MESSAGES of support have been sent from across the country to a Sheffield church after the murder of its organist, writes Richard Marsden.
Bishop of Sheffield Dr Steven Croft revealed that ‘people far and wide’ have contacted the church and diocese in sympathy after the death of Alan Greaves.
The 68-year-old retired social worker and lay preacher died in hospital on Thursday, three days after he was attacked on Greengate Lane, High Green, on Christmas Eve.
Alan, a grandfather who was married to Church Army evangelist Maureen, was on his way to Midnight Communion at St Saviour’s Church in High Green when he was attacked.
Dr Croft said: “There has been an outpouring of prayer and support I know from neighbours and friends. People far and wide have sent messages of support to the church here, including other organists and readers.
“That support needs to continue into the coming years as Maureen and the family struggle to come to terms with what has happened.”
Dr Croft has also spoken of the ‘immense appreciation’ for the medical teams who fought to save Alan’s life in the ambulance and later at hospital.
The Bishop added: “There will be appreciation for the police for the way they have pursued their investigation and for those who have come forward with information.
“Police are still appealing for any witnesses to come forward with any information.
“Maureen has said very clearly and powerfully that she longs for justice not for vengeance, again bearing witness to her own deep faith in the midst of the sharpest agony of her life.”
Dr Croft described Alan as a ‘genuine servant of Christ, a reader who preached in the church and an organist who loved to help God’s people sing his praises’.
He added: “On Christmas Eve, violence, evil and murder visited this community in the attack on Alan Greaves as he was on his way to church.
“We should feel angry about that. We should be reminded that this world needs saving and needs a saviour. We should be recalled and strengthened and deepened in the faith which Alan was living out in his daily life and the final steps he took.”
Two men, one aged in his 20s, the other in his 40s, arrested on suspicion of Alan Greaves’ murder have been released on police bail.
* Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.