Christian leaders in France are calling for peace in the midst of terror after three people were killed at a church on Thursday.
“Let us be peacemakers in a French society that lacks it. Pray for our fellow citizens, whatever their religion. Let us love our neighbours, as Jesus ordered us to do,” the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) said in a tweet on Thursday. The council also quoted Jesus' words in Matthew 5:9, which says "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
Soyons artisans de paix dans une société française qui en manque.— Romain CHOISNET (@comcnef) October 29, 2020
Prions pour nos concitoyens, quelque soit leur religion.
Aimons nos prochain, comme Jésus nous en a donné l'ordre.
"Heureux ceux qui procurent la paix, car ils seront appelés fils de Dieu !" La Bible, Mat 5.9 https://t.co/CwAkpqeohm
The attack took place at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France. Police have since closed all churches in the country as threats of more violence persist. It was the third attack carried out by religious extremists in the country in the last two months.
"May God console the hearts of bereaved families," said Thierry Le Gall, a pastor and director of the CNEF Pastoral Service to Parliamentarians. "Let us pray for our Nation, the police forces and unite against barbarism, for freedom of religion and expression."
In another tweet he says, "Evangelical Protestants wish to be peacemakers in France, actively contributing through their actions, their words and their prayers to a real and peaceful coexistence."
Les protestants évangéliques souhaitent être des artisans de paix en France, contribuant activement par leurs actes, leurs paroles et leurs prières à un vivre-ensemble réel et apaisé. https://t.co/ccMnQzjNDh— Thierry LE GALL (@spparlementaire) October 29, 2020
Christianity Today and the Associated Press reports that "French Roman Catholic sites have been ferociously and repeatedly targeted by extremists in recent years, including the killing of Jacques Hamel, who had his throat slit while celebrating Mass in his Normandy church by Islamic militants and a plot to bomb Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral."
The perpetrator of Thursday's attack was reportedly shot by police but is alive, according to the mayor of Nice.
Security is heightened at churches across the country, with French police standing guard at many sites.