Manchester: churches urged to offer places of prayer after explosion

Bishop of Manchester David Walker has urged churches in the city to open their doors today (Tuesday 23 May) following last night's explosion at Manchester Arena that left 22 people dead and some 59 injured.

Speaking to Premier News, the Rt Rev David Walker said he hoped churches would make space for people who wanted to "find somewhere to pray quietly".

"At times of like this, prayer is one way in which we can pour out to God our grief but also go to God to rekindle our hope that we live in a world for which Jesus died and rose again," he said.

"Nothing, no matter how many killed or injured in a blast can take that central truth away."

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has commented on Twitter: "Heroic Manchester, dark evil cannot overcome it. We pray for those in sorrow on the hard journey of loss & pain, & for those who protect us."

The Anglican Bishops from The Church of England’s Diocese of Blackburn have issued a joint statement this morning. The Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn; the Rt Rev. Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster and the Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, said the following:

'We are shocked and appalled by the news of the attack at the Manchester Arena. To target an event attended by so many children and young people is barbaric beyond words or belief.

“Our thoughts at this time are with all the victims and most especially those who are unsure about the whereabouts or safety of their loved ones.

"Many of the Churches of Lancashire are about to enter a time of prayer for our nation under the title, 'Thy Kingdom Come’.

“We therefore commit ourselves to deep and heartfelt prayer for all caught up in this terrible incident.

"We will not only pray that the Kingdom values of justice, love and peace might transform the hearts of all who would sow hatred and fear but will also commit ourselves afresh to action to building a world that reflects those values.

“People from parishes across Lancashire will be coming to Blackburn Cathedral tomorrow evening, May 24, at 7.30pm for our ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ beacon launch event.

“We will now make time during this service to offer prayers for the victims of the Manchester attack and anyone who wishes to join us as we offer these prayers is welcome to do so.”

This prayer has been posted on the Manchester diocese website:

"God of compassion,

you hear the cries of all who are in trouble or distress;
accept our prayers for those whose lives are affected by the bombing in Manchester;

We pray especially for those suddenly facing a future without a child, parent or loved one,

young ones who are in deep distress

those who are injured, traumatized or awaiting news
strengthen them in their hour of need,
grant them perseverance and courage to face the future
and be to them a firm foundation on which to build their lives;
this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Police believe the explosion occurred when a man detonated an improvised explosive device outside the Manchester Arena – where an Ariana Grande concert was concluding – at about 10.30pm on Monday night.

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