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London Bridge attack remembered at evensong

05 June 2019

Dean of Southwark Cathedral recalls ‘scene of carnage’

Diocese of Southwark

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, leads the act of remembrance outside Southwark Cathedral

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, leads the act of remembrance outside Southwark Cathedral

THE Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, has said that he “wept again” upon hearing the “heroic” stories and the “unselfish response” of strangers during and after the terror attack at London Bridge in June 2017.

He was delivering a sermon at a memorial evensong in Southwark Cathedral on the second anniversary of the attack, on Monday. Eight people were killed and 48 seriously injured when three men drove into pedestrians over the bridge before stabbing people in Borough Market (News, 9 June 2017).

An inquest into the deaths is ongoing. Dean Nunn compared the emerging evidence as pieces of a puzzle. “So much has emerged that none of us ever knew about,” he said. “I was only on the edge of things, arriving on the fringes of the market as the attack ended, being sent back by the police, emerging into a scene of terror and carnage in Southwark Street.

“I only saw what I saw. And in the following days and weeks and months I only heard what I heard from the people who saw what they saw. None of us sees the whole picture. But the pieces, in this process of inquest, are being put together.”

The inquest at the Old Bailey is on its 19th day of evidence. It was proving to be a painful process for many, Dean Nunn said. “The memories are being re-examined, the wounds re-opened, the horror and the pain and the grief re-kindled. Yet we want to know the full story, we want to hear the evidence, we want to know the truth because the truth will set us free — eventually. . .

“What has made me weep again over the past few weeks have been the heroic stories, the willingness of some to go to the help of others, the unselfish response to strangers, who became sisters and brothers.”

Diocese of SouthwarkThe Tree of Healing outside Southwark Cathedral

The readings were Micah 6.6-8 and Matthew 5.38-48, which were, in part, the Dean said, about “going the second mile, the extra mile; that is the heroic, selfless act and it’s going the second mile that we saw in those few devastating minutes of the attack.”

The second reading was given by PC Wayne Marques, who, on the night of the attack, had only his baton to protect him. He was temporarily blinded in one eye as the three attackers slashed at him.

The service was attended by other survivors of the attack, families of the deceased, members of the Metropolitan Police, emergency services, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, who gave the blessing.

The choir sang the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. Hymns included “Love Divine, all loves excelling” and “Make me a channel of your peace”. Afterwards, wreathes were laid beside a memorial tree outside the cathedral.

Dean Nunn concluded: “The memories have been revived, the wounds have been reopened, and healing must continue, but now we can see a bigger picture, a hard and painful one to look at, but the God who walks every step with us, every mile with us, the God who goes to hell and back for us is there with us.”

A service of compline was also held in Southwark Cathedral on Monday at 9.58 pm — the time at which the attack began.

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