Abbey marks anniversary of Grenfell tragedy

Tuesday, 14th June 2022

Abbey marks anniversary of Grenfell tragedy

A Memorial Service to mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy was held in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 14th June 2022.

The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said in his Bidding:

‘We gather on holy ground, in a place of memory and memorial, in a church at the heart of our national life, to remember those who lost their lives in Grenfell Tower; relatives, friends, and survivors. We gather with the bereaved, and with so many others whose lives were changed on that terrible evening. Five years later the loss and the anguish are still vivid and sharp. We gather in sorrow and in pain. Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost. We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire. Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future.’

Candles were lit as the names of the 72 people who lost their lives in the tragedy were read by: 

  • Father Gerard Skinner, St Francis of Assisi, Notting Hill 
  • Abdurahman Sayed, CEO, The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre Trust, Al-Manaar Mosque  
  • Leon Sassoon, Life President, Holland Road Synagogue 
  • Gurpreet Singh Anand, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Khalsa Jatha British Isles, Central Gurdwara 
  • Father Liqe Teguhan Tekle Mariam, Orthodox Tewahedo Church
  • Aliya Azam MBE, Head of Science, Al Sadiq School and Al Zahra, and Interfaith Advisor, Al Khoei Foundation 

The Right Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, gave the Address, saying:

‘Today we acknowledge the pain, the darkness. We also look up and see the light – we recognise that there is also One that we can trust, a God, a God who loves justice, who promises to be with us and who sooner or later, even if it takes time, brings about justice and goodness - and we are invited to trust in his unfailing love. For those of us who are Christians, we see that in the Resurrection of Jesus, that turned the grief of his death into the joy of Easter. So today we lament. We are not there yet on the journey towards the light. We name the reality, the darkness that happened at Grenfell. Yet we also declare hope – we declare that we are not alone in our longing for justice and resolution – that the God who has planted the desire for justice in our hearts stands with us as we seek goodness.'

Tributes were read by broadcaster Jon Snow and Imran Khan QC; and there were musical performances by Rihab Azar, Nancy Mae, and Damel Carayol and the Community Choir.

The Venerable Tricia Hillas, Canon-in-Residence, read from Psalms 13 and 11; and the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Precentor, led the prayers.

The Dean led an Act of Commitment, with the congregation pledging to remember those who lost their lives; to seek justice for those who have been wronged; to care for those who still carry burdens; to seek peace with all our neighbours; and to uphold the value and dignity of every person. 

At the end of the service, members of the congregation were invited to lay flowers at the Innocent Victims’ Memorial, as the Abbey bell tolled 72 times in remembrance of all those who died.

The Order of Service

A Memorial Service to mark the 5th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy (PDF, 410KB)