CAPTION: Three candles representing the past, present and future will be lit during the service at St Andrew's Church in Plymouth

Plymouth Churches Prepare to Mark Keyham Anniversary

Posted: 9th August, 2022

Churches in Plymouth and their communities are preparing to mark the one-year anniversary on 12 August of the gun attack on Keyham, in which six people died.

There will be a private memorial service at St Andrew’s Church in Plymouth on Friday, which has been planned with some of the bereaved families.

The service will be led by Rev’d Joe Dent and will be structured around the lighting of three candles, representing the past, present and future.

The candles have been created specially for the memorial using recycled candles left in tribute last year to those who died.

Rev’d Joe Dent will be leading a memorial service which has been planned with some of the bereaved families

Rev’d Dent said “A year ago there was a real sense of shock, horror and grief.

“I think that a year on, that sense of grief and loss is just as real, so the service is going to be an opportunity for people to express their grief together, to express their sense of loss together, to pay tribute and to pray.

“Hopefully the service will be a time when those most deeply affected, the bereaved families, those who survived the horrific events and those who responded to them, can come together and express their sadness and pay their respects.”

St Mark’s church in Ford, which is near Keyham, will be open on Friday for people to drop in between 1030 and 1230.

Rev’d Jon Devereux, who leads the church, said “St Mark’s will be opening  and creating a space where anyone can light a candle, say a prayer, have a chat, or simply sit quietly for as long as they may need.

“We didn’t want to overwhelm anybody with a large church service when there are other things happening around the city including a memorial at 7pm in North Down Crescent Park.

Following on from the tragedy last year, St Mark’s was one of a number of local organisations which received Government funding for community projects.

Rev’d Jon Devereux at St Mark’s church with Bishop of Plymouth-elect James Grier in August 2021

Youth Group Funding

“We have seen the community come together in ways that before the tragedy were either not happening or not possible,” Jon said.

“There has also been a provision of funding which has enabled existing groups to grow and develop in ways they may not have otherwise been able to.

“St Mark’s funding helped kickstart a Youth Group in the last couple of months which has been fantastic.

“We have an opportunity to hang out with some of the local kids who were already literally playing in our car park, and little touch points to talk about faith and Jesus. It’s been great fun.”

Jon said that the community of Keyham and the surrounding area still needed a lot of support:

“Prayer has got to be our number one priority at the moment, particularly for the families of the victims and others directly affected by this tragedy.

“We seem to be living in a particularly dark point in history at the moment and the more light we can shed these things through prayer, the better.

“I also think there’s a need for the church to make itself more visible in these sorts of communities.

“We need to be out and about amongst the people we serve (as many already do) not worrying about just getting people into our Sunday services, but actually meeting people where they’re already gathering, and where Jesus is already working.”