LONDON – As violent rioting continues throughout London, Christian leaders and politicians held a vigil of hope last night in response to the carnage.
In several areas of the city flames are ripping through shops and cars, as hundreds of hooded looters take to the streets intent on causing damage.
Despite the horrors, faith leaders and politicians united in an effort to bring peace to the capital.
Held at The High Cross in Tottenham, the peace vigil was organized by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, as well as Pentecostal and independent churches.
Tottenham MP David Lammy and leader of Haringey Council, Claire Kober, also attended the event, which included collective prayers for the community and addresses from faith leaders.
The Bishop of Edmonton, local bishop for the Diocese of London, the Rt. Rev. Peter Wheatley said: “These events cannot be allowed to define the Tottenham we know and love. Many of us have worked in this community for many years and we know the loving, generous and openhearted people with whom we share our daily lives are not the rioters who have destroyed so much.
“What has happened will not conquer the hope which is set before us. We will continue to share that hope with our neighbours and friends as we move to rebuild in Tottenham.”
Church of England parishes in Tottenham are providing practical help for members of the community.
St. Mary the Virgin Church, on Landsdowne Road, is at the heart of where much of the trouble has been. Leaders are providing support for those whose homes and businesses have been affected, including distributing meals and providing hot water and phone charging facilities to those who were left without electricity.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected, including those who have been made homeless and local business owners whose livelihoods have been threatened,” the bishop added.
“Together, our churches already run a multitude of activities supporting all members of the community, irrespective of their faith, and these efforts will be continued and where possible extended.”