Diocese offers prayers for Sri Lanka after Easter bomb attacks

Prayers for the victims of bomb attacks on Sri Lankan churches and hotels which has already claimed 253 lives have been offered across the diocese, including a vigil in Bradford's City Park.

On Easter Sunday, Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines preached at Wakefield Cathedral and amidst the joy of that spiritual occasion, he also led prayers for the dead, injured and bereaved.

Writing on the tragic events that day he said: "Prayers for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka with whom the Church of England Diocese of Leeds has been linked for decades.

“They are no strangers to violence - and they are no strangers to this gospel of resurrection hope."

Our Diocese is linked with the two Anglican dioceses in Sri Lanka, Columbo and Kuranegala, and the Rt Revd Paul Slater, Bishop of Kirkstall who chairs that link group, led prayers for them at Leeds Minster on Sunday.

At Bradford on Tuesday evening a large crowd gathered  to remember the victims in Sri Lanka.

The vigil opened with a speech by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Zafar Ali before the Rt Revd Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford, shared the following words from the Bishop Dhilo of Colombo, with whom he’d be in touch with following the attack.

“Dear Bishop Toby and friends in Bradford. Words cannot express how comforted and consoled we are to receive your message.

“Thank you all so much for your love, concern, prayers and solidarity.”

Bishop Toby added: “He is there with people of many different faiths and we are here as people of different faiths, and we are standing together”.

He then referred to recent vigils held in City Park following other attacks. “This is us standing together to make sure we are in solidarity with one another, whoever needs it, wherever they are.”

The Very Revd Jerry Lepine, Dean of Bradford, had been in touch with a student who studied in Bradford and now lives in Colombo and he passed on that person’s reaction.

“I am numbed by the situation,” Dean Jerry said.

“We have been through a thirty-year conflict and I have witnessed the carnage.

“When the war ended ten years ago I thought never would I see such carnage again. But I was wrong.

“How can one comprehend such sadness and pain? I know that our pain is God’s pain and we must continue to be prayerful and prevail.”

A minute’s silence was also held and a prayer read.


Halifax Minster is holding a response to the Sri Lanka bombings entitled Not in My Name tomorrow, Thursday, April 25 at 3.30pm. It will be a period of reflection for the people of Halifax in response to the recent atrocities. Holly Lynch, Calderdale MP, Cllr. Tim Swift, Council Leader, Robin Tuddenham, Chief Executive, Richard Whitehead, Divisional Commander and Nadeem Mir, Council of Mosques will speak.

A prayer vigil for Sri Lanka will also take place on the steps of Wakefield Cathedral on Saturday, April 27 starting at 11.55am. All are welcome.


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