LONDON – The Bishop of Wolverhampton in the Church of England has praised the way in which communities have come together in the aftermath of the worst violence to hit Britain for a generation.
The Rt. Rev. Clive Gregory oversees West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, both of which saw rioting and looting in recent days.
He said the areas had witnessed two different realities but that the true side of the Black Country was the solidarity shown by the people.
“We have seen the destruction and fear that comes in the wake of lawlessness and greed,” he said. “We have also seen communities coming together to repair and rebuild and to stand alongside those who have been victimized by violence.
“It is this togetherness that shows the true face of the Black Country and from this solidarity we will gain the strength to build a better future.”
Christians across Britain have been holding prayer vigils and helping out in the many clean-up operations that sprung up via Facebook and Twitter.
St. Mary the Virgin church on Landsdowne Road in Tottenham, where the violence erupted, has been distributing meals and providing hot water and mobile phone charging for those left without electricity, allowing them to stay in touch with loved ones.
In Wolverhampton, a city center service is being planned for next week, while in London hundreds of Christians are expected to gather on Saturday at the Westminster Methodist Central Hall for a time of prayer hosted by Premier Radio.
The heavy police presence has helped to restore order on city streets again but questions remain about why the riots broke out and what can be done to ensure they never happen again. Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs that police chiefs admitted they deployed "far too few police" at the start of the riots, according to BBC.
The Bishop of London, Dr. Richard Chartres, said the events in London had been “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," he said.