Very shortly after the tragic and senseless murder of Sir David Amess in October 2022, Love Southend arranged a time of prayer by Zoom for Sir David’s family, friends, colleagues and the many across the borough as it was then who were shocked by his premature loss. We brought this time of personal and corporate grief to the One who Sir David himself knew as the Father of all comfort.
As we prayed we sensed the love and compassion of God embracing individuals and the borough.
We were also inspired by the outstandingly powerful and insightful words released so shortly after his death by his family:
‘Strong and courageous is an appropriate way to describe David.
He was a patriot and a man of peace. So, we ask people to set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward. Set aside hatred and work towards togetherness.’
Love Southend commissioned artist Helen Yousaf to capture what we had sensed in prayer. She travelled to Southend and started to work collaboratively with people who were present at the prayer Zoom on 3 pieces of art which she took away to complete. The finished works were first seen at the ‘Unite in Light’ event at the Cliff’s Pavilion as part of the celebration of Southend’s city status.
The piece presented to the Council and City at a full council meeting on October 20th depicts prayers and grief rising from our borough, and in response God’s comfort and compassion as shards of light.
At the tree-planting in memory of Sir David at Chalkwell Park a few days earlier the Mayor referred to that horrendous murder as one of the darkest days in the history of Southend. And so it was. We are grateful that God’s light shines in the darkness of the darkest of nights, and the darkness cannot overcome it.