The questions, sincere and searching, rang out as Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains talked with people in the falling rain near London’s Tower Bridge last week.
Why has God allowed this to take place?
How do you make sense of this tragedy?
Crisis-trained chaplains from the United Kingdom deployed in the aftermath of the June 3 deadly terrorist attack on London Bridge and the nearby Borough Market. The response marked the eighth time in 18 months that Rapid Response Team chaplains ministered in the wake of tragedy in Europe. Most recently, the team served in Manchester after a fatal bombing at a concert venue.
That was several weeks ago. On June 5, the chaplains found themselves two hours south of that tragedy to minister in the wake of another one.
“We’re here to offer people a listening ear and let them know they don’t stand alone,” said Nigel Fawcett-Jones, a crisis-trained chaplain who oversaw the deployment.
Chaplains listened and talked with people near Potters Fields Park, where a vigil was held. A makeshift memorial was established nearby and began to fill with floral arrangements and other tributes as the chaplains visited with passersby.
Three individuals in particular stopped to share their concerns. One was from Guatemala, another from Mexico and one more from Ireland. They had similar stories. Each had moved to the vibrant, multicultural city to find work. Now they weren’t sure they had made the right call.
“They were talking about how do you put any reason behind what happened because it seemed so random and pointless,” Fawcett-Jones said. “So I was able to stand with them and pray with them and offer hope and pray for their security and their discernment as they looked for employment in the city.”
The crisis-trained chaplains don’t pretend to have all the answers, but they know the One who does. They’re quick to point to the love of Jesus in these times of trial.
This encouragement extends beyond listening and talking with people at the memorials and into the local churches. The chaplains partner with local churches while serving the community, but they also offer training. On the same day of the terrorist attack, chaplains held a Sharing Hope in Crisis training at a church 90 minutes north of London. The training equips members of the local church body to share the hope of Jesus Christ in times of crisis, and helps Christians confidently field the questions asked by so many during the last 18 months in Europe.
The chaplains, though, had one primary question for those they encountered.
How are you holding up?
One woman politely nodded at the chaplain and walked off. Twenty minutes later, she returned and threw her arms around the chaplain’s neck.
“We’re so grateful you’re here.”
Please keep London in your prayers.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team is an international ministry of crisis-trained chaplains ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to natural and man-made disasters. Since its start after 9/11, hundreds of chaplains have shared hope in the midst of crisis, all in the name of Jesus. Support the ministry of the RRT.