From Brussels

Thirty-two people were killed and over three hundred injured in bombings at the Brussels Airport and on a rush-hour metro train in the city center. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks. Brussels was already on high alert after a key suspect in November’s Paris attacks was captured in Brussels the week before.

Our church was also impacted by these events: one of our members lost a friend and another’s colleague is in a coma. Some among us have a relative or friend who was wounded during the attacks. As we look back on the weeks that followed the events, we realize how heavy psychologically and spiritually that period was for a part of our church community.

Speaking Up as a Church

The Church as a whole in Brussels has remained pretty discrete after what happened. Maybe it is related to the fact that it requires a certain spiritual vitality and energy in order to say something in the public sphere. Maybe it is because many evangelical Christians in Brussels lack a well-developed theology that could serve as a foundation for the Church’s public action. When the time comes to say something publicly about such events, the default mode is to remain silent.

The attacks took place during Holy Week and we adapted our Easter service as well as the following weeks’ program in order to address the specific needs of our congregation. Surprisingly, it seems that attendance to worship services in the different churches of Brussels did not increase during the weeks following the events. This has been our experience as well.

Four weeks after the attacks, we organized a small conference in our facilities. A member of our church who is a specialist in political sciences offered a Christian perspective about a number of issues related to what happened, such as terrorism, pluralism and religious freedom. We had invited one of Molenbeek’s politicians who reacted to the talk and shared some thoughts during a short debate with Q&A. (N.B.: Molenbeek is a municipality in Brussels which gained a reputation for being a safe haven for Jihadists.)

Life is now returning to normal for Brusselites, even though the city has to deal with a number of important consequences of the events.

Please continue to join us prayer for our ministry.