Molotov Bomb Thrown into Congregation In Chile
Community Discussion on Upcoming Referendum
(LWI) - On 27 February, the Congregation La Paz of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH) was the victim of an attack during a discussion of an upcoming referendum on reforming the national Constitution of Chile.
A presentation from a community spokesperson was interrupted by a Molotov bomb crashing through a window and into the group of families, children and elderly people. Approximately 150 people were present. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no fires were started from the device thrown by two unidentified suspects.
A referendum is due to take place on 26 April 2020, asking voters whether and how they would like a new constitution to be drafted. This is in response to protests and violence ignited last year in the streets of the Chilean capital Santiago against rising costs of living and increased inequality.
Remain Open and In Conversation
Rev. Marco Garrido Espinoza, pastor of the IELCH said that the attack was intended to create fear, but did not disrupt conversations meant to “demonstrate the desire to sit down together and work for the common good.”
In a pastoral letter to the Congregation La Paz, IELCH Bishop Izani Bruch wrote, “Brothers and sisters, have no fear in this historic moment of our country. Be a faithful church, give your testimony and service and hope despite all hopelessness.” The bishop encouraged the congregation to continue being an open place of dialogue and remain in solidarity with the community, remembering that part of the Protestant tradition of IELCH is to promote liberation.
The Lutheran World Federation General Secretary, Rev. Dr Martin Junge who is himself from Chile, sent the congregation a pastoral letter calling "upon the church to remain steadfast in the rejection of violence while the country seeks to lay the foundation for a conviviality that is based on justice, in which all people have access to their rights and their dignity is respected.”