The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Time to Connect with Blessings, Challenges and Reflections

June 17, 2020
Words of Connection opens this week with a deeply spiritual blessing by José Argüelles. A recent suggestion that Words of Connection need not avoid challenging contributions is acknowledged with two exceptional poems. The first is a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, and our BME community. It was written by the great Maya Angelou – Still I Rise. This is followed by a poem of the moment by the award-winning poet and conservationist Ruth Padel. It comes from the website Write Where we are Now created by Carol Ann Duffy and Manchester University. This website is really worth exploring. The fourth offering is an exquisite metaphoric poem by Rumi.
Once more I would like to thank you for your support and enthusiasm. We are always so happy to hear from you. Your feedback makes all the difference. It is so important that we feel connected at this moment in time,
Chair IFCG


José Argüelles

From the East House of light
May wisdom dawn in us
So we may see all things in clarity

From the North House of night
May wisdom ripen in us
So we may know all from within

From the West House of transformation
May wisdom be transformed into right action
So we may do what must be done

From the South House of the eternal sun
May right action reap the harvest
So we may enjoy the fruits of planetary being

From above the House of Heaven
Where star people and ancestors gather
May their blessings come to us now

From below the House of Earth
Made the heartbeat of her crystal core
Bless us with harmonies to end all war

From the Centre Galactic Source
Which is everywhere at once
May everything be known as the light of mutual love


Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.



Ruth Padel

Each soul is its own planet. The skies are still.
Look one way, the wild is back.
Smell the blossom, hear more
bird song than we heard for a century.
Look inside. Video, GIF, Zoom,
the family locked in and afraid.Look the other way, a shy intern
is ringing wives
who can’t be with their husband as he dies
to say they’ve gone. The student
who signed up as a volunteer
is loading the dead in the body bags, surprised
they are still warm. Your friend, your dear
friend three months overtime
on a Covid ward and her face, her skin,
girth-sore from the visor,
her sleep filled with dying eyes
behind a mask. Look on TV. Politicians
who don’t care we don’t believe them
spilling lives like snow. Look on the streets,
forgotten holiness, deniers
who refuse to keep the distance that keeps safe,
cough in the face of a young
key worker at checkout. But look across the road,
your neighbours shopping for the old, the ill,
ringing round for food runs, waving, all of us,
at the door on Thursday night. Clap for the invisible
carers, risking their lives. Beat the tom-tom
for a world we’ll try to make again,
make better, now the only things to keep you sane
are the mobile phone and labyrinth
of your own backyard. If you have one.



This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

​A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

​Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

​The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

​Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.