St Mary Islington holds vigil against knife crime to remember local father
The Islington community has taken part in a vigil at St Mary’s church in remembrance of JJ McPhillips, a local father who was tragically stabbed in 2017. As well as an opportunity for family and friends to share memories and offer support, the vigil also served as a platform to continue the family’s campaign against knife crime.
Held annually at St Mary’s Islington church, this year’s vigil was attended by representatives of the Crib Youth Project, a Hackney-based community group for young people. The Revd Caroline Shuttleworth, Curate of St Mary Islington, introduced the service before speeches were given by people who knew JJ personally.
The Revd Caroline Shuttleworth, Curate of St Mary Islington, said:
“It is perhaps in times of hardship and grief that a church’s role in its community is most obvious and essential. I pray that those that knew and loved JJ, and all of Islington’s residents, can find support, friendship and God’s love here today. As we come together to share prayers and memories, we are also united by our common hope: that through compassion and the power of community we could help to bring and to knife crime.”
Churches across the Diocese of London are working with their local communities to coordinate campaigns in response to the tragic consequences of knife crime. Last year, the Bishop of Edmonton joined with representatives from local mosques, schools and youth services to launch the Camden and Islington Citizens Civil Society Commission on Violence, an independently organised response to violence across the two boroughs of Camden and Islington. The following December, Camden’s first knife bin was set up outside St Mary’s Church in Primrose Hill.
The Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, said:
“I extend my prayers to everyone who is affected by knife crime. Any premature death as a result of an inappropriate use of a knife is a tragedy, and it has an impact upon us all, especially young people. This issue in London demands our attention, our prayer and our action. It is our shared responsibility to enable all children to grow up, where their safety is assured, and we must have the willingness to work together, and speak out, as a result. Let us live out the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child.”