Blog Post

London Churches Pray for End of Violence

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist As the city of London experienced yet another night of deadly violence, Christian churches of all denominations are banding together to pray for an end to the riots and to bring comfort to the victims. According to the Christian Post, a peace vigil was held on Monday night at a church in Tottenham, which is the epicenter of the violence. Held at The High Cross church, the event was organized by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church as well as Pentecostal and other independent churches. The vigil consisted of prayers with and for the community, and addresses from faith leaders meant to inspire hope amidst the continuing horrors of nightly riots that have left several dead and dozens of buildings destroyed. The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster condemned the violence and pleaded for prayer for all involved, both victims and perpetrators. “The scenes of the last few nights in parts of London and elsewhere are shocking. The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned. They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside," he said. "I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those parents who are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft.” His remarks were echoed by the Rt. Rev. Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton. "These events cannot be allowed to define the Tottenham we know and love. Many of us have worked in this community for many years and we know the loving, generous and openhearted people with whom we share our daily lives are not the rioters who have destroyed so much." He insisted that the events of the past week would not dampen the hope of the community. “What has happened will not conquer the hope which is set before us. We will continue to share that hope with our neighbors and friends as we move to rebuild in Tottenham.” Many churches are also pitching in to help those who have been impacted by the violence. For instance, St. Mary the Virgin Church in Tottenham is providing support for those whose homes or businesses were affected and are providing meals, hot water and phone charging facilities for those who have been left without electricity. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected, including those who have been made homeless and local business owners whose livelihoods have been threatened,” the bishop added. “Together, our churches already run a multitude of activities supporting all members of the community, irrespective of their faith, and these efforts will be continued and where possible extended.” The Evangelical Alliance is also calling on Christians throughout the country to join together in a prayer for peace every night at 7:00 p.m. "Prayer changes things and as Christians we are called to pray on behalf of our nation," said Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance. "Christians are present on the street and participating in the clear-up, by offering encouragement and support to the emergency services and their neighbors while praying for peace." The Alliance's website is offering many suggestions for what Christians can do to help, such as bringing food and baked goods to local police and firefighters who are working around the clock to stop the violence. They're also asking people to lend a hand at any community clean-up efforts, befriend those who are frightened, buy goods from stores that have been impacted by looting as a show of support, and even visit rioters who have been incarcerated to speak the word of God to them.  The list ends with a suggestion: "Think about inviting someone you know to a church or prayer service this weekend - it may be exactly what they're looking for." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®