On the 13th of March 1996 a man marched into Dunblane Primary School and started shooting kids. 16 children died and one adult.
On Sunday, Michaela and I visited Dunblane. It is a sleepy town, famous only as the town in which tennis player Andy Murray grew up. In fact, he was a pupil in the school during the shooting. It is a small town steeped in gentile prosperous tradition. How on earth do people make sense of such horror? Even all these years later?
What is the place of faith in understanding and finding peace?
I have no answers to these questions really- my children did not die, I was not part of the wider community. I can not begin to presume to understand what the journey might have been like for these people. I do know however that the degree to which experience is collectivised, shared, held in common, can become an essential part of this journey for many.
And for this, I am grateful for the Church. Not because it has answers- easy explanations are an insult. Not because it has skilled pastors, after all there are many more highly trained in counselling the bereaved. Not because the Church can expect to be the point where people gather any more at times of crisis.
But having said all this, where else would people go? Who else can listen to the cries at funerals? Where else can people be to share their grief, their anger, their survivor guilt, their hopelessness?
Standing in the ancient Cathedral building in Dunblane, amongst all those medieval carved stones and brass memorials to men and women long gone, stands a new memorial;