Geneva, 6 May 2024

“Though the mountains may fall and the hills turn to dust, yet the love of the Lord will stand.”—Isa. 54:10

With all my colleagues and indeed the whole global fellowship of churches, I wish to send my deepest sympathy to you and pledge our continued solidarity with the people and churches of Southern Brazil as you endure this latest catastrophic flooding, loss of life, and widespread destruction of homes, roads, and bridges.

Even from afar, we see the immense scale and devastation caused by the massive flooding and landslides of this week’s storms. Tens of thousands are now without clean water or electricity, and tens of thousands more are displaced from their homes entirely. Dozens of people have lost their lives, while others are still missing.

Beyond the numbers, we feel the widespread suffering, horrible loss, crippling uncertainty, and deep grief experienced by Brazilians across the region. We grieve with you, and we pledge our deep solidarity, praying and working alongside Brazil’s churches and relief agencies to alleviate the suffering and restore order.

Porto Alegre and the region and its churches are close to our hearts, since the whole World Council of Churches met there for its 9th Assembly in 2006.

When such a disaster strikes and our hearts are broken, we naturally ask where God is in these circumstances. Let us know that such disasters are not part of “God’s plan.” The God of Life’s intent is for the flourishing of life and justice and well-being of all. God’s love and presence are always and everywhere with us and for us. We Christians know that in fact God so closely identifies with humanity as to suffer with us, always beckoning us toward more abundant life, embracing each of us through suffering and even death, resurrecting us into new life. As Isaiah continues, "My covenant of peace shall not be removed” (Isa. 54:10).

May the Lord of Life bring you consolation and solace, courage, and strength, as you unite to

overcome the tragedy and chaos of these days and build your new life together. Our thoughts, payers and support are with you at this time during these very difficult days.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay
General Secretary
World Council of Churches