London-area Bishops Respond to Riots

david at david at
Fri Aug 12 10:45:43 EDT 2011

London-area Bishops Respond to Riots

Multiple sources
August 9 2011

>From the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, Bishop of London:

The events of the past few days in London are appalling - but not wholly unexpected. Whatever the real motivations of those who have brought violence to our streets, there will be a proper time for sober analysis and an assessment of the role of gang culture in the capital.

For now, the other side of the story of violence and looting is the swift response of communities across London in clearing up the debris and caring for the victims of what has happened. Our churches are already at the forefront of this.

The Bishop of Edmonton last night attended a vigil for peace in Tottenham, at the heart of where the troubles began, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with local politicians and other Christian leaders in calling for an end to the violence.

Nearby, St Mary the Virgin on Lansdowne Road has been helping those whose homes and businesses have been affected, including distributing meals and providing hot water and mobile phone charging for those left without electricity, to ensure they can remain in touch with loved ones.

As trouble reached East London yesterday evening, Bishop Adrian and Father Rob Wickham were on the streets helping those they could as panic spread through Hackney. Many others among you have been helping in similar ways across the Diocese.

The situation is unpredictable and it is important that we keep in touch and support one another with prayer and practical assistance.

>From the Rt. Rev. Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark and Bishop for Urban Life and Faith:

The images of violence and destruction on our screens do not represent the strong, hopeful and vibrant communities I know so well. I want to appeal to those responsible for the disturbances to stop.

Today, as many in our Diocese count the cost of the disturbances, I am deeply saddened to see the images of destruction in familiar places. I will in the days ahead visit those communities that have been at the centre of trouble and I continue to promise my support for, and solidarity with, all who seek to build positive and constructive engagement.

The Christian message is one of hope, love and peace and I know that the churches of Southwark Diocese stand ready to play their part in bringing healing and hope to the places they serve. I am asking them to offer special prayers for the healing and peace of our cities when they gather for worship this Sunday and week by week, remembering especially those who have been personally affected and have lost homes and livelihoods.

Southwark Cathedral, along with many other churches in the Diocese, remains open as a place of prayer and reflection.

>From the Rt. Rev. Peter Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden:

We're all shocked and horrified at what's been happening these past few days in our communities across London. Whatever sparked the original violence in Tottenham, the copycat looting and pillaging is not a legitimate form of protest - people are, sadly, trashing their own localities. There are many questions to be asked about how we have created a society in which greed and consumerism combine to make people desire commodities and are prepared to steal in order to get them. And where young people see the destruction of property as a form of fun and entertainment. Relationships between the police and young people in many parts of London are fragile - and we will need to work hard at rebuilding them in the aftermath of all this. But there's no excuse for lawlessness, either. Criminal behaviour mustn't prosper.

Our Christian response must be to pray - for the peace and good of our cities. Where appropriate and safe, we may wish to open our churches for prayer and practical support for local people. There are clean-up operations going on in Ealing and other places where we can be involved practically. And where we are in contact with local youth, we should be doing what we can to persuade them to stay off the streets.

I know that the Bishops of Edmonton and Stepney have been out on the streets to pray, support and encourage. We need to seek the good of all, and work and pray for justice, peace and the rule of law in our communities.

The Bishop of Edmonton and the Archdeacon of Hampstead are currently handling diocesan responses to the situation.


Bishop of St. Albans leads message of support for Luton

The Bishop of St Albans, the Right Revd Dr Alan Smith; led clergy and faith community leaders in Luton, in expressing relief that there had been no civil disruption in Luton.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, the Area Dean of Luton, the Revd Stephen Purvis; the Assistant Area Dean of Luton, the Revd David Alexander, other clergy and leaders of different faith communities in Luton said on Tuesday 9th August:

"We are grateful that the goodwill of the people of Luton has not so far been called on to clear up the aftermath of disorder, as has happened in other towns.

"If anyone, however loosely associated with Luton, is at all tempted to disrupt the peace that Lutonians work hard at and are rightly proud of, we appeal to them for a calm heart and thought for others before themselves in the hours and days to come.

"The churches of Luton, members of all faith communities, and all people of goodwill continue to pray for Luton and Lutonians, for the blessings of community life, peaceful streets and friendly hearts."


The Rt Revd Alan Smith, The Bishop of St Albans

The Revd Stephen Purvis, Area Dean of Luton

The Revd David Alexander, Assistant Area Dean of Luton

Pastor Steve Moody (Baptist)

Zafar Khan (Council of Faiths, and representing local mosques)

Revd David Poultney

Pastor Graham Nash

Revd Carol Bond

Revd Peter Budgell

Revd Matthew Swires-Hennessy

Revd Rob O'Neill

Revd Grantley Finlayson

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