Bishop of Huntingdon's message of hope as he surveys the ruins of fire ravaged church
AN Easter candle was taken into the ruins of St Mary s Church by the Bishop of Huntingdon yesterday as a sign that new life will emerge from the devastation.
Words: MAGGIE GIBSON
Photos: PETER UPTON
AN Easter candle was taken into the ruins of St Mary's Church by the Bishop of Huntingdon yesterday as a sign that new life will emerge from the devastation.
The Rt Rev David Thomson's message was one of hope as he blessed a newly crafted cross and the candle in the grounds of the church which was destroyed by fire last Monday.
But he also acknowledged that the congregation would also have feelings of anger, grief and emptiness at what had happened.
The emotional service was to praise God for the past life of St Mary's, mourn the loss of it and to seek God's strength and guidance in the days ahead.
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An opening prayer said: "We bring before you, Lord, our confusion in the face of shock, our despair in the face of tragedy, our helplessness in the face of death.
"We bring before you Lord our sense of frustration, our feeling of powerlessness, our fears for the future."
The congregation of around 100 then moved into the church hall where all future services will be held until the church can be used once again.
An Old Testament reading from Isaiah urged the congregation: "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Rt Rev Thomson brought with him an Easter card from the Diocesan Synod. He said: The Diocesan Synod have shared your sense of shock and grief and share your commitment to rebuild for the future."
He said people would experience lots of different feelings "as we seek to understand how new life can come in this time of darkness".
Looking at the church he said it felt such as waste and said there would be moments of anger even though the congregation were "good Christian people".
Rt Rev Thomson said: "The first challenge is simply to be alongside each other at this time of pouring out."
The Bishop mentioned parishioner John Arnold, 74, who discovered the fire and who had poured out his love and care for the church day by day and year in and year out.
A prayer was also for said Jean Allen who died on the day of the fire when her car ended up on a water-filled ditch as she took a detour to avoid the fire.