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Christian family of murdered schoolgirl finds comfort in prayers

15 year-old Elianne Andam, a devoted Christian, was attacked on her way to school and stabbed to death in South London on Wednesday morning. A 17 year-old boy has been taken to custody.

A vigil had been held in Croydon, where the family of Elianne was reassured by knowing people were praying for them in these difficult times. They described the girl as “bright and funny, with many friends who all adored her”.

Reverend Rosemarie Mallett spoke at the vigil: “I think every person in Croydon feels it personally as if it could be their own sister, or their own child or their own grandchild, it really hurts the community. At the vigil everyone was hurting badly at the loss of this young life so senselessly. We came together to pray. Elianne’s family are people of deep faith, and they themselves go to church regularly. Elianne was, in their words, a ‘child of God and a lover of Jesus’. And so for them to be held and to know that they’re being held in prayer is extremely important. It helps to be a balm for their soul; So knowing that people are praying for them is really important. And they asked for that. One of the ways we’re thinking about in the short term is providing an opportunity and the space for young people to gather because we know that sometimes when young people hurt, they don’t know how to express the anger or the upset-ness. Local churches have come together as a network a round the community not only to support them in prayer but also to find new ways of engaging with young people who may themselves be finding this difficult”.

She was disheartened by the fact that just one day before Elianne’s murder, the Dioceses of Southwark and London created a scheme aimed to help families who had lost their kids due to violent acts. “It is just so sad that having launched something that we thought would be helpful for churches, who often don’t know what to do when these circumstances occur, the very next morning, the worst of all things happened. I think what we want to continue to do is work with the community, with Croydon Metropolitan Police, and provide partnership opportunities and options for young people. There are many young people like Elianne, who do go to church, and they see church as a place of opportunity and possibility. And we want to offer that to more young people.”

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