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Prayers for the peace of Birmingham after night of stabbings

07 September 2020


Police forensic officers on Hurst Walk, in Birmingham, on Sunday

Police forensic officers on Hurst Walk, in Birmingham, on Sunday

CHURCH leaders in Birmingham have prayed for peace in the city after one person was killed and seven people were injured in knife attacks in the early hours of Sunday.

Police were called to Constitution Hill, shortly after 12.30 a.m., where a man sustained a superficial injury, the BBC reports. Over the next 90 minutes, police were called to three other areas — Livery Street, Irving Street, and Hurst Street, in the area known as the gay village — where a 19-year-old man was critically injured, a woman was hurt, a 23-year-old man suffered fatal injuries, another was seriously injured, and where a 32-year-old woman was critically injured and two men suffered lesser injuries.

At 4 a.m., a 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, West Midlands Police said.

In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, and the RC Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Revd Bernard Longley, said: “Our thoughts and the thoughts and prayers of many people are with those who have died or been seriously injured overnight in the city of Birmingham. We pray also for their families and friends — and for the emergency services and for all that they are called to do in response to these shocking events.

“At this time when the health and well-being of the people of our city is already uppermost in our minds, we pray that all who live and work in Birmingham and those who visit can be reassured about the safety of our popular city. Birmingham is a great city and it is shaped by many diverse communities working together and overcoming challenges and differences. We cherish and pray for its peace today.”

Birmingham Cathedral was in the vicinity of the attacks. The Dean, the Very Revd Matt Thompson, posted on Twitter that morning: “Praying for the peace of our City Centre and for all those caught up in the violence last night. Also remembering the work of our emergency services and local authorities who work so hard to keep us safe.”

During the intercessions at the Sunday-morning eucharist, the Precentor, Canon Josephine Houghton, said: “Hear our prayer for our city and for those caught up in last night’s tragedy, for those injured and their loved ones, for the perpetrators and the complex circumstances that led to violence. For the emergency services and first responders.”

The Gate Church, a member of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical churches, meets on the road where the fatal stabbing occurred. Its lead pastor, Jonny Richards, said on Monday: “Yesterday evening was actually our first physical gathering for nearly six months, so it was a timely opportunity to pray for our city.

“As a church made up of local people we were saddened by the news of the events, and that such pain and suffering happened in our community. But, sadly, we were not surprised. Although this has caught the attention of the national press, knife crime is a regular feature of life in our inner-city community and something we have become used to hearing about and encountering.

“We actually pray for these issues regularly and seek to draw alongside and support victims and those affected where we have opportunity. This type of event is why we have planted a church in the inner-city community we are in — because people desperately need the hope of Christ.

“We also prayed for a Covid outbreak which has shut down our local asylum hostel which was reported over the weekend. We will be following up with our contacts there to see if we can provide any support this week.”

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