Churches across our diocese have been holding prayer and candlelit vigils as a focus for grief and reflection following the Paris terrorist attacks on Friday.
The events shocked the globe as around 130 civilians lost their lives after three separate attacks occurred across the French capital by IS gunmen and suicide bombers.
Many people from churches, cathedrals and minsters across the Diocese have been actively using social media to spread their prayers for those lost in the violence and their support to those who have been affected.
The day after the attacks, the Church of England issued a prayer for our churches to read during upcoming services and the Bishops from our Diocese released a message offering their support and condolences to those in Paris at this difficult time (http://www.westyorkshiredales.anglican.org/content/attacks-paris-message-our-bishops).
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield says, “The attacks perpetrated on the people of Paris on Friday evening fill us all with revulsion.
“Along with the blowing up of the Russian plane two weeks ago and the attacks on a shopping centre in Beirut last week they are all beyond contempt.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims of these senseless acts of violence and their families.
“Barbarism such as we have witnessed calls for an appropriate response from the civilised world.
“In Wakefield all people of good will must not allow these events to divide our different communities and ethnic groups.
“Together we must present a united front to the terrorist threat.”
Many services and vigils have already taken place across the Diocese and many are currently being organised to give everyone the opportunity to pray for peace and for the victims of terrorism.
At Ripon Cathedral a candle in the Chapel of Justice and Peace burns for the people of Paris. Visitors are being invited to take a moment to pause and reflect on the horror and pain of events in Paris and pray for all involved. A Welcomer is on duty to direct visitors to a quiet place in the Cathedral for prayer.
At Huddersfield Parish Church, people from Huddersfield Interfaith Council, Kirklees Faith Forum and Churches Together came together to hold a Vigil for Peace last night (Sunday 15th November). Represented among those gathered were: Pakistani Christian, Muslim, Society of Friends, United Reformed Church, Sikh, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Bahá’í, Roman Catholic and Church of England. Prayers and readings from different faiths were read and candles were lit as a sign of solidarity for those who have been maimed by the recent attacks.
People of all faiths were also invited to an observance, arranged by Revd Kevin Barnard, yesterday (Sunday 15th November) at 3.30pm at St. Paul’s Church, King Cross, Halifax. Prayers were also said across the Halifax churches on Sunday, remembering the victims of the attacks.
On Monday, the Dean of Bradford led prayers and a minute's silence outside Bradford City Hall. Around 200 people attended, including the Lord Mayor, Cllr Joanne Dodds, and the Leader of the Council, Cllr David Green. Meanwhile, the Revd Cat Thatcher also led prayers and a minute's silence in Bradford Cathedral and there is a space set aside in the South Transept to pray and light a candle.
Wakefield Cathedral held a prayer vigil on Monday evening with people coming to light a candle and offer a prayer to the victims of the attacks.
On Tuesday (17th November), there was a meeting of Halifax Deanery clergy with local Imams at Halifax Minster with Bishop Toby from Bradford. - see report
Friday 20th November
Harrogate Churches Together held a Vigil for Peace at the Cenotaph in the centre of town from 8pm - 8.45pm. Hundreds came and you can read the full report here
Sunday 22nd November
- A service to remember Paris, to stand in solidarity and to pray for peace was led by Rector-Designate Canon Sam Corley at Leeds Minster. The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, inter-faith representatives and civic dignitaries were also in attendance. Read the full report