The Bishop of the Diocese in Europe will be taking part in a candle-lit service of prayer, silence and reflection in Holy Trinity Church, Nice on Saturday at 12.45pm to mark the tragic events which led to the death over more than 80 people with many scores of others injured.
The service is open to everyone and will include the opportunity for people to light candles as they pray. Bishop Robert was already due to be in the city for a meeting with clergy from southern France.
He and Bishop David have sent messages of sympathy and concern to church members in Nice and those affected by the horrific scenes after a lorry was driven into a large crowd who were celebrating Bastille Day.
Bishop David wrote; “The Promenade is just a couple of hundred metres from our Church of the Holy Trinity. I spoke to the Revd Peter Jackson, the Chaplain this morning. Like so many, Fr Peter is in shock at these events. Last night he was enjoying the national festival, and attended a reception with the Mayor and Prefet, a warm family occasion. At the reception, ironically, honour and tribute was being paid to the those who work for the emergency services in the city. On return to the presbytery, he learned of the attacks close by. One Churchwarden narrowly escaped injury.
“Fr Peter reflected with me on the disconcerting feelings he has, since as a priest he was working in Washington DC at the time of the 9/11 attacks, and was working in London at the time of two tragic Tube bombings. There are certain to be many in our community who will be personally affected by this tragedy, and we pray for Fr Peter and all who minister and care for the survivors.”
Bishop Robert said; “I want to assure the people of Nice, and indeed of the whole of France, of my prayers at this time, on behalf of the whole Diocese in Europe. The terrible events of last night, which was to have been a day of national celebration, have reminded us that we must yet again stand together as men and women in the face of violence. I continue to pray for peace and, today in particular, we hold in our prayers the victims of this attack and their families. We also pray for Fr Peter Jackson and the people of Holy Trinity, Nice who, along with all faith communities of the city, will minister to all affected by this tragedy. May you be strengthened by the prayers of the whole Diocese, your brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Father Peter also wrote; “Thanks to everyone who has been in touch to ask whether we are safe and how our parishioners have been affected. We went to a reception at the Villa Massena given by the mayor and senior politicians at seven yesterday evening. There were many young service people, some with their children. Later in the evening there were fireworks launched from boats off shore. They were quite spectacular and watched by thousands of people who thronged the Promenade des Anglais. They began at ten and lasted twenty minutes. We went home directly afterwards. Our house is five minutes from the Promenade, so we were home quickly. Shortly afterwards, we became aware from social media that something awful had happened in the area where we had just been. We stayed up for hours. Through the night there was a constant sound of sirens. In the morning, the emails, phone calls and messages came apace. I gathered that one of our wardens had jumped clear of the truck as it hurtled along the Promenade. We are all very shocked and wait anxiously to know whether any of our community have been directly affected. We also wait to know whether any British or Americans were among those killed or injured. On Sunday, both here at Holy Trinity and at St Hugh Vence, we will pray for those who lost their lives and for those who were injured.”