Orlando, Jo Cox : How Can We Pray?

Violence and hate crime has been in the news again – a devastating shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and then the shooting of MP Jo Cox. On Friday, at the Wellington Road Hounslow mosque, I heard our MP Ruth Cadbury speak movingly about her friend and colleague Jo Cox, terribly murdered while serving her constituency. And this week all eyes are on Europe, as we vote in the EU referendum and the football tournament rumbles on accompanied by yet more violence.

How can we pray? Every Sunday we pray ‘Your kingdom come’ in the Lord’s Prayer. This is both a heartfelt note of thanks to God when we glimpse justice, mercy and peace come into our lives in fractions, and is also a cry of lament when we long for more of these things. We also pray ‘Forgive us our sins’ as we remember that our own lives are not as full of love of God, or love of others different to us, as we would hope. The following prayer is adapted from a prayer written this week by Rev Sally Hitchener, a chaplain at Brunel University in Uxbridge, whose ministry brings her into frequent contact with young people from the LGBT community.

We pray for those directly affected by violence: the grieving, the injured, both physically and mentally; For those indirectly affected by violence: the fearful, the vulnerable, the marginalised, the elderly, those in public life, for young people and their parents who worry; For those in the emergency services who courageously run towards mayhem, and not away from it – and who continue to care for those in need; For those in government and the public services as they respond – and those who work to limit public access to firearms and weapons; For those who fuel fear, hatred, homophobia and islamophobia in an already dark world – and even for those who commit and incite crimes of violence, that all may come to know God and God’s love for all humanity.


Remembering Nicola Canning

On Friday 3rd June, St John’s was filled with over 300 people who came together for the funeral of Nicola Canning (of Linkfield Road), mother of 3 children, and a TA at Isleworth Town Primary School, who died after a battle with Motor Neuron Disease. The family have had links with St John’s over the years, and her husband Derrick spoke passionately about his journey. Nicky had the terrible, terrible Motor Neuron disease these last 6 months, and in the last 3 months was effectively disabled. I looked after her – I never left her side, I cared for her from A-Z. She lost everything – her ability to walk, and then to talk. This was devastating as she was such a beautiful, active and caring person. This is an aggressive disease that was unbearable for all of us to watch take hold of Nicky. On the 21st May, a Saturday, the family were at her bedside including sisters Lucy and Sarah. I was the only one who would help her move on the bed. And on that Saturday, while I was holding her arms, my wife passed away in my hands. Belief in God is hard at this time, but I am thankful I could be with her when she died and I have continued to pray for strength for myself and my children. Please can we all commit ourselves to raising awareness and financial support for those who are working hard to find out how to stop this terrible disease from ravaging wonderful people like Nicola. In particular, I would like to draw to your attention the work of the Motor Neuron Disease Association and the research and care they provide for sufferers and their families.

Please remember Derrick and his family in your prayers and consider making a donation to the Motor Neuron Disease Association.