The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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With the stress of voluntary social isolation in mind

May 13, 2020
One of the problems of the moment is the stress faced by individuals isolated and alone in lockdown. Solitary confinement is the worst kind of punishment given to those in prison, it is truly terrible. Covid 19 means that good citizens everywhere now face the pain of voluntarily isolation for the good of others. It is with these brave souls in mind, we open our Words of Connection on May 13th with a Blessing for Courage by the late great John O’Donohue.
Other contributions come from Meg Culshaw, who has sent us a lovely prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Ashwin Soni, of the Crawley Interfaith Network who has sent us a Shanti Mantra. Thank you both.
Thank you for your enthusiasm, inspiration and attention. Please stay well, calm, strong and happy.

John O’ Donohue

 When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen

When one voice commands
Your whole heart,
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.
That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you towards higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!


Eternal One,
Help me to rest in your happiness,
To allow a smile to linger on my lips,
To dwell within a wonderful memory,
To walk back through sunlit places.

Help me to awake with hope,
To engage with life in all its variety,
To take in the beauty of others joys,
To touch the souls of those I meet with thankfulness.

Help me to sing with faith,
To carry the truth close in my heart always,
To rejoice at new life and
To have peace as I age.

Help me to indulge in love
To breathe in the sweetness of intimacy,
To taste the kindness of friendship,
To feel the warmth of embrace.

Please help me not to miss
A single drop of heaven.

Robert Louis Stevenson

We thank thee for this place in which we dwell;  for the love that unites us;  for the peace accorded us this day;  for the hope with which we expect the morrow;  for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;  for our friends in all parts of the earth.    Give us courage, gaiety and a quiet mind.  Bless all our innocent endeavours.  Give us strength that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving, one to another.



A Mantra is Hindu prayer for Peace, generally used at the end of a religious rituals

Om Dyau Shanti-Rantariksha-Gwam Shantih,
Prithvi Shanti-Rapah Shanti-Roshadhayah Shantih।
Vanas-Patayah Shanti-Vishwed Devah Shanti-Brahma Shantih,
Sarvag-Wam Shantih Shanti-Reva Shantih Sa Ma Shanti-Redhi॥
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih Om॥

English Translation:
May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere.
May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers.
May peace flow over the whole universe.
May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman.
And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.
Aum peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!