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A Church Without Stones

Amidst the Growing Rancor, Words of Wisdom and Conciliation From James Castle, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia.


Bali News:
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(9/17/2001)

On September 14, 2001, Mr. James Castle, President, The American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AMCHAM), spoke at an inter-denominational memorial service held in Jakarta in remembrance of those who died in the terrorist attacks in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania.

Bali Discovery Tours, with the kind permission of Mr. Castle, shares his comments with our readers as we feel they offer a refreshing counterpoint to those who would use recent event to divide rather than unite our community; those who "love to hate" and "hate to love."

Mr. Castle's remarks:

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the AmCham let me thank you for coming to today’s memorial service.

Let me welcome and thank Rev. Andrew Lake, Vicar of all Saints Anglican Episcopal Church, Father Binzler of the Catholic Church and Imam Bukhari Daud and his fellow Imams who are with us today. They will lead us through today’s service.

Before turning the program over to Rev. Lake, I would like to read you part of a message I have sent too many times in the last 60 hours, then add a few remarks.

All of us in the international community have so many friends and colleagues in New York and Washington that have been touched by this tragedy. We all want to reach out and touch each other in this difficult hour. The thoughts and prayers of all of us in Jakarta are with you.

We are thankful for our relatives, friends, colleagues and fellow citizens who are safe. And we grieve for those who are not. We offer our deepest condolences and special prayers for those who have lost loved ones or who have suffered injury. At moments like this we truly understand what binds us together.

With our strongest support and hope.

AmCham Indonesia


The great Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore has written:

"While God waits for his church to be built of love, man brings stones."

As I look around the room I see many friends and acquaintances. I see people I know to be Moslems, Christians, Jews. I see people of many faiths. I see people who may embrace no particular faith.

I see a community. I see a fellowship. I see a temple, a mosque, a synagogue, a church. I see no stones.

I look around the room I see Asians, I see Europeans, I see North Americans.

I see a community. I see a fellowship. I see a church. I see no stones.

I see a community gathered together in fellowship, love and support. I see no stones.

Whatever hatred drove the attacks on Washington and New York, and whatever hatred will be expressed in the response and the retaliation, it is my fervent hope and prayer that this fellowship, this community, this spirit we see here today, and which I am sure is being demonstrated in many places around the world, prevails.

What happened in New York and Washington 60 hours ago was a tragedy that took place in America, but it was not an American tragedy.

New York, in particular, is truly a global city. And many of those working in the buildings that were attacked were not Americans. I saw on the television this morning an Australian official saying there were still a number of Australians unaccounted for. I happen to know people in Fuji Bank in Jakarta. They had an office in the World Trade Center that included 12 Japanese. They are all missing. And we know that at least one Indonesian was lost.

This was a global tragedy. It was an attack on people of all nations who were participating, supporting and indeed creating the great growth in freedom and economic prosperity that the world, despite all of the poverty and suffering that endures, has generated in the last 50 years. It was an attack by people who want to establish governments and creeds that are controlling, restrictive and oppressive. It was an attack by people who cannot abide openness, freedom of choice and change that they do not control. Those that perpetrated the attack may have been thinking they were attacking the United States, but they weren’t. They were attacking the progress and growth of others in which they do not share because of their own personal failings. Not because of their culture or our culture, not because of their religion or our religion but because of their own personal failings.

What they were attacking was a community of fellowship, a spirit. What they were attacking was, in fact, a church. A church of the human spirit where people from all nations and all walks of life gather together, work together, live together, strive and struggle together to make a better life, a better global society, a more equal society and more integrated society, a more responsive, a more just and prosperous society. They attacked a church. They just didn't know it because they didn't see any crosses, or minarets or Stars of David or statues of Buddha. They didn't know it, because they didn't see any stones. Because they're the kind of people who bring stones and only accept the stones of selfishness, exclusion and control.

They have attacked us all.

We gather here today to honor those who have fallen and those who grieve lost loved ones.

In doing so, we honor a global church without stones. It is a church which will not merely endure.

It is a church that will prevail.


More information: Send Mr. Castle an E-mail

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