We are living through a time of deep grief and disorientation. In the wake of the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and the despicable attack on police in the midst of a peaceful protest in Dallas, we have witnessed the horrific attack on Thursday night in Nice, France. The shock and grief of this moment has been particularly felt by our group here in France. We are grieving for all affected, and feeling a particular connection through two of our colleagues on the course who are from France—one of them from Nice and the other one from Paris. On Friday, the day after the attack in Nice, we were at the Grande Mosque in Paris. Close to half of our group is Muslim. The sorrow of that community was palpable, and made even more complex as they find themselves needing to be on the defensive for the acts of an individual who by no means represents their faith tradition.
Another course participant is a journalist from Turkey. Therefore we are also praying and watching with her as news of the attempted coup and its aftermath are reported.
We will continue with our course schedule while remaining cautious. This coming week we are traveling to Calais in the north of France, to visit one of the largest refugee camps in the country. The critical nature of the conversation we are engaged in, particularly the need for our deeper understanding as leaders of the connections between border, faith, and identity, has only become clearer to us.
We ask for your prayers for our group as our course continues.