17 April 2015

Cologne CathedralTHE Salvation Army was represented at the memorial service in Cologne Cathedral, Germany, for passengers and crew who died when Germanwings Flight 4U9525 crashed in the French Alps on 24 March. A total of 150 passengers and crew members lost their lives in the crash which – according to the first evidence – appears to have been caused deliberately by the 27-year-old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz.

Shortly after hearing about the crash, The Salvation Army offered its help to the crisis centre at Düsseldorf Airport – the plane's intended destination from Barcelona – and appealed for prayers for the families of the victims and for the aid workers.

Around 500 relatives of the crash victims were among the 1,400-strong congregation, which also included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister-President Hannelore Kraft, as well as the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, the French Minister of State, Alain Vidalies, and 50 German and French workers.

German President Joachim Gauck told the congregation that Germany was still coming to terms with the 'enormous shock' of the disaster. 'We face not only sadness and pain,' he added, 'but also the horror of peering into the abyss inside the human soul, even inside our human existence itself.'

The ecumenical service was arranged by the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, and the Praeses of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, Annette Kurschus. Organisers had arranged for 150 lit candles to be placed in the church, one for every person that lost his or her life – including the co-pilot.

The Salvation Army was represented by Colonels Patrick and Anne-Dore Naud, territorial leaders of The Salvation Army in Germany, Lithuania and Poland. ‘We felt that it was important to express our condolences by our presence,' says Colonel Patrick Naud, 'and to make it clear that The Salvation Army supports the families of the victims and is praying for them.'

Report by Andreas Quiring
Director of Communication and Marketing
Germany and Lithuania Territory

Photo © Wikimedia, WDWensky, Lizenz CC BY-SA 3.0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:K%C3%B6lner_Dom,_Fassade_5.jpg

Tags: Europe, Events