The West

Grieving family pray for Ukraine peace

As Albany's close-knit Dutch community grappled with the loss of two of their own, the pastor of the church that was their lifeblood spoke of the "long road" of grief that lay ahead.

Arjen and Yvonne Ryder were returning from the holiday of a lifetime when MH17 was shot down over a separatist-held area of Ukraine last week.

Yesterday, at a sombre service at the Free Reformed Church in Albany where the Ryders practised, the Rev. Hendrick Alkema said it was almost impossible to make sense of such an "unspeakable" loss.

Praying for the Ryders' children Robyn, 30, Drew, 26, and Tiffany, 24, as well as their extended circle of family and friends, Mr Alkema urged the congregation to take solace from their faith.

The well-liked couple, who were also grandparents, were lifelong and devout members of the church.

Mrs Ryder was a teacher's aide at the associated John Calvin Primary School, while Mr Ryder was a deacon at the church who routinely did civic and charitable work.

"This is a time of intense suffering," Mr Alkema said.

"What a shock this is.

"I think we can say that the impossible, the incomprehensible, has happened.

"Moving on is not simple. It's not a short process.

"There will be a lot of pain and suffering in the family as the shock wears off and reality sets in."

Mr Ryder's brother Drew told CNN on Saturday that the family was not interested in retribution from those behind the attack on MH17.

"Our entire family, we're all strong Christians, our faith is very important to us and part of that faith tradition says that we should forgive those that have wronged us," Mr Ryder said.

"It's not important for us to go after those people."

The comments were echoed by the Ryders' children, who told Channel 7 that though their parents would be sorely missed, they would not be motivated by revenge.

"Rather, we would request that peace be found in Ukraine and our prayers go out to all the people involved," they said.

The West Australian

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