The Archbishop of Canterbury and leaders of the Church of England have offered prayers for those affected by the attack in Westminster which left four people dead and many injured. The attacker mowed down pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a plain-clothes policeman before he was shot by armed officers. The Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted: “Deeply shocked and saddened by events in Westminster.
The Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, is the duty bishop in the House of Lords this week and was in Parliament at the time of the attack. He led prayers in the House of Lords today for all those affected. In the aftermath of the violence, he was part of a huge throng of people evacuated from Parliament and taken over the road to Westminster Abbey where they were kept for several hours: “Westminster Abbey swung into action and showed not only pastoral care (and prayer), but also the hospitality that characterises such places. Parliamentarians, visitors and officials – more than 1,000 of us – used the time to talk and wait and conduct the sort of human relationships that defy the chaos that some would wish to reap. People around Westminster showed courage and compassion, helping the injured and dying on the bridge, holding those whose life had been horribly changed for ever.”
Bishop Nick offered his reflections on the tragedy in a broadcast earlier on BBC Radio and in a newspaper article ;
Meanwhile the Church of England issued a Collect for Peace, led by the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu in a video.
The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, said: “We weep with those affected at Westminster and offer heartfelt prayers for the injured, emergency services and all who work there.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, who was in Parliament earlier in the day, posted: “Prayers for all affected by #Westminster attack, praise for dedicated emergency services and police and resolve to work for unity and peace.” The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev John Hall, tweeted: “I was glad to offer a prayer @wabbey when everyone had come across from the Palace of Westminster for all involved & those injured & killed.”
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom issued a statement in which he said: "This and similar acts are meant to dishearten and defeat us; they are meant to take away our resolve and aim to lead us into a spiral of revenge. Despite evocative attempts to corrupt our hearts to hatred, we on the contrary have seen acts of unwavering selflessness, sacrifice and compassion."
A representative of the Presiding Bishop of the US based Episcopal Church, Canon Chuck Robertson said :"Our prayers are with you all today."