London, June 6, 2017 – CAPTAIN Ashish Pawar, whose Southwark Corps (church) hall is five minutes’ walk from the scene of the terrorist attack on London Bridge, has been describing the ‘blessing’ of being able to help people affected by the incident. Seven people were killed and 48 injured when three men attacked members of the public using a van and knives.
When Captain Pawar heard about the attack on Saturday evening, his first thought was: “We need to do something.” He and his wife, Captain Sandra Pawar, opened the hall and laid out some beds for people who were unable to get to their homes or hotels. Seven people stayed the night, joined on occasion by others who needed to charge mobile phones to call their families. The captain says that police used the toilet facilities and that other people stopped by and were offered hot drinks.
“It was a privilege,” he adds, “‘just to be available – saying: ‘We’re open. You’re welcome into this place. No matter who you are or what your story is, just come on in and we’ll serve you.”‘
General André Cox, international leader of The Salvation Army, who was leading meetings in the USA, published a message via his Facebook account, saying: “Words fail … what tragedy in London with the incidents on London Bridge, in Borough Market and at Vauxhall. Oh Lord, our world is broken, senseless and messed up. We desperately need you, Jesus. Please join me in praying for those affected by these incidents, the emergency services as they respond and those in government as they seek to lead us.”
Commissioner Clive Adams (Territorial Commander, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland) was at a territorial event in Birmingham when the attack happened. He returned to London in time to be present at the vigil on Monday evening, and published a message in which he talked about “another monstrous attack by depraved and cowardly men, this time much closer to home – in the borough where we live … in the area where we walk and commute every day. Yet again, my thoughts go to those who mourn loss, and those who are injured both physically and emotionally.”
The Chief of the Staff (Commissioner Brian Peddle), who lives close to London Bridge, tweeted on Monday morning that he had paused on the bridge “for a moment … praying … sad … hoping. We must find a better way.” On Tuesday morning he joined staff and officers from International Headquarters (IHQ) in a minute’s silence to remember those who were killed, injured and otherwise affected by the London Bridge incident, and to pray for peace. Closing the time of contemplation, IHQ Chaplain Major Peter Mylechreest reminded those gathered to be “alert but not alarmed”.