Holy Trinity Church on Clapham Common opened its doors Friday for people wishing to pray for Sarah Everard, her family and the local community.
Human remains found hidden in woodland in Kent have been identified as that of the 33-year-old marketing executive. A serving Metropolitan Police officer, who is aged in his 40s, remains in custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering her.
Around 50 people were in attendance during the service that lasted around 30 minutes. Five services will also be held this Sunday. Revd Jamie Mulvaney is Associate Minister at the church. He spoke to Premier beforehand and said anyone was welcome:
"We will be leading some prayers from the front. But really, we want to leave lots of silence for people to reflect and to pray. And we're really keen that everyone feels welcome to come whether or not they have experienced praying before."
"We've actually recently put up a banner, we put up a banner yesterday outside our church with the words 'there is hope'. And we've been planning that for some weeks. And for us, on the Common we were wanting to be a visible sign of pointing to Jesus, that at Easter, we see Jesus, he's the man of sorrows, who has borne all our pain, all our suffering, all our grief, that he's with us in our grief. But we also have good news of Jesus rising from the dead, and Jesus is the one who can get us through. And so even in such shockingly tragic circumstances, we can still be a visible sign of hope to the community."
Scotland Yard is facing an investigation by the police watchdog into its handling of a separate allegation of indecent exposure against the arrested officer, who is in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is to probe whether two officers "responded appropriately" after receiving a report that a man had exposed himself at a fast-food restaurant in south London on February 28 - three days before Ms Everard went missing.
The watchdog is also assessing a referral relating to police actions after Ms Everard was reported missing, as well as another in relation to the suspect being taken to hospital. He was treated for a head injury sustained while alone in his cell on Thursday. The Met said he received immediate first aid and was later discharged from hospital before being returned to the police station where he is being held.
A forensics team was searching an area of land outside the back fence of the suspect's house in Deal, Kent, on Friday, while uniformed officers were posted at a derelict garage in Dover, which was run by his family.
Ms Everard vanished while walking home from a friend's flat in south London on 3rd March.
She is thought to have walked through Clapham Common towards her house in Brixton - a journey which should have taken around 50 minutes - and was last captured on a doorbell camera walking along the A205 Poynders Road towards Tulse Hill at around 9.30pm.
A vigil was due to take place at Clapham Common bandstand in south London on Saturday - but organisers are now seeking legal action after claiming the Metropolitan Police reversed their position on allowing the event to go ahead.
Additional reporting by PA