A British Baptist leader expressed “continuing sympathy” for victims of London’s July 7 bombings after similar blasts this Thursday produced panic but no new fatalities.
“We express our continuing sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and to those who were injured on 7/7 and to those who may have been involved in the latest events in London today,” David Coffey, president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said in a statement.
“Here in the UK we have lived for many years with acts of terrorism and believe it is important for Christians to witness to their faith and hope in Jesus Christ,” he said.
Coffey, who is nominated to become next president of the Baptist World Alliance, said the Baptist Centenary Congress will go on as planned in Birmingham, England, July 27-31.
“I encourage all those planning to attend the Congress to come to Birmingham as a witness to our solidarity with a suffering world and a persecuted church,” he said. “Many believers face threats to life on a regular basis. The current climate in the UK provides a context for God to speak to us in a deep way as a gathering of global Baptists.”
According to CNN, attackers tried but failed to set off explosive devices at three Tube stations and on a double-decker bus two weeks to the day after the July 7 attacks, which killed more than 50 people.
Investigators said evidence left behind when bombs failed to explode could provide a “significant breakthrough” in their investigation, but the fact that some of Thursday’s devices failed to explode might indicate they were a copycat crime by less-sophisticated imitators, according to Reuters.
“We know why these things are done,” said British Prime Minister Tony Blair. “They are done to scare people and to frighten them, to make them anxious and worried.”
Meanwhile, The Baptist Times reported names of members of two British Baptist churches who were among those killed in the bombings two weeks ago.
James Adams, 32, a member of Bretton Baptist Church in Peterborough, previously reported as missing, was confirmed dead.
Funeral services were scheduled Friday at Bretton Baptist Church, where Adams was described as a very active member and a former deacon.
His pastor, David Whitlock, told the Baptist Times people in the church “have been very distressed,” and he has “been trying to point people back to God as our refuge and strength.”
Another victim, Gladys Wundowa, who died in a bus bombing, was a member of The Downs Baptist Church in Clapton. A native of Ghana, she leaves behind a husband and two teenagers.
“Gladys was very much part of everyone’s life,” said Pastor Samuel Ghann, adding that the family and church found it “very, very difficult” to cope.
Thelma Godwin, a member of Christ [Baptist] Church in Southgate, was seriously injured when she was caught in the Aldgate subway blast, forcing doctors to amputate her left leg below the knee. Her pastor, Robert Barthram, said news of her injury was a “great shock” to the congregation but she is recovering well.
More than 40 people attended a service last Friday at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, one of several religious services held across the capital, featuring prayer, hymns and readings.
Also members of Bretton Baptist Church, Elaine and Ernest Adams issued a statement saying they did not want anyone to take revenge or scapegoat Muslims over their son’s death.
“James was a deeply loved son and brother, who lived and loved life to the full,” they said. “We do not know who is ultimately responsible for our loss, but we do not hold any religion or faith accountable.”
“James had a deep and strong Christian belief and a love for all people,” they continued. “James would not have wanted any repercussions caused by other people’s misguided views.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.