Prayers for Hillsborough justice
A year on from the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, Merseyside Church leaders reissue vigil prayers
Baptist minister the Revd Phil Jump joined colleagues from across the Christian Church on Merseyside in calling people to remember the prayers that concluded events on the day the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel was made public. A vigil attended by the families of the 96, along with political, civic and religious leaders was held on the evening of 12 September 2012 on the steps of St Georges’ Plateau in Liverpool.
The poignant service was brought to a close with an ecumenical prayer led by Mr Jump, North Western Baptist Association Regional Minister, and Roman Catholic Bishop Tom Williams. They prayed for dignity and patience as the journey from truth to justice began its course.
Chaired by the Revd James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool, the report highlighted a catalogue of police lies and a culture of cover-up in relation to the disaster, when 96 people lost their lives on overcrowded terraces ahead of an FA Cup semi-final in 1989. Relatives of the victims have campaigned for 23 years to find out exactly what happened.
A year on, concerns have been expressed at an apparent lack of progress. Those involved in leading the various reviews and enquiries have asked for patience and time in the light of a complex and difficult task. Church leaders have adapted the words of the original prayer to better relate to circumstances a year on.
Mr Jump said, 'We hope that re-issuing the prayer will be an encouragement to those who long for justice to wait with patient dignity, and a reminder to those tasked with taking things forward of their moral responsibility.
'It is our hope that whatever their faith identity, people might find some hope and encouragement by remembering these words again, and also the many thousands of people who gathered that evening to stand for truth and justice.'
Congregations are encouraged to pray for the ongoing investigations and also renew their commitment to oppose injustice in its every form.
God of justice and peace,
Help us hold fast to the dignity restored through the Hillsborough Report;
Truth unwrapped from deception, has paved the way for justice and peace to be found.
Give us grace to walk on with dignity,
And help us live lives that bear testimony to our true character that has now been acknowledged.
Grant diligence and courage to those who must now take forward the cause of justice,
And patience to those who long for its coming.
Bless O Lord this ongoing and noble pursuit,
And thwart any plan to stand in its way.
Bless the waiting and the hoping of the families, the survivors, the supporters
And all who feel the pain of these events.
Bless those whose endeavours may indeed bear the fruit of justice
Bless our city and those throughout the world who suffer injustice