As I write it has been just over a week since the unbelievable news of the Manchester bombing. Family and friends were separated by death and others affected by injury and trauma. Fear gripped the heart of our nation and we poured out messages of love and sympathy to all those affected by the events of that night.

On a beautiful evening just a few days later, a couple of friends and I attended the vigil at The Rose in Campbell park. It was a beautiful service, but what really struck me was the diversity of the 200 people or so that attended. Different races, religions, ages, cultures and social classes joined together in reflective silence, prayer and respect for the people who were affected. In the arriving and departure to the gathering; smiles, greetings and glances were exchanged. People stayed long after the the vigil ended and laid flowers, messages and candles. There was a sense of belonging and of wanting to continue this quiet, yet wonderful fellowship with strangers.

Why is it that the best of humanity always comes out in times of tragedy? This isn’t a new phenomenon; the people who I work with at Westbury Grange talk about community and kindness being prevalent during and just after the second world war.

The challenge we all face is to always give our best regardless of what is happening in our world. We can all play a part in making our community a caring and kind place at all times, not just as an occasional response to tragedy.

This thought reminds me of a song that can also be considered as a prayer:

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow.
To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord; His world and His people.

Birgitte Grace
Chaplaiin, MHA Westbury Grange