Search

Prince Charles meets families of terror attack victims on visit to Manor Park Tamil church

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 December 2019

The Prince of Wales meets families and community groups during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales meets families and community groups during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales said that “compassion and community will always prevail” during a visit to a Tamil Christian church in Manor Park.

The Prince of Wales speaks with East Ham MP Stephen Timms during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Church. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA WireThe Prince of Wales speaks with East Ham MP Stephen Timms during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Church. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

Prince Charles told the congregation the terrorist atrocities in Sri Lanka, which claimed the lives of more than 250 people when churches and hotels were targeted in April, were "an assault on religious freedom everywhere".

Among the worshippers at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, in High Street North, were those who lost family and friends in the attacks.

He expressed his solidarity with the worshippers during an advent service on Wednesday, December 18 and said: "I've come here to stand with this community in remembrance of all those who were killed or whose lives were changed forever in the utterly barbaric attack on churches in Sri Lanka this past Easter day.

"There are no words that can heal the wounds that you and your fellow Christians have endured, but I did so want you all to know just how much I, and so many people in this country, mind about what you've suffered and how much we have been thinking of you all."

The Prince of Wales makes a speech as he attends an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA WireThe Prince of Wales makes a speech as he attends an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

You may also want to watch:

A collection was made for one of the bombed churches during the service, and in an adjoining church hall Charles was later shown static displays of the religious sites targeted, which included some pictures of the victims.

Many of those killed were Sri Lankan but there were a number of foreign nationals, including from India, America and Britain.

With a cup of tea in his hand, Prince Charles chatted to Kamiston Jogathilaraja, 27, originally from Sri Lanka but now living in nearby East Ham, who lost six members of his wider family and four friends in the bombing of Saint Anthony's Shrine.

The Prince of Wales meets families and community groups during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA WireThe Prince of Wales meets families and community groups during a reception after he attended an advent service at the Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. Picture: Tim Whitby/PA Wire

Mr Jogathilaraja said: "Jesus told us to forgive those who do wrong to you and show the other cheek, but even though we did it and are Christians, sometimes it's hard - because we are human - just to forgive."

Speaking about a cousin killed in the bombing, he added: "Every time I see my cousin's wife, whose got a three-month-old baby, crying in front of my cousin's picture it's very hard - but at the end of the day we are forgiving, we are just moving on as a nation."

Before leaving, the prince unveiled a plaque to mark his visit and went on a brief walkabout, meeting a small group of well-wishers who had gathered outside.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Newham Recorder