The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Confronting COVID-19 together – in music, words and film

July 8, 2020
The pandemic seems to have taught us so much about the importance of supporting each other, even if we still can’t get close to each other. Spiritual connection has become more and more important. And so, we open the latest Words of Connection with a heartwarming music film from Ali Youssefi entitled One Tree with words by Abdu’l-Bahá, who was head of the Baha’i faith from 1892 until 1921:
If you would like to join in with the singing, the words appear in our first reading today, along with a quotation about religion, also by Abdu’l-Bahá. Our second reading is entitled Psalm for a Pandemic and is written by the Singapore based poet and writer Theophilus Kwek. Once more thanks go to Write Where we are now
From The Leo Baeck College book Healing Prayers, Meditations and Sermons in the Time of COVID-19, we have taken A Twenty Second Prayer During Handwashing by Trisha Arlen.
The fourth reading is a superb earth prayer by Jennie Frost Butler.
Once more, we hope you enjoy Words of Connection; do not to hesitate to send prayers or poems that you think may be appropriate. 
Hoping that you are able to stay well and strong at this unpredictable time,
Very best wishes
Rev Anthea Ballam
Chair IFCG


Gather all people beneath the shadow of Thy bounty and cause them to unite in harmony, so that they may become as the rays of one sun, as the waves of one ocean, and as the fruit of one tree. May they drink from the same fountain. May they be refreshed by the same breeze. May they receive illumination from the same source of light. Thou art the Giver, the Merciful, the Omnipotent.



Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every soul. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it would be better to be without it… Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”


Theophilus Kwek

Left to themselves, the shapes of all green things
begin to describe their own flourishing.

A field rouses itself into a mist,
a shimmer of birds among its tallest

grasses. From bridges, the bougainvillea
let their long hair down. Kerbside, the verges

surge without remorse. Even the trees
are no longer wood but water – like the sea

unshored they spill out over the pavement,
catch our feet in their slow accoutrements.

Iron gives way to ivy. Where are the
hard words now, of our roadsigns and hazards?

As hair gone uncut, the whole earth thickens.
We can be kind too, if they let us.


Trisha Arlen

 As I take up my hands
to wash them and
reassure my heart,
I pray for healing and wholeness
for the whole world.

I remember that every life
is unique and of infinite value:
from those living
on the most remote part of the globe
to those in our cities
to our neighbours and family members.
Let me use my hands for good
to help bring love
and compassion to others.

“Let us lift up
our hearts and hands
to the Eternal.” (Lam 3:41)


Jennie Frost Butler

Infinite Spirit, when I pray each day
for shelter for the homeless,
let me not ignore the pet without home;

As I ask protection for those in areas
of turmoil and unrest,
let me not forget endangered species of life;

When I pray that the hungry be fed,
let me be mindful
that all God’s creatures have need of sustenance;

As I ask Divine assistance for those afflicted
by fire, flood, earthquake, storm or drought,
let me remember that this includes every living thing;

In seeking miracle cures for human disease
may I also speak for the well-being of the planet itself;

Let the words of my mouth,
the meditations of my heart
and the actions of my life be as one,
that I may live each day in harmony
with Mother Earth. Amen.