Remember Jo: muffled bells and packed churches

A muffled bell rang out over Birstall from St Peter’s on Sunday in a day that saw packed church services across Batley and Spen as people came to remember Jo Cox MP who was killed on Thursday.

The vicar, the Revd Paul Knight, described Jo as a "21st century Good Samaritan" who was a "fervent advocate for the poor and the oppressed."

"Her humanity was powerful and compelling and we would do well to recognise her as an amazing example, a 21st Century Good Samaritan.

"She was someone who went out of her way to help others," he added. Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall

Prayers were also said at St Peter's for Mr Cox and the couple's two young children.

Revd Knight remembered the bravery of pensioner, Bernard Kenny, 77 who remains in hospital after coming to Jo's aid. He is in a stable condition.

Down the road in Batley, services were packed at the four churches that make up the Batley Team Parish - including (pictured left) a special service that included a photo tribute, music, prayers and reflection.

A place to light candles and a book of condolence is available in Dewsbury Minster and in St Paul's Alverthorpe there was a special service to remember all those who have died in violence especially thinking of Jo Cox and those who died in Orlando.

Batley All Saints and Robertown also held services to remember Jo.

On Saturday Jo's family visited Birstall and her sister, Kim Leadbetter called for people to show "strength and solidarity" in the wake of her death. She said they should "focus on that which unites us and not which divides us" as part of her sister's legacy.

Ms Leadbeater, parents Gordon and Jean Leadbeater, and other family members viewed the hundreds of floral tributes and messages left to the Batley and Spen MP since her death on Thursday. (Picture below left: copyright Getty Images)

A memorial fund to raise money for charities Mrs Cox supported has reached more than £620,000, with donations from over 20,000 people.

The charities, chosen by Mrs Cox's friends and family, represent her campaigns as an MP to help civilians caught up in the Syrian war, to fight racism and extremism in Britain, and to help residents in her Batley and Spen constituency in West Yorkshire.

READ BISHOP NICK'S BLOG - reflecting on the last few days.

A prayer station is also available in Bradford Cathedral, with these prayers:

Father in heaven,

we thank you because you made us in your own image, 

and gave us gifts in mind, body and spirit.

We thank you now for Jo Cox,

for her service to her constituents and her country,

for her commitment, with Oxfam, to the poor and dispossessed,

for her love for her family and friends.

As we honour her memory, 

we commit her to your eternal care,

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen

Gracious God,

surround the family of Jo Cox, and all who mourn this day

with your continuing compassion.

Do not let grief overwhelm them,

or turn them against you.

When grief seems never-ending,

take them one step at a time

along your road of death and resurrection

in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, appeared before Westminster Magistrates on Saturday, charged with murder, grievous bodily harm, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of a knife.

 

 

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