Riots: Churches open their doors for prayer and reflection

The Church of England is calling on Christians to pray for London and other cities affected by several days of rioting.

The Church has issued a special prayer for church and personal use.

The Prayer for Peace in Our Communities reads:
Gracious God,
We pray for peace in our communities this day.
We commit to you all who work for peace and an end to tensions,
And those who work to uphold law and justice.
We pray for an end to fear,
For comfort and support to those who suffer.
For calm in our streets and cities,
That people may go about their lives in safety and peace.
In your mercy, hear our prayers,
now and always. Amen

The prayer is being widely distributed via Twitter and Facebook, and published on many diocesan and parish websites.

The Church of England said many of its member churches around the country were ministering to their communities at this time.

They are providing a place for quiet prayer and reflection, and are offering help to local people in need.

Many bishops and priests have also been out and about in their communities, meeting and listening to people, and offering comfort and support.

The Diocese of London today appealed to Christians to pray “for the restoration of order and for peace”, and for “safety and understanding”.

Southwark Cathedral, situated in the heart of London, is welcoming people to come in and pray.

The Bishop of Southwark and for Urban Life and Faith, the Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, said the images of violence and destruction on the television screens “do not represent the strong, hopeful and vibrant communities I know so well”.

“I want to appeal to those responsible for the disturbances to stop,” he said.

“Today, as many in our Diocese count the cost of the disturbances, I am deeply saddened to see the images of destruction in familiar places.

“I will in the days ahead visit those communities that have been at the centre of trouble and I continue to promise my support for, and solidarity with, all who seek to build positive and constructive engagement.

“The Christian message is one of hope, love and peace and I know that the churches of Southwark Diocese stand ready to play their part in bringing healing and hope to the places they serve.

"I am asking them to offer special prayers for the healing and peace of our cities when they gather for worship this Sunday and week by week, remembering especially those who have been personally affected and have lost homes and livelihoods.”