Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe has written this message after a lorry slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice late on July 15, killing at least 84 people. According to reports, no group has so far said it was behind the attack, however prosecutors said the inquiry would be handled by anti-terror investigators.
In 1971, we sold the building of Holy Spirit Church, founded over a hundred years before in Nice, to the French Reformed Church, and amalgamated the congregation with the Church of England Holy Trinity Church. It is now Holy Trinity Anglican-Episcopal Church. As a result, the parish sends a delegate to our annual convention (synod), and the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe gives an annual gift of support. Our 2010 synod took place in Nice, and the closing Sunday Eucharist took place at Holy Trinity.
Over the years, I have visited several times as Bishop to confirm and receive people. There are still some Episcopalians, and some are buried in the churchyard. Melinda and I await still to hear that all our friends in Nice are safe. The horror of this 14th of July touches us therefore even more personally.
I am happy to report that the Rev. Peter Jackson and parishioners returned home safely last night. This morning will be very hard. They need our prayers as they minister the love of God to their stricken city. And let us pray for the dead and dying, the wounded and all who care for them, the police who had to kill the terrorist and face the horror he had created, and him too. And finally, pray and work for justice, that we might have peace.
Prayers I suggest:
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:1, 13-14)
A Collect for Peace
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
By your Cross, Lord Jesus, you became our only true and lasting hope. We ask that you give rest to those who died in Nice, and that you heal the wounded and bless those who care for them. You comforted Martha and Mary; comfort all who mourn. Give us who remain stout hearts to face the days ahead. And roll down your justice upon us all, that we might have peace. We ask this because in your love you died for us, and rose again, that we might have life with you forever. Amen.
Bishop Pierre Whalon
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe