“We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.” – Jo Cox’s, first speech to Parliament.The words of Jo Cox, in her first speech to Parliament, are a poignant reminder at this time of the need for us and our communities to show our strength in unity, and that those who seek to cause divisions will fail. This morning we woke to news of another terrorist attack, this time targeted at a group of worshippers close to a mosque in Finsbury Park, London. This attack comes as we continue to grieve as a nation following previous attacks at London Bridge, Manchester, and Westminster; as with all past attacks, this most recent attack is utterly abhorrent. It flys against the values we hold dear as a nation. And it must not be allowed to increase or foster divisions within our communities. Following the recent terror attacks, and the Grenfell Tower tragedy, each incident has been marked by the kindness and love of the local communities who have come together to serve those in need of compassion, to show love to those who have been bereaved, to care for the injured, to support those who have lost their homes. Each time there are stories of heroism, of ordinary people who have in the face of utter horror, stood up against acts of evil, to put their own safety on the line to help others. The emergency services have also shown true bravery in their handling of horrific situations, and their work to keep us safe in the face of terrible acts is truly inspirational. This latest attack comes after a weekend when many faith and community groups, including several Salvation Army churches, celebrated the Great Get Together in memory of MP Jo Cox. In total 120,000 events are said to have taken place across the country, and it is truly wonderful to see communities coming together in unity to celebrate the good things we all share – love, compassion, and hope. Jo Cox’s husband has said that Jo’s drive came from a focus on the unity of communities, and the bringing together of people. Photo taken at Bramley Salvation Army's Great Get Together Event Jo’s legacy of unity and togetherness is as important today as it ever was. As a Christian church and charity we stand together with our Muslim friends, and we are thankful for the freedoms we share being able to worship freely as we choose in this country, and we remain united with them today. We remember those around the world who don’t have these freedoms and hope that our communities in the UK will hold fast to these values and remain united in love and compassion.
Blog by Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts, The Salvation Army's Ecumenical Officer for the UK with the Republic of Ireland