Church leaders in Britain have expressed their deep sadness at the ‘brutal murder’ of a French priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, in his church near Rouen. The joint presidents of Churches Together in England say in a statement:
‘That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people, could be killed during Mass, is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime.
‘We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and parishioners. We pray for the wellbeing of those who were taken hostage, their families and the entire community served by Fr Jacques; indeed we pray for the peace of France, Europe, the Middle East and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.
The presidents of Churches Together in England include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and the Free Churches Moderator, Hugh Osgood.
They go on to call upon all people of goodwill to pray and work for justice and peace. In particular, they implore everyone to help people everywhere to pursue the path of peace and human flourishing – which is the will of Creator God.
The General Secretary of the United Reformed Church, the Revd John Proctor, added, ‘We care – for the sanctity and safety of life, for the sorrows of friend and stranger, and for the peace that God calls us to seek in prayer, attitude and action. These are times to live by that care, for Christ’s sake.’
More details at www.cte.org.uk