23 May 2017

Statement and prayer following Manchester attack

From the Revd Dr Roger Walton, President of the Methodist Conference, and Rachel Lampard, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference

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 Bolton and Rochdale District

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,
amidst the pain and trauma of this day we turn to you,
for through Christ crucified we know that you have taken to heart the suffering of our people.

In fear and anxiety, strengthen us.
In despair and pain, comfort us.
In incomprehension and anger, reassure us that your love and life are stronger than the hatred and violence which overshadows our city today.

Console those who carry a burden of loss, injury, or trauma and empower all who support them.
Strengthen all who seek to stand together in peace and unity.

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.

From Alison Ransome, North West & Mann learning & development coordinator,  on behalf of the Methodist Church Learning & Development Network  

We stand with all the people of Manchester as we travel to work and school today around this region. We stand in unity and hope with all our neighbours in Manchester.

We weep with God today for the tragic loss of life and wounding of innocent young women and their families and friends.

We join with people this morning at the cordon offering all we can to help and we remember the words of scripture that "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it", and the words of a poem by Thomas Moore "Darkness shows us worlds of light we never saw by day". We see this light shining brightly in all the people of Manchester today, who in words of a taxi driver "are like glue - we stick together" and we offer our prayers.

From the six Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE)

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those bereaved and injured by the cruel, senseless terrorist attack in Manchester. May God grant them strength and courage.

Our faith teaches us that even the worst of evils can never defeat love, so we pray that the people of Manchester, of all faiths and none, will discover a renewed unity as they respond to this atrocity with compassion, dignity and hope.

From Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church

Shocked by the news from Manchester. Targeting children and youth is so sick and my prayers are with the people in Manchester and of course our friends in the Methodist Church in Britain. We have a big staff event today and we will have a moment of silence and solidarity for the victims.

May we fight violence and hatred everywhere and overcome evil with love. There is no other way. Thank you for your partnership. 

From Bishop Sifredo Teixeira, the Methodist Church in Portugal

I am sending you this email after hearing the very bad and sad news about the many people killed and injured in the suicide attack that took place at Manchester Arena, and the many young people affected.

The Portuguese Methodist Church is praying for all those who are suffering, for all those that are helping, for all the British churches involved in helping and for all those that have to take decisions and actions to help the world be a better and peaceful place.

In these occasions we are led to hear the words coming from the Holy Scriptures like the ones said by the Apostle Paul: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39.

May the peace of Jesus, the peace that the world cannot give, be with you, with the British Methodist Church and with all that are affected with what happened in Manchester.

From your brother in Jesus, representing the Methodist Church in Portugal. 

From Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, Evangelical Methodist Church, United Methodist Church, Germany

Dear friends from the Methodist Church in Great Britain,

It is so sad that I have to contact you again because of a terrible attack that causes a lot of pain and grief. I am praying for you who are in leadership roles in the Methodist Church in Great Britain. May you be surrounded by God's peace so that you will be enabled to comfort others and to work for reconciliation.

The thoughts and prayers of the people here in Germany are with the victims, their families and all that are threatened.

I am currently in Berlin, where tomorrow the big German Protestant Convention, called 'Kirchentag' will be starting. It is an exciting atmosphere full of expectation, people talking with one another and assisting one another where to go - and yet we know how differently life looks like for many others who are victims of violence or starving for many reasons.

Archbishop Justin Welby will be speaking tomorrow at the opening service. Please pray for us that the event will be peaceful and inspiring for the 100,000 people that are going to take part.


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