Ten days after the shooting at a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg, the victims are to be commemorated on Sunday in the main church of St. Petri. The ecumenical commemoration is about “giving space to mourning, giving comfort and care,” said the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany and the Archdiocese of Hamburg on Wednesday, who are organizing the event together with the Working Group of Christian Churches. The community of Jehovah’s Witnesses had been invited to the service.

The commemoration should not and cannot replace a funeral service for Jehovah’s Witnesses, it said. That is why Bishop Kirsten Fehrs and Archbishop Stefan Hess would pray for the victims, the injured, their families, the helpers, rescuers, police officers and firefighters during the commemoration. Hesse said: “I mourn with the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the people who have been killed, even if I do not share their faith. The inhuman act of violence last Thursday shook the whole of Hamburg and left many people stunned and sad. In this situation, it is good to stand together, to voice our concerns and, above all, to pray together and across denominations for peace and peaceful coexistence.” Fehrs said that the commemoration should not and cannot replace a funeral service for Jehovah’s Witnesses. But the Christian churches would know the tradition of intercession for others.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses reject worship services in the manner of the main churches. Michael Tsifidaris, the Hamburg spokesman for the religious community, was outraged on Tuesday that neither the community nor the relatives of the victims were involved in the planning. They now want to organize their own funeral service and expect the support of the city. They are also irritated that, despite the information in an anonymous letter, no warning was sent to the community and that apparently a lack of depth of research meant that the crime could not possibly have been prevented in advance.

What is meant by this is the search by officials of the control authority for a book that the perpetrator Philipp F. had published in December and which was referred to in an anonymous letter to the weapons authority. In this work, anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist theses were represented. According to Hamburg’s Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD), it would probably have been enough to initiate a procedure to revoke the gun owner’s license.