03 June 2010
Joint statement from Cumbria church leaders on the shootings that took place in West Cumbria on Wednesday 2 June 2010
3 June 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been caught up in the terrible events of yesterday, but particularly they are with the family and friends of those who have been killed or injured. The community grieves deeply at the losses we have suffered; the confusion and pain will be long-lasting.
We are all grateful for the dedication of all those members of the emergency services who have worked tirelessly to help the injured and to bring the situation to a conclusion. We also pay tribute to the members of the public who did what they could to help other people, perhaps total strangers, who had been wounded.
All the churches from across a very wide area have been, and will continue to be, involved in supporting those affected by yesterday’s tragedy. In addition to ministering to people in our communities, clergy will be available to support the hospital and emergency services chaplains as required. The church will continue to play a longer term role in providing support and sanctuary to those who need it, and we strongly encourage all churches in the area to make their buildings and people available for people to come and pray, light candles and have someone to talk to.
The communities of West Cumbria are close-knit and hugely supportive, and we know that people throughout the area will be caring deeply for each other both now and in the months to come. Christians in Cumbria and further afield are praying for everyone who has been affected, and are doing everything they can to offer comfort and practical help at a local level.
The Right Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
The Revd Rachel Poolman, President of the United Reformed Church Cumbria Area and President of Churches Together in Cumbria
The Revd Richard Teal, Chair of the Cumbria Methodist District
The Right Revd Michael Campbell, Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster
The Revd John Goddard, Cumbria Baptist Network Minister
'Our long search for answers'
Further comment from the Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Everyone has been deeply shocked by the terrible shootings.
It follows a tragic school bus accident in the area last week in which two teenagers and a motorist died - and unprecedented flooding a few months ago.
People are already asking how the communities affected will cope.
If past experience is anything to go by, the answer is "magnificently". The people of West Cumbria are wonderfully resilient and supportive when tragedy strikes.
And I know once again they will offer comfort and help of the most inspiring and heart-warming kind to the relatives and friends of victims. People are also asking what the Church is doing.
Again, the answer is encouraging. I know it is there for everyone, giving support long after the funeral flowers have wilted.
Emotional wounds of this kind are not quickly healed and we will all continue to pray and listen in the months ahead.
I will also be visiting the area in the coming days. Faith can give me, and others in Cumbria, hope that we are not alone.
Only with faith can we begin to grapple with something as awful and difficult to understand as this.
Reproduced from The Sun
, 3 June 2010.
To read prayers for those in grief at this time, click here.