|The Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference and Vice-President, Rachel Lampard, have responded to last night’s attack in Manchester. Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Peter Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District, have written a prayer. Youth President, Tim Annan, has also released a statement.
We are appalled by the horrific bombing at the Manchester Arena. We pray for the families of those who have been killed or who are injured, and for those, many of whom will be young, who have been scarred and scared by what they have witnessed.
We give thanks for the emergency services and for the many ordinary people who demonstrated compassion in responding to those caught up in the tragedy. We ask the Methodist people to hold the people of Manchester and beyond in their prayers as we remember the words of Psalm 34, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
From Andrew Lunn, Chair of Manchester and Stockport District, and Paul Martin, Chair of Bolton and Rochdale District of the Methodist Church:
In the face of the violent and deadly attack at the Manchester Arena last night, the Methodist people in Manchester are united with many others in their sense of shock, and in their prayers for all those who have been bereaved, wounded, or traumatised.
As we seek to respond to this terrible event we are grateful for those who have affirmed that, so far as it is possible, we will not let this attack change our daily lives. Some people have been tweeting using the hashtag #WeAreNotAfraid – in this way those who are stronger support those who feel the weight of anxiety, pain and fear.
Among the stories beginning to emerge there are many about the ways people have sought to help others: providing safe places, or lifts home, or passing on messages to help those who were separated find each other. It is through such small acts that we reaffirm our commitment to one another. Every such act makes a stand against violence and fear.
In a diverse city one thing we can be sure of is that people in Manchester will not let this event divide us.
Manchester is the home of a movement called We Stand Together (#WeStandTogether), in which people of many different faiths and backgrounds recognise that we find strength in our common humanity.
We are deeply grateful for the many assurances of prayer which we have received from around the country.
God of compassion and mercy,
In fear and anxiety, strengthen us.
Console those who carry a burden of loss, injury, or trauma and empower all who support them.
We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
From Tim Annan, Youth President of the Methodist Church:
It’s hard to look at the images and stories coming out of Manchester today and not feel rage at this horrific act of violence against people; all of whom were just going to live life to its fullest.
Lives have been irreconcilably changed last night. An empty seat at the table. A smile and warm embrace; now missing. We stand with all those who grieve this morning, in our thoughts and prayers. Holding the pain with the anger.
Yet, in the face of the anger, confusion and grief, the response of the people of Manchester was love and compassion. From the emergency services responding quickly and effectively, to the many people who opened up their homes to those who needed a place to stay, to cab drivers transporting distraught people for free to a place to rest. Even at the darkest moment, humanity, compassion and hope shone through.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen, but don’t give in to anger or fear. Know that you are surrounded by God’s love.