South Korean church leaders grief-stricken after Seoul stampede tragedy
Christian leaders in South Korea have expressed their shock and grief after over 150 people were killed in a stampede in Seoul over the weekend.
Churches in Korea are asking Christians to pray for the victims and their loved ones.
Many churches took a moment to remember them in their Sunday services.
Rev Young-mo Ryu, of the United Christian Churches of Korea (UCCK), said, "We express our deepest condolences to the victims and their bereaved families in this shocking tragedy. We also pray for the injured to recover as soon as possible.
"I pray that God's comfort will be with the bereaved families who have been grieved, and we express our deepest condolences together with the people of Korea."
Pastor Song Tae-seop, the Communion of Churches in Korea (CCIK), said it was all the more tragic that many of the victims were in their teens and 20s.
"I can't believe how such a terrible disaster could happen in the middle of Seoul in the 21st century," said Han Gyo-yeon.
He called for "comprehensive and systematic" safety measures to be put in place.
The tragedy unfolded during Halloween festivities in the Itaewon district of the South Korean capital, an area that is known for its nightlife. At least 154 people have died and a further 82 were injured.
President Yoon Suk-yeol has called for an investigation into the cause of the disaster and declared a period of national mourning.
Rev Soon-chang Lee, chairman of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), said lessons must be learnt to ensure the tragedy does not happen again.
He urged the government to ensure that families are supported and asked churches to pray for the injured and bereaved.
CORRECTION: The original article published on 31/10/2022 incorrectly stated that Pastor Song Tae-seop belonged to the United Christian Churches of Korea. This has been corrected to state that he belongs to the Communion of Churches in Korea (CCIK).