Brooklynites came together to mourn and show solidarity at the Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George in Dyker Heights, following the bombings of two Egyptian churches on Sunday, April 9, Palm Sunday.
Elected officials, members of the community, officers from the 68th Precinct and church leaders gathered at the place of worship to offer words of comfort during the vigil for the dozens of people that were killing during the act of terror.
“Forty four innocent lives were taken, and there were over 100 injuries, but what happened on Palm Sunday was not unique,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “The Christian Coptic Church has long been the target of those radical individuals who want to spread fear and hatred. I cannot help but to think about the passage ‘As I forgive those who trespass against you.’
“Those who want to spread hate want us to also be reciprocal in our hate,” he added. “This pain and despair will turn into purpose. This Holy Week, as we acknowledge the rise of our Lord, let us too roll back the stones of hate, decay and violence. And let’s rise in our spirits and energy and continue to pray for peace and humanity.”
“When we see the bombings we saw this past Sunday in Egypt and the gassing of children in Syria and the beheading of people as a matter of course in a terrorist playbook, those events go to confirm that there is evil in this world,” added Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “But as we gather as we do today in this vigil in this beautiful sanctuary and worship God and pray for those who were victims this past Sunday, when we do that here in Brooklyn, we attest to the fact that God is still in this world. Good triumphs over evil.”
Reverend Terry Lee was also on hand to offer comfort. “We are here to let you know that you are not alone and I feel the pain with you. Your tears are my tears,” he said, recalling the arson in 2014 that burned down the Byways and Hedges Church. “When I hear about an attack against church and faith, it brings memories of when my church was set on fire right here in Brooklyn. In times like these, we need to pray. We cannot fight the spirit of evil with a bomb.”
“We want to bring awareness to the people in Egypt,” Father Luke Awad told this paper. “We feel their sorrow and their presence. Everyone here today makes us feel solidarity and we appreciate that.”
Brooklyn’s diversity is its strength, added Adams. “Nothing encourages me more than when I look over to my right and see a group of young men who are our future and they are what is great about humanity,” he said. “They plant the seeds of hope and prosperity that will resonate throughout the entire city and country. Brooklyn will lead the way.”
The Coptic Orthodox Church of St. George is located at 1105 67th Street.