Church leaders offer prayers after deadly attack in Westminster

Published March 23, 2017

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says a prayer for London live on Facebook March 23.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and leaders of the Church of England have offered prayers for those affected by the March 22 attack in Westminster which left four people dead and many injured. The attacker mowed down pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a plainclothes policeman before he was shot by armed officers. Shortly after the attack Welby tweeted: “Deeply shocked and saddened by events in Westminster.

The next day, Welby delivered a speech in the House of Lords saying that although “much shock has been experienced,” the “deep values” that British people share will give them “the strength to persevere.”

The Church of England issues a Collect for Peace, led by Archbishop of York John Sentamu in a video.

The bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, is the duty bishop in the House of Lords this week and was in Parliament at the time of the attack. He led prayers in the House of Lords today for all those affected. In the aftermath of the violence, he was part of a huge throng of people evacuated from Parliament and taken over the road to Westminster Abbey where they were kept for several hours. “Westminster Abbey swung into action and showed not only pastoral care (and prayer), but also the hospitality that characterises such places,” he said. “Parliamentarians, visitors and officials – more than 1,000 of us – used the time to talk and wait and conduct the sort of human relationships that defy the chaos that some would wish to reap. People around Westminster showed courage and compassion, helping the injured and dying on the bridge, holding those whose life had been horribly changed for ever.”

Baines offered his reflections on the tragedy in a broadcast earlier on BBC Radio and in a newspaper article.

The bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, said: “We weep with those affected at Westminster and offer heartfelt prayers for the injured, emergency services and all who work there.” The Bishop of Ely, Stephen Conway, who was in Parliament earlier in the day, posted: “Prayers for all affected by #Westminster attack, praise for dedicated emergency services and police and resolve to work for unity and peace.” The Dean of Westminster, John Hall, tweeted: “I was glad to offer a prayer @wabbey when everyone had come across from the Palace of Westminster for all involved & those injured & killed.”

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom issued a statement in which he said: “This and similar acts are meant to dishearten and defeat us; they are meant to take away our resolve and aim to lead us into a spiral of revenge. Despite evocative attempts to corrupt our hearts to hatred, we on the contrary have seen acts of unwavering selflessness, sacrifice and compassion.”

A representative of the Presiding Bishop of the US based Episcopal Church, Canon Chuck Robertson said :”Our prayers are with you all today.”


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