Oslo, Norway – Salvation Army officers in Oslo have coordinated a response to meet emotional and spiritual needs following the bomb blast in the capital on Friday July 22nd and the subsequent shooting incident on the island of Utøya. More than 90 people are known 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 the head of The Salvation Army in Norway, Territorial Commander 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 up to the local community as a refuge before the whole central business area was evacuated at 6:15pm.
On Saturday 23 July, Colonel Jan Peder Fosen (Chief Secretary for Norway) prayed with other church leaders in Oslo Cathedral before meeting with Salvation Army leaders to discuss the ongoing response.
Sunday will be a time of prayer and reflection for the people of Norway and Salvationists have been asked – by email and the web – to wear their uniforms in order to provide a visible presence on the streets. As they come to terms with what has happened, many members of the community want to talk about their experiences with someone they can trust. 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 will be specifically opened for prayer and a special service will be held at The Salvation Army’s Oslo Templet (church), attended by senior Salvation Army leaders.