Church leaders, politicians and charities have united in tributes for the Conservative MP Sir David Amess who's died after being stabbed at a church in Leigh-on-Sea.
The politician was at a constituency surgery on Friday. He was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.
Sir David, 69, was married with five children. He'd served as an MP since 1983.
Mervyn Thomas, the founder president of religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity was a friend of his.
Speaking to Premier, he said: "He was just one of those nice people. He was certainly a social conservative, he was quite right wing. He was certainly a Brexiteer, he took a firm stance on abortion and gay marriage and those kinds of things and yet, he was popular across the house. Politicians of all parties liked and revered David.
"He was a great guy to be around. He was deeply religious, devout and a really God fearing man. He was kind and compassionate, deeply caring. That came across in everything he said and did."
Encouraging Christians to pray, he said: "First of all pray for his wife and family at this time. What they're going through…I just can't begin to think so we need to uphold them in prayer that they will they'll find some peace in this. Also his staff in Parliament.
"Everybody knows that David was a man of faith and sometimes people can blame God in in situations like this but pray that this will turn people to God rather than rather than the other way."
Archbishop of York Most Rev Stephen Cottrell knew Sir David, having grown up in his constituency and served as Bishop of Chelmsford.
Speaking to Premier, he said: "I don't think any of us can get our heads around it. I consider David a friend so its deeply shocking.
"He was a devout Christian and a supporter of the life of the Church
"I can't speak highly enough of him as a human being. A great Christian, a great MP."
Tributes also came in from the Methodist Church. Sir David was at Belfairs Methodist Church when he died.
President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, Rev Sonia Hicks and Barbara Easton in a statement said: “Sir David Amess MP was a faithful and dedicated public servant for many years.
"He was well known to the Methodist family locally and widely respected. We offer our deep condolences to his family, colleagues, friends and constituents. This senseless act of violence is appalling, and we extend our prayers to all who have been affected by it.”
Sir David was a strong campaigner for religious freedom and for pro-life issues.
Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for pro-life charity Right To Life UK, said: “Sir David’s death is a senseless tragedy and he will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Julia and their five children”.
“We have had the honour of working with Sir David over the years across a number of issues and he was a passionate and dedicated patron of our charity”.
“Sir David was a pro-life champion. Since he was elected in 1983, he always, where possible, used his position as an MP to stand up for the vulnerable, including championing initiatives to introduce more protections for unborn babies and more support for women facing crisis pregnancies”.
“Everyone who worked with Sir David knew him to be a kind, caring and jovial man, who showed real care for the most vulnerable in our society”.
Leader of English and Welsh Catholics Cardinal Vincent Nichols has also paid tribute. He said: “The tragic death of David Amess creates a painful loss in so many lives. I pray for him that he be welcomed into the merciful presence of Our Heavenly Father. I pray for his family and friends, those reeling from shock at this time. I pray for his constituents all those who worked with him in his political career.
“This death throws a sharp light onto the fact that our Members of Parliament are servants of the people, available to people in their need, especially in their constituencies. This horrific attack, as David was undertaking his constituency surgery, is an attack on our democratic process and traditions.
“David carried out his vocation as a Catholic in public life with generosity and integrity. He served in Parliament for four decades and was respected by all political parties across the House. His untimely death is a great loss."