VILLAGERS in Rothbury attended a thanksgiving service at the parish church on Sunday, at the end of the week-long hunt for Raoul Moat.
The search had ended in the early hours of Saturday, when Mr Moat, who had allegedly killed one man, and shot and injured his former girlfriend and a policeman, killed himself.
Prayers were said at the morning service at All Saints’, Rothbury, by a licensed Reader, Peter Hindle. “More people came than normal on a Sunday morning,” he said, “and the whole service was a thanksgiving for the safe delivery of the village. We gave people space to reflect and to gain strength to go on and rebuild their lives.”
He said that it had been a “huge dilemma” whether to mention Mr Moat by name during the prayers. “He was a child of God, like any of us. But we were conscious there might be some in the congregation who didn’t feel able to pray for him by name.” At evensong on Sunday, however, prayers were said for all the dead and injured by name, including Mr Moat.
The sermon at the morning eucharist was given by the Archdeacon of Lindisfarne, the Ven. Peter Robinson. “The church has been quietly working in the background over the past seven days, supporting police and civilians in practical ways, mainly but not exclusively in Rothbury,” he said.
“Prayers were said in all our churches, giving thanks for the fact that the situation is now over, and inviting peace and healing to replace the feelings of fear and anxiety that have beset life in Rothbury over the past week.”
All Saints’ remained open throughout the days of the search, and many more people than normal came in to light candles and pray, Mr Hindle said.
On the surface, life in the village would quickly return to normal, he said, but the Church and other agencies would work to minister to those who took longer to come to terms with the events.