The Rt Revd Paul Bayes has commented on the Hillsborough Inquest verdict.
We have waited a long time for these determinations, and today was bound to be a difficult day. It brings raw emotions and painful memories to the surface once again, for the families and for our city region. But there is also real comfort today, because the accusations at the time that Liverpool’s fans contributed to this tragedy have finally been proven to be false.
The steady journey continues. The families have always said that they seek truth and justice, and the inquests have worked longer than any in British legal history to uncover the truth. Now justice must follow.
I pay tribute to those whose courage and tenacity has never wavered over the years. In particular I honour my predecessor Bishop James Jones and the work he did with the Independent Panel which did so much to get us to this point. Now we move forward once again on this long journey to justice. Together with my colleagues from all the churches, I commit myself to support those who hurt, help those who grieve and show God’s love and compassion for all.
As we take in this week’s news and consider our reactions, let us not lose sight of what is most important. At the heart of this story are the 96 people who lost their lives and countless more who have had their lives and their hearts broken. We honour the families and those who have supported them over the years. We honour those who have stood for truth and justice. Ours is a story of loss, grief and pain. This story continues because that pain continues, but we will walk forward with hope in our hearts. And as Christians we believe that the God of all love and strength will walk alongside us into the future.
At the heart of this story are the 96 people who lost their lives and countless more who have had their lives and their hearts broken. We honour the families and those who have supported them over the years.
Joint statement from the Presidents of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region
Today we have reached another significant milestone in a journey of grief and a quest for justice that has dominated the life of our city for too long. We stand together as church leaders and commit ourselves afresh to support those who hurt, help those who grieve and show God’s love and compassion for all.
We have now had confirmed what many recognised to be true from the outset of this tragedy. Yet there remain unanswered questions and unresolved accountabilities. No judicial action can bring back the lives of those who were lost or undo the sorrow of those who continue to mourn them. And we cannot escape the reality that this verdict comes too late for some who did not live to see the consummation of their tireless quest.
At the heart of the Christian faith is a narrative of justice, and justice must be allowed to take its course. But our Christian message is also one of forgiveness, grace and mercy. It is only now that some of the wounds can begin to heal and that some of the hurts can begin to be released – truth and justice are crucial to that process, but grace and mercy must also play their part in the journey forward.
Now is the time for us to show our true dignity; we must not now become consumed by bitterness, recrimination and hate, as we allow justice to take its course. We continue to pray for the families of the 96 and everyone whose lives are affected and scarred by this tragedy.
The Rt Revd Paul Bayes Bishop of Liverpool
The Most Revd Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP Archbishop of Liverpool
The Rt Revd Tom Williams Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool
The Revd Phil Jump Regional Minister North West Baptist Association
The Revd Dr Sheryl Anderson Chair of the Liverpool District
The Revd Jacky Embrey Moderator, URC Mersey Synod
Major Drew McCombe Divisional Leader, Salvation Army
Nic Harding – Director of Together for the Harvest
Prayer for Hillsborough
O God of all power, wisdom and love,
source of all truth and justice
to whom we must all one day render an account:
look with mercy, we pray, on the children of this city and region
and especially on the family and friends of the 96.
As we acknowledge all those whose support
has finally brought us to this day
so we ask you now to heal the bitter wounds of the past
to give us thankful hearts for the present time
and to grant us great hope for a better future
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Statement from Archbishop Malcolm
Statement issued by The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, following the Hillsborough verdicts.
Since the awful events that unfolded when Liverpool played Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989, the families of the deceased and all who survived that appalling tragedy have been relentless in their quest for justice.
I would like to thank the coroner and the jurors for their careful consideration of the evidence and all whose work has led to the conclusion of the inquest into the death of the 96. I hope that the acknowledgment that those who died were unlawfully killed will bring comfort to the survivors and the families of the 96.
May they rest in peace, to be for ever remembered in the hearts and minds of the people of Liverpool.