We were saddened to learn of an attack on Monday afternoon, April 23, in Toronto, at Yonge and Finch, when a rented Ryder van mounted the sidewalk and plowed down pedestrians for several blocks. The vehicle became a deadly weapon as ten people were killed and another 15 seriously injured; an unprecedented and devastating scene described as “pure carnage.”
Police arrested the driver, Alex Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, shortly after the attack. On Tuesday, he was charged with ten counts of first-degree murder and 13 of attempted murder. This event is the deadliest mass murder in recent Canadian history.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected, as well as to the victims still in the hospital. “We pray for those affected by the recent tragedy in Toronto. Despite the difficulties and how painful the tragedy is, if we lose hope, that is the real disaster,” stated Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Ontario Conference President.
At Ontario Conference, we are reaching out to Mayor John Tory and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders to assure them of our prayers for them and all the men and women in uniform.
Edwards also asked Pastor Daviceto Swaby, the president of the GTA ministerium (association of ministers across the GTA) to find trained chaplains in his region; then offer their support to Sunnybrook’s chaplain in ministering to the needs of victims and their families. He did so, planting seeds for a long-term relationship between the hospital and our pastors.
Over the weekend, some Ontario Conference staff and pastors will be joining in a prayer vigil at Mel Lastman Square on Sunday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. We also had representation at a prayer vigil at Olive Square Park two days ago.
We are calling all members and pastors in Ontario to unite in prayer for the victims of Monday’s tragedy, in their churches and other venues, and look for ways to provide continual support.
In the aftermath of this heart-breaking event, let us remember that we are to be light in a dark world and offer the hope that only a life-changing relationship with Christ can bring.