… and what a fantastic, inspiring and suitably exhausting week it’s been for our 17 youth gatherers and all of us on the organising team! Discussion, singing, learning, worshipping, socialising and simply hanging out together in and around the nucleus of St Michael’s House’s reconciliation ministry team base.
Here in Coventry we wish them all the very best as they head back to their regular lives in Germany, Austria, Poland, the USA, Mauritius, India, South Africa and elsewhere in the UK. Please stay in touch!
It’s been a fantastic team effort as well, and thanks to all staff, interns, session leaders, overseas colleagues and Cathedral volunteers who have helped make this all work so well. View the daily videos from the gathering at the foot of this post!
Each night a different nationality team closed the day with a team-led compline, and below is part of the prayer from the South African group, with thanks to Rhine Phillip Tsobotsi Koloti:
As we honor the legacy of our revered Archbishop Desmond Tutu, we also honor his commitment to prayers that are not independent of; but that are accompanied by concrete actions for justice. It is in this spirit that we recognize that thoughts and prayers ring hollow, in the absence of action for justice.
Let us pray…
God most compassionate, God most merciful
We recognize the futility of lighting candles for the victims of Terrorism
When the blood of the dead protestors stain the pages of the report which lies yet unattended
We recognize the hypocrisy of offering thoughts and prayers for the so-called conflict in Israel and Palestine
While keeping our beliefs about divine access to land “in check”
We recognize the futility of offering food parcels for the poor during the holidays,
When we support structural systems that prescribe unjust minimum wages,
Which can barely sustain a family on cheap genetically modified foods
We recognize the futility of praying about state capture
While the resources of the country remain firmly captured in past economic injustices
We recognize the futility of offering thoughts and prayers
In the aftermath of the rapes and murders of lesbians in this country
When we judge, based on our sacred texts, and cultural beliefs
same love to be unnatural,
instead of recognizing that love is kind and patient and knows not judgement;
Love is indeed divine
We recognize the futility of building shelters for battered women
While we still preach that the man is the head of the home
We recognize the futility of prayers for reconciliation
when there is little action for reparation
Indeed, we recognize God most compassionate, that there is little use for thoughts and prayers when death and destruction are already before us
Help us therefore, dear God, to concern ourselves more with life before death, than worry about life after death
Give us the courage, our creator,
to supplement, strengthen and sustain our thoughts and prayers with policy and change;
With active agitation for a world of equity, dignity and truth;
And a yearning for peace that’s not simply the absence of war but the presence of justice.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
And from the German team:
O Lord, thank you for this wonderful day.
As we travel home, we pray for a safe journey.
We pray for our families and friends who are expecting us.
Let us keep this wonderful gathering in our hearts and minds:
The talks we had with different people
The discussions we had in this group
The nice evenings we’ve had together
and also the new friendships we are building
Lord, we also pray for those who could not take part.
Give them the chance to join in the next one.
Thinking back over the last week, we think of those close to our hearts.