Letters - 10 November 2023

From Prayers for peace to Sacred gifts

Prayers for peace

Like Gordon Matthews (27 October) I have been thinking about the Monday prayers for peace in St Nicholas Church in Leipzig. I was there on Monday 16 October this year, exactly to the day when a great crowd of people carried candles from the church into Augustus Square in 1989. None of the soldiers opened fire and many joined the demonstration. When you are holding a candle in one hand and shielding it from the wind with the other, your whole attention is on that tiny light and all the other lights around you. It must have been deeply compelling to witness.

I believe there is power in silent, collective prayer for peace. When people come together in this way with the intention of being part of a movement, we feel our energy multiplies. There may be some singing and spoken prayer acknowledging why we are gathered together. There may be candles. Prior to the Iraq war in 2003, our Meeting held Meetings for Peace once a week and from there came the idea to hold vigils for Friends in Britain, which was not an easy thing to organise before the internet took off. The energy in those vigils was strong, calm and compassionate, very different from the marches.

International facilitator and trauma healer, Thomas Hübl, leads silent online gatherings and has responded to the conflict in the Middle East by holding silent global peace meditations on the first and third Tuesdays. On his website he explains why he believes in their power to transform. Does this sound familiar?

I wonder whether Friends feel as I do about simultaneous, collective prayerful presence and whether there is any way we can join together in this way. It could be on Zoom or we could just simply chose a time to come together and/or we could agree to hold outdoor vigils at the same time. Perhaps some of us are already doing this.

Ruth Tod

The Pity of War

I would like to share an update with the readers of the Friend.

The Pity of War project group has written a couple of articles for the Friend (see ‘Art of the Possible, 8 July, 2022). We would now like to let everyone know that the sculpture which is dedicated to all of the nameless, voiceless and forgotten civilians who have died or have been affected by war and conflict is about to be erected at the National Memorial Arboretum. It has been a long and difficult journey to get it there but the stone plinth, which is right now having the inscription engraved, should be put up in a few weeks’ time. The sculpture will then be placed on that.

Southern Marches Area Meeting has to thank sculptor Peter Walker and his wife Katie, for everything they have done and for their patience and commitment to the project. Once up, the group will focus on the educational side with workshops for adults and school packs. We have already done one primary school pack.

We would love some new Friends on our committee. We need a treasurer and someone who can manage our website. We will also be looking for another trustee soon.

Please contact admin@pityofwar.org or me through Ludlow Quaker Meeting.

Barbara Mark

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