THE Vicar of St Mary and St Nicholas, Spalding, the Revd John Bennett, said that prayer and a faithful presence in the community were central to coping with grief, after a mother and her daughter were shot dead in the Lincolnshire town on Tuesday morning.
The gunman, Lance Hart, is reported to have turned a shotgun on himself after fatally shooting his wife and daughter near the town swimming pool. He died at the scene.
Such tragedies highlighted “a sense of there being that Christian presence in every community”, Mr Bennett said on Wednesday, “not just the parish priest, but a community of faithful people who are there, listening, grieving alongside everyone else, feeling that sense of shock, and that we are at the heart of the life that is going on all the time. Our church is very near the town centre, and it is open every day for people to light candles, say prayers, and sit quietly; certainly more people came in yesterday afternoon and evening.”
Claire Hart, 50, and her daughter, Charlotte, 19, were treated by paramedics shortly after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, but were later pronounced dead at the scene.
Prayers will be said at St Mary and St Nicholas on Sunday, however. “Prayer is bringing us close to God; it is not about bringing God into the situation. God is already there,” Mr Bennett said.
The Bishop of Grantham, Dr Nicholas Chamberlain, said on Wednesday that the diocese of Lincoln had shared in “the profound sense of shock” at the news.
The Harts, who had been married for 26 years, had recently separated. They also had two sons, aged 25 and 26, who were not present at the time.