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Bishop of Manchester urges Christians to pray following shopping centre stabbings
Rt Rev David Walker has encouraged Christians to pray following a stabbing incident in a shopping centre in central Manchester.
Counter-terror police are investigating after four people were injured at the Arndale centre on Friday morning.
Three people have been hospitalised following an attack by a knifeman who was said to have been "lunging at people" at random.
Speaking to Premier, the Bishop of Manchester offered his prayers to all those involved: "Heavenly Father we hope before we the situation at the centre in central Manchester today.
"We pray for all those affected by it and those whose lives and livelihoods may be affected by it in the future.
"We pray your peace upon those who are worried. We pray your healing upon those who are hurt. We pray your justice and your mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The incident comes two years after a suicide bomber carried out an attack at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in which 23 people died.
Bishop David has encouraged the Church to take a prayerful response as details of the incident continue to unfold.
He said: "I think it's really important that we don't speculate as to what the motives or issues might be that underlie this - that will come up, I'm sure, in good time."
"Pray for all those who've been caught up in it - being involved in an incident like this can be very traumatic, it might take people a long time before they feel able to return to the centre.
"Pray for the police and the responders, but also for the staff who work there."
Bishop David commended the strength and unity of the people of Manchester in light of difficult situations.
"I'm awfully proud of the way in which Manchester has responded to some dreadful things, not least the arena attack a couple of years ago, but people do come together, they do realise we're one city.
"And we need to work together and love each other and care for each other in order to achieve that.
"I'm confident Manchester is strong enough, whatever the motivations behind today's incident, whatever the damage that's been done but Manchester is resilient enough to continue to inhabit that space of loving one another and being light in the darkness."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded on Twitter saying: "Shocked by the incident in Manchester and my thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.
"Thank you to our excellent emergency services who responded and who are now investigating what happened."
A man in his 40s has been arrested on suspicion of serious assault and taken to custody for questioning, according to a statement by Greater Manchester Police.
The Arndale Centre remains closed as investigations continue to take place.