02.02.15 | Press Reports, News

EMS Community Mourns For Slaughtered Japanese Journalists

Kenji Goto Belonged to a Tokyo Congregation of the United Church of Christ in Japan

The EMS Community reacts with shock and dismay at the brutal slaughter of the Japanese journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State. He and his colleague Haruna Yakawa will be long remembered. Reverend Marianne Wagner, Chair of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), extends feelings of compassion to the Church in Japan, "Like all people of good will, we are deeply distressed by the barbaric execution of the Japanese hostages abducted by the so called "Islamic State". We mourn for these courageous journalists and pray for them and their families as we do for all those afflicted by terroristic groups pretending to fight in the name of Islam. We share in the anguish and the pain of the journalists' families."

Goto, the second Japanese journalist to be executed, belonged to a Tokyo congregation of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ). The UCCJ is itself a member of the EMS International Community." The slaughter of Kenji Goto is thus the slaughter of a member of our community", Wagner explains. Goto became a Christian in 1997. He went to Syria in October 2014 to achieve the release of his colleague Haruna Yukawa.

"We take comfort in the deep wisdom of Paul´s 2nd Letter to the Corinthians", adds EMS General Secretary Jürgen Reichel. "With the apostle we confess that 'God´s power is made perfect in weakness'" (II Cor. 12:9). As Protestant Christians, we rely solely on the power of the word, renouncing violence committed in the name of the Lord. We live by the confession of our faith, by prayer and by the proclaimed word of God. We stand for freedom of speech. For this reason, we recently posted both "Je suis Charlie" and the Arabic letter "Nun" at the entrance of our building in Stuttgart. "Nun" has become the symbol with which people in the Middle East express their solidarity with Christians suffering from persecution. The freedoms of religion and speech are currently under attack all over the world."

"Goto Kenji combined in his person what EMS stands for: Believing and confessing as a Christian, calling injustice by name and working in solidarity with our neighbors. May the example he set and his colleague Haruna Yukawa long live in the collective memory of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity."