The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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From Lewes, Ireland, The East and The West… Visionary Poetry and Prayers

June 24, 2020

Spiritual harmony is to be found everywhere. This week’s Words of Connection opens with a superb short poem from the gifted poet Grace Nichols. Grace lives in Lewes and wrote this compassionate poem only last month. It comes from the website Write Where we are Now –   which we have used as a source of inspiration on a couple of occasions… and strongly recommend.


We also have two very different prayers, contributed by The Quakers, and from Charlotte Gravestock, Secretary of the IFCG. The Quaker prayer comes from the Australian artist and poet Michael Leunig, and was sent to us by Helen Ledger. The Warrior prayer was written by Angel Kyodo Williams, ordained Zen priest and author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace (2000).


A poem by the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly seems to have immediate resonance at this moment in time, as does a Universal Prayer for the World written by the American spiritual philosopher, politician and activist – Marianne Williamson. It comes from her book Illuminata (1994)

Hoping that you stay well at this time, and are able to enjoy the latest sunny weather. Please do send us your contributions, and let us know your views on Words of Connection. Your feedback is always important

Very best wishes
Chair IFCG


Grace Nichols

When it’s all over and hopefully it will be over,
I’ll probably look back and miss
this strange web of our togetherness –

The impromptu arias at windows
and balconies, the orchestras of pots
and pans and hands beating a metronome

Of gratitude to keep airborne
the spirits of our nurses, doctors,
all our care-workers –

The live streaming of ballet dancers
pirouetting trickily around their children,
now like everyone at home –

All the WhatsApp calls and video links
from friends and relatives, my daughters’ faces
surfacing on the small sky of my mobile –

Yes, the virtual world can console.
But watch how easily I’ll trade it –
for the simple harbour of a hug.



From The Quakers
A  prayer by Australian poet and artist, Michael Leunig.

We pray for balance and exchange.
Balance us like trees. As the roots of the tree shall equal its branches so must the inner
life be equal to the outer life. And as the
leaves shall nourish the roots so shall the
roots give nourishment to the leaves.
Without equality and exchange of
nourishment there can be no growth and no love.



Warrior-Spirit Prayer of Awakening

by Angel Kyodo Williams, ordained Zen priest and author of ‘Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace’ (2000)

May all beings be granted with the strength, determination and wisdom to extinguish anger and reject violence as a way.
May all suffering cease and may I seek, find, and fully realize the love and compassion that already lives within me and allow them to inspire and permeate my every action.
May I exercise the precious gift of choice and the power to change as that which makes me uniquely human and is the only true path to liberation.
May I swiftly reach complete, effortless freedom so that my fearless, unhindered action be of benefit to all.
May I lead the life of a warrior.



Brendan Kennelly

Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of the light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.


Marianne Williamson

Dear God,
We pray for this are world,
We ask that you remove the walls that separate us and the chains that hold us down.
Use us to create a new world on earth, one that reflects your will, your vision, your peace.
In this moment, we recognise the power that you have given us to create anew the world we want.
Today’s world, dear Lord, reflects our past confusion.
Now, in this moment, we ask for a new light.
Illumine our minds.
Use us, dear lord, as never before, as part of a great and mighty plan for the healing of this world.
May we no longer be at war with each other.
May we no longer be at war with ourselves.
Let us forgive this century and every other, the evils of our history, the pain of our common fears.
Remove from our hearts the illusion that we are separate.
May every nation and every people and every colour and every religion find at last the one heartbeat we share,
Through you, our common Father/Mother and the redeemer of broken dreams.
May we not hold on to yesterday.
Maybe we not obscure your vision of tomorrow but rather may you flood our hearts.
Flow through us, work through us, that in our lives we might see the illumined world.
Create, sustain that world on earth, dear God, for us and for our children.
Hallelujah, at the thought,
Praise God, the possibility that such a thing could come to be, through you,
Through your light that shines within us.
So may it be.
So may it be.
We thank you, lord.