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Bishop of Manchester prays to resist evil in wake of bombing

Bishop of Manchester prays to resist evil in wake of bombing

From The Rt Rev. Dr. David Walker, Bishop of Manchester:

“Today is a desperately sad day. Manchester is famous for its music culture, and last night’s attack is a direct assault on our desire to meet peacefully and enjoy seeing our favourite stars in person.

It is especially tragic that the terrorist should have sought out an occasion when many of those present were young girls and their parents. This is a new low in the dreadful litany of terrorist atrocities.In times of tragedy my faith brings me back to the cross. To the one who suffered there for the sins of the world and who knows in his own body the agony of suffering. He gives us no easy path out of our pain; instead he assures us that he is there by our side.

I’m touched by the determination of Manchester people to stand together, and ask that the generosity of spirit already shown by so many to those affected will not dwindle in the passing days, but be there for all who need it for as long as they need it.

No element within our community is the problem. Every group in our community is part of the solution. Together we will face down the terrorists, rebuild our public places and our private lives, and continue to the the city that God has called us to be: diverse, energetic, imaginative and kind.”


Prayer services can be found here

Follow #David Walker on Twitter and Diocese of Manchester website


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Helen Kromm

First of all, my comment is directed at David, and not you. My purpose was to illustrate that this situation is far from simple, and it would be wise to consider that innocent Muslims, in great numbers, are dying. Having said that, and after you wish to call me out, I’ll bite.

“Your comment strikes as much like saying ‘yes, Jews were killed by the Nazis, but many other groups were as well.’”

How dare you? Never mind the adage that when you resort to Nazi comparisons you have engaged in moral bankruptcy- something you accuse me of.

We are, unfortunately, in the grip of some strange Christian tribalism. The deaths of Christians matter, but the deaths of others, while apparently regrettable on some level, don’t occupy a place of much importance.

“So why ask the question unless you see the actions of the ‘coalition’ and of ISIS as morally equivalent.”

Actually, I do see equivalence. The coalition is led and under US command. The Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States is Donald Trump.

Here is what Donald Trump has said:

“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Leader of the free world. Controls the most powerful military the world has ever seen. And he publicly advocates for the wholesale killing of women and children. Differences between ISIS? I don’t see it, and am surprised that you do.

And frankly, and especially since he’s assumed office, he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

If this is a war against Christians, the body count of innocents seems to be grossly skewed in favor of the Christians.

In times like these, when the world displays so much barbarism, I get tired of Christian tribalism, and especially tired of the missives of whiny Bishops. Historically in times like these (and getting back to your Nazi comparisons), it’s shocking just how absent whiny Bishops of all stripes were in the face of barbarism.

“Perhaps you just want people who complain about the horrendous persecution of Christians around the world to be silent”

Actually, no, not at all. I would like to see people raise their voices against the slaughter of all innocents, and regardless of their religion. I don’t see any evidence that’s something you are inclined to do, but you might want to consider it.

Grant LeMarquand

Dear Helen,

Forgive me if I sound angry. I am angry. After deliberate attacks on Coptic Christians – because they are Christians (before Christmas in Cairo, on Palm Sunday in Tanta and Alexandria, and now on a group heading to a monastery to pray…to say nothing of the targeting of more innocent people in Manchester – not because they are Christians that time, but because they are, what ?, young women, music fans – both would fit the ideology of Islamist groups like ISIS) – your comment about asking “if God wants this as well” strikes me as more than a red herring but as morally bankrupt. ISIS targets the innocent. They target Christians because they hate Christians. Does God approve of the killing of civilians in an air strike? NO, OF COURSE NOT. So why ask the question unless you see the actions of the ‘coalition’ and of ISIS as morally equivalent. Perhaps you just want people who complain about the horrendous persecution of Christians around the world to be silent, because others are killed in atrocious ways as well. Your comment strikes as much like saying ‘yes, Jews were killed by the Nazis, but many other groups were as well.’ The holocaust cannot be so easily dismissed. Neither can this new global holocaust against Christians.

I am not advocating a violent solution. Far from it. But some understanding of the daily realities faced by (literally) millions of Christians around the world today should not be shrugged off with a ‘lots of people die’ comment.

Forgive my anger. I am angry. I don’t know if I’m ‘righteously’ angry (can I claim Jesus overturning the tables in the temple as a justification…maybe, maybe not). I have been reading the Psalms more than usual lately and have been struck by the number of times the psalmists cry out against their enemies, ask God is he is asleep, desperately ask ‘how long?’. I used to be almost ashamed of those psalms. No more. I’m living them.

Recently a woman from our Somali congregation in Addis Ababa was attacked by a man who did not think her hair was sufficiently covered. He hit her with a rock – because she was a woman, because she was a Somali woman that he (rightly) discerned was a Christian. The congregation has had to move her to a different part of the city. Yes, I’m angry…I’m sorry if some of that spilled over you. Pray for me.

+Grant LeMarquand
Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa
Assistant Bishop for Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

Grant LeMarquand

These are wonderful words – except for what Bishop David is not quite accurate about terrorists targeting young girls and their parents being a new low. In fact it may be a new pattern. In December a bomb killed 29 people in the church of St Peter and St Paul, one of the churches on the compound of the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. The bomber in that case was also very strategic. It is tradition in Coptic worship for men to sit on one side and for women and small children to sit on the other. The bomb was placed on the ‘women’s side.’ Only women and children, mostly girls, were killed – 29 of them. I was in this church a few weeks ago, which has now been restored (except for some small holes in the stone walls). The Coptic Church has set up a memorial to the 29 martyrs, a memorial which was blessed by both Pope Tawadros and Pope Francis during the Roman Pope’s visit to Egypt. Sadly the Coptic Church will need to build more martyrs’ memorials for those killed in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday.
+Grant LeMarquand,
Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa
Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Egypt

David Carver

Horrible to hear… thank you for sharing, in any case. If I recall, Malala Yousafzai and her father also thought the Taliban wouldn’t actually target a child – so they worried more about his safety than hers. They were oh so wrong. :/ How can the extremists feel justified doing this? How can they think God wants this? It just…

Helen Kromm
Ann Fontaine

Thanks Grant —

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