Norway Salvation Army provides comfort and support

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Lighting a candle of remembrance in Oslo (photo by Birgit Fosen).

Salvation Army officers in Oslo coordinated a response to meet emotional and spiritual needs following the bomb blast in the capital on July 22 and the subsequent shooting incident on the island of Utøya. Seventy-six people are said to have died in the two attacks, with hundreds more injured or otherwise affected.

“Our thoughts and prayers go to those who have lost family members and friends, and we will also continue in prayer for those who have been injured,” said Norway Territorial Commander Commissioner Clive Adams. Letters of condolence have been sent to His Majesty King Harald and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

The Salvation Army’s territorial headquarters for Norway is in close proximity to the buildings most affected by the explosion, but no injuries were sustained by staff and the building was undamaged. In cooperation with the police, the headquarters was opened to the local community as a refuge before the whole central business area was evacuated on the evening of July 22.

On July 23, Colonel Jan Peder Fosen, chief secretary in Norway, prayed with other church leaders in Oslo Cathedral before meeting with Salvation Army leaders to discuss the ongoing response.

Salvationists were asked – by email and the web – to wear their uniforms on July 24 to provide a visible presence on the streets. Messages of appreciation have already been contributed to The Salvation Army’s Norwegian Facebook page, such as “Thank you for opening the doors … it is not easy to be alone now.”

In addition, Salvation Army centers in and around Oslo were opened specifically for prayer and a special service was held at The Salvation Army’s Oslo Temple, attended by senior Salvation Army leaders.

From an International News Release.

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