United in prayer: the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (front row on the left, standing next to Caroline Welby), together with 80 police officers, joined the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace Chapel for a eucharist last Friday.
At a time of heightened security on the streets of London, and days after Sir Bernard warned that cuts to the police budget would harm his ability to counter terrorism, Archbishop Welby led prayers for peace and security. In the intercessions, one officer prayed: “Hold back the hands that kill and maim.”
After readings from Revelation and St Luke’s Gospel, Archbishop Welby compared Jesus’s tears for Jerusalem to those of the congregation for Paris. He drew a parallel, too, between the use of migration routes by terrorists and the use of the Passover festival by first-century insurrectionists to enter Jerusalem “under the cover of crowds”. It was “deeply and appallingly familiar in these times”.
The relationship between Archbishop Welby and Sir Bernard goes back several years, to when the Archbishop was Dean of Liverpool, and Sir Bernard was Chief Commissioner of the city.