Manchester attack: Church leaders unite to offer prayers and support
Church leaders have expressed their "heartfelt sympathy" to the victims of the Manchester bombing and their families.
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Frank Sellar said that "we can little comprehend the searing pain and loss that so many families are experiencing in coming to terms with yesterday evening's atrocity in Manchester".
"Wicked deeds deliberately inflicted on innocent people, especially where children and the young are involved, seem to cut the deepest, and I offer our support and heartfelt sympathy to everyone mourning the loss of loved ones, and those hoping for good news."
Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke conveyed his sympathy to the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Reverend David Walker, conveying his "deep sadness". He also sent assurances of his prayers and those of people here for all those caught up in "this terrible event."
Candles were lit in St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, and special prayers were said. The outgoing Dean of Belfast, the Very Reverend John Mann, said: "Our hearts go out to all the families involved, and our prayers are with them today, and will be in the coming days as this devastating attack brings such sorrow to so many.
"As we pray daily for the evil of this world to be abated, and human beings of all races, nations, creeds and religions to find the common goals of peace and justice, we pray for the perpetrators of violence, that their hearts may be turned to healing and building up, and life, rather than destruction and death."
Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said: "Such a violent and brutal attack inflicts terror and long-lasting trauma on children and families and leaves a wound that can only be healed by compassion, love and solidarity.
"We are praying for the dead, the injured and for all affected by the bombing. Such an awful attack challenges us all to resolve personally to build peace, solidarity and hope everywhere.
"Only in this way can the hearts of those who plan and perpetrate such violent and pointless attacks be changed."
Methodist Church President, Rev Bill Mullally said that he was "appalled."
He said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with those families and friends who have had loved ones killed and injured, and with those who are still waiting for news of loved ones. In this time of distress, may we continue to seek peace and unity among all peoples."