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Church opens doors after tragedy outside

A church held a special service for the grieving family and friends of two young men killed in a car accident outside its doors.

HalifaxLee Mount Baptist Church in Halifax overlooks the dual carriageway where Benjamin Brearcliffe, aged 20, and front seat passenger Michael Hudson, 19, died when their vehicle left the carriageway and collided with a lamp post at 10pm on Friday night (7 February).

Minister the Revd Terry Hepworth noticed the number of young people gathering at the site of the accident when he arrived at the church for the Sunday morning service.

Feeling they needed a focal point for their grief, he decided, in discussion with his deacons, to open the church that Sunday evening at 5pm.

The two men were not from Halifax, but Queensbury five miles away. Terry was able to advertise the service through Facebook.

Word spread, and around 70 people came to the service, including the mother, sister and uncle of one of the men killed.

Terry led from the front, saying prayers. Candles were lit and a number of those gathered spoke.

Church members were on hand to sit and pray with people. The gathering lasted a couple of hours, and meant the evening service was cancelled.

‘I just felt that they needed somewhere to pay their respects,’ said Terry. ‘My deacons thought it was a good idea.

‘We weren’t sure if anybody would come as the lads were not from the area, but even so felt it important that the church showed we cared.

‘There were lots of tears, lots of candles lit. We gave them space, we prayed with them. One of the mothers thanked me.

‘We simply offered them our love at a tragic time. My church members did all the work – they are absolutely wonderful.’
Baptist Times, 13/02/2014
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