Prayers for the 25th anniversary of Dunblane tragedy

The 16 primary school children and their teacher killed in Dunblane 25 years ago today will be remembered in the prayers of people across the nation.

A tribute to their memory will be included in an online service broadcast by Dunblane Cathedral tomorrow.

Memorial to Dunblane Tragedy
The memorial inside Dunblane Cathedral.

The prayers will be read by Rev Colin Renwick who is the minister at the cathedral which contains a stone memorial to those who tragically lost their lives.

He said: "Many people in Dunblane will be marking this particular anniversary as they mark the 13th of March every year – quietly, privately and with respect for those who lost their lives in the tragedy of 25 years ago.

"They will also be remembering those whose grief will always be deepest, and the people who still, in one way or another, bear scars.

"Some will light a candle in their home, spending time in quiet reflection, prayer and remembering.

"For those who lost someone in the tragedy, every day will be one of remembering in some way, and the anniversaries that will be just as poignant for them will be the birthdays of those they have lost, as they ponder what might have been.

"As is the case every year, the people lost and those affected most profoundly, will be remembered in prayers in churches throughout the community, including Dunblane Cathedral, on the Sunday closest to the 13th March.

"Sadly, because of restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dunblane Cathedral, in common with all church buildings and other historic properties, is currently closed, and worship is being held online."

Rev Colin Renwick
Rev Colin Renwick

Prayers during the online service will include words inscribed on the ‘Memorial to the Tragedy', set within the south aisle of the Cathedral: ‘Hear the Truth. Unless your hearts are changed and you become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven at all.'

Taken from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, verse 3, translated by E.V. Rieu) and The Children's Prayer by R.H. Stoddard - "If there is anything that will endure the eye of God, because it is pure, it is the spirit of a little child."

Reflecting on what happened in the central Scotland town 25 years ago, Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church or Scotland, said: "It was one of the darkest days in Scotland's modern history.

"Such atrocities happened elsewhere until that day and nothing was quite the same afterwards.

"I'll be taking time this weekend to pray for those who were left bereaved and for whom the remembering will be sore."

"In Dunblane, snowdrops are a symbol of fragile hope - emerging from the deepest of shock; of the resilience of people who feel their own fragility; of the determination that out of something unspeakably terrible, things should change for the better, making this country a safer place for all children and adults of future generations." Rev Colin Renwick.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, yourself once a child, vulnerable and at risk,

In silence we pray when words are not enough to capture the depths within,

Or simply an intrusion into that place within us, where quietness should dwell…

Within these walls, that have rung with the laughter and the songs of children,

and witnessed the tears and heartbroken prayers of adults,

we remember, and we pray…

We remember all those who will, forever, remain as children in our hearts…

We remember a teacher whose greatest instinct was to protect those entrusted to her care…

We remember the parents, the siblings, the grandparents, the friends, who will always mourn…

We remember all who bear scars to this very day…

As the fragile snowdrop breaks through the cold winter earth,

And somehow endures the elements that buffet it,

We give thanks for the resilience of many, and for the determination, arising out of tragedy, this country should be safer place than it used to be.

We pray for children throughout the world who are denied adequate food or clean water, or the education or opportunity through which their gifts can develop.

We pray for all children whose innocence is abused, and whose spirits wither through lack of encouragement.

We pray for all parents, whose hearts are breaking.

Christ, the healer,

We pray for all whose spirits are broken,

Whose bodies are weak or threatened by disease,

Or whose minds are tormented.

Bring healing, bring peace.

We pray those who govern, that they may always strive for justice for all, and for a fairer, safer world.

We pray for your Church, that with courage, humility, imagination and faithfulness, it may follow, and demonstrate, the way of Christ.

And we remember all those whom we love and have lost, be they young or old.

Within the communion of saints, in all its variety, may they, even when out of our sight, continue to inspire us as they behold you face, God of heaven and earth.

All our prayers, and those too deep for any words, we offer through Christ our Lord.