Christians urged not to give into fear after Indonesia bombings

Christians should stay calm and keep going to church, was the plea by the head of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) on Sunday after a series of coordinated suicide bombings on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city.

“I urge all church members to continue to carry out daily life activities, still carry out worship as usual without having to be gripped by fear. We surrender everything to the shelter of God while entrusting the forms of security to the security forces concerned,” said General Secretary of PGI, Rev Gomar Gultom, in a press release.

“Our duty as a church to bring a sense of peace, a love for humanity, must be maintained in combating the acts of violence and terrorism that is developing today,” Gultom said.

At least 13 people died in the bombings on Sunday, which Indonesian police say were conducted by six suicide bombers from one family. The BBC reported that a mother and two daughters (aged nine and 12) blew themselves up at Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church. The father drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church while his two teenaged sons targeted the Santa Maria Catholic Church on motorcycles carrying explosives. Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attacks.

All churches in Surabaya were closed soon after the attacks.

Glenn Nathaniel Kaonang, 27, attends Gereja Baptis Indonesia Immanuel, about 5km from the churches that were attacked. He told Eternity his church was closed by police soon after news of the bombings hit social media.

Kaonang says that despite the attacks, he’ll still be at church next Sunday.

“I think the majority of the regulars of the targeted church[es] would still go next week,” he added.