crowd, a procession of mostly young parents with small children in tow, was crossing at a border post that ordinarily attracts a trickle of people stepping into the European Union. On Thursday, buses and minivans were crammed into the small parking lot to pick up Ukrainians who described waiting hours to cross the border and find onward transportation.

“It’s pure chaos here. All our buses are full,” said a bus driver, loading up his vehicle, as an argument broke out between two other drivers managing the throng of customers. “This is just the beginning. People are panicking. Most of our customers are women with children and they are very afraid.”

Poland is already home to between one million and two million Ukrainians. In coming weeks, government officials here expect an additional one million Ukrainians to follow.

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Posted in Children, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Violence, Women

(Local Paper front page) Domestic violence in South Carolina cost nearly $360M in 2020 – or $1M a day, study says

The financial cost of domestic violence in South Carolina runs to nearly $1 million a day when you add up the burden put on families, courts, law enforcement and the economy, a study conducted by researchers at the University of South Carolina says.

USC economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen said the spread of domestic violence cost the state approximately $358.4 million in 2020 alone, a sum that victim advocates describe as leaving a “staggering” toll on the state’s health care facilities, businesses, nonprofits and the judicial system.

“Domestic violence does occur in every county in our state,” Von Nessen said Feb. 15 at a Statehouse press conference to discuss details of the findings. “So it is critical for us to make sure that there’s sufficient resources for intervention and support services within reach of all South Carolinians.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, State Government, Violence