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Letter after the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel

by Gerry Lynch last modified 01 Aug, 2016 11:52 AM

Following the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel while celebrating Mass in the French city of Rouen, Bishop Nicholas wrote to all clergy and churchwardens in the Diocese.

To Clergy and Churchwardens of the Diocese of Salisbury:

27th July 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Following the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in France yesterday, I am sending all Clergy and Churchwardens in the Diocese for whom we have e mail the following information that has been circulated by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police. It applies equally well to us. 

The key paragraph is:

Church leaders and their congregations here in the UK should remain alert not alarmed. There is no current intelligence to suggest any attack planning of this nature in this country.  However I know these are troubling times and it makes sense for all church leaders to review their security plans and to encourage their flock to be vigilant. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately through 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.

Terrorism seeks to create fear and divisions between people. In Rouen the Church has proclaimed a Gospel of love. Our thoughts and prayers are for Fr Jacques Hamel and the people and parish where he served.

One of the impressive responses in Rouen has been the way in which leaders of the faith communities, who knew each other well, have stood together for peace and against violence and hate.  They might encourage us wherever possible to seek to build good relationships with the communities of other faiths in some of our localities.

The love of Jesus Christ is always vulnerable. Be alert and be sensible but do not stop doing good and being open to the needs of those around you. We are called to the more excellent way of love given us in Jesus Christ.

With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.

+Nicholas Sarum

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Information distributed by the Bishop of Salisbury from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu QPM, Specialist Operations Metropolitan Police on 26th July 2016.

Following the terrible murder of Father Jacques Hamel in France today, and the attack on his congregation our thoughts are with their loved ones, his congregation, community and once again the people of France. We are again reminded of the indiscriminate nature of terrorism and the brutal and senseless actions of these criminals.

Other recent attacks have focussed on innocent people enjoying their freedoms, celebrating with their loved ones, and going about their daily business side by side with other communities of every faith creed and colour.

The police have been working with church leaders here in the UK to establish a communication network through which reassurance and guidance to the Christian community can be passed. This is a terrible tragedy but we must use it to test our ability to communicate to this wider network and I want to offer the following advice.

Church leaders and their congregations here in the UK should remain alert not alarmed. There is no current intelligence to suggest any attack planning of this nature in this country.  However I know these are troubling times and it makes sense for all church leaders to review their security plans and to encourage their flock to be vigilant. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately through 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321.

Advice and guidance on personal security and security for places of worship, as with many other locations, can be found here http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counter-terrorism-protective-security-advice-for-places-of-worship on the National Counter Terrorism website.  

In addition to this advice, commencing today, the Home Office are running a scheme for 8 weeks offering funding for protective security measures subject to application. Detailed information on how to apply can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme

Can I also encourage you all to forge close links with your local police commanders who will be able to advise you further on sensible safety precautions. I know many of you will already have a strong relationship in place.

Additional advice can be found on NaCTSO website http://www.nactso.gov.uk

Run Hide Tell:  http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stay-safe-film

Suzy Lamplugh Trust: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/ 

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