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South Pacific Division President Responds to New Zealand Mosque Shooting


Forty-nine people are dead and at least 48 more injured, including young children, following shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, March 15, 2019. The shootings took place around midday prayer at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque.

The gunman, who is in his late 20s, has been arrested and charged with murder. According to reports, a white supremacist manifesto appeared online just minutes before the attack began. Seventeen minutes of video were live-streamed to Facebook from a camera apparently worn by the gunman before Facebook shut down the account.

In a Facebook post from his official account, Glenn Townend, president of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists, stated:

The whole of the SPD is saddened to hear of the unnecessary loss of life in Christchurch NZ today with the shootings in two mosques. Religious freedom is valued by all Seventh-day Adventists and to have one’s life cut short while worshipping is almost unimaginable. I ask all Seventh-day Adventists to pray for the victims and their families and stand in solidarity for the freedom to worship when, how and who you choose.

The South New Zealand Conference, which is located in Christchurch, posted a message to its Facebook page as well, requesting that local churches throughout the conference make time for prayer on Sabbath for those affected. “Jesus stated that His house would be a house of prayer. We hold onto Jesus and His Word in times like these.”

Similar calls for prayer and condolences were posted by the North New Zealand Conference and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia as well.


Notes & References:

New Zealand Shooting Live Updates: 49 Are Dead After 2 Mosques Are Hit,” New York Times

Christchurch Mosque Shootings Were Partly Streamed on Facebook,” New York Times

Latest reaction to NZ mosque attacks,” BBC News


Alisa Williams is managing editor of



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