Church leaders to hold vigil for Grafton community
GRAFTON is in a state of shock this morning as it comes to terms with the fact a perpetrator of terrorism grew up in their community.
The man accused of the mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 28-year-old Brendon Tarrant, grew up in Grafton and worked as a personal trainer at Big River Gym until 2011, when he left to go travelling overseas.
Church leaders have responded to the grief by inviting the public to attend a prayer vigil at Grafton's Christ Church Cathedral at 6pm this Monday night.
Christ Church Cathedeal Dean, the Very Reverend Dr Gregory Jenks, said the vigil was open to the whole community.
"The invititation is for anybody who wants to come and light a candle or sit quietly," Dr Jenks said.
"I was staggered to think it was somebody from Grafton and straight away I knew that it was going to send ripples through the community.
"It brings home the fact that not only can it happen anywhere, but it can be perpetrated by the guy next door who we know.
"We have members of that family in our parish community. This is going to touch so many people, people who went to school with him, people who worked with him at the gym."
Dr Jenks said it was the parish's social role to provide spiritual hospitality in the heart of the city.
"We're the church that has been here since the beginning of the city, and we have a social role for people to come here for prayer," he said.
"It's a good time to remind people your cathedral is always open. It will be open today, tomorrow and Monday and a more formal event on Monday.
"We are a place for the community, whether they are Anglicans or whatever (demonination).
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in Christchurch, and just as humans we are devasteated for what happened to the people in the mosque saying their prayers."
Riverside Church Grafton pastor Greg Holder said Grafton's religious leaders stood in solidarity to condemn acts of terrorsm and to provide support for the community.
"Personally, I'm in a state of shock to see that something like this could be happen so close to our doorstep," he said. "So I will be supporting my fellow ministers in any vigil and in any way we can support the community.
"We as minsters of Grafton are all equally as shocked and appalled by what has happened in New Zealand. Ww grieve for the families who have suffered great loss in this and as a community we join with the rest of the nation in solidarity against terorism and the senseless loss of humn life.
"My heart is to administer support and comfort to any at all who would be grieving over this senseless act."