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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Award for Anti-Knife UK

Danny O'Brien, who runs Anti-Knife UK, has won an award from the Chris Donovan Trust.  Click here to read the story in the Ilford Recorder.

Danny is involved in organising a Candle-light Vigil for victims of knife crime to be hosted by St John's Seven Kings on Wednesday 3rd december from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Among those speaking at the service will be Mike Smith, the founder of Word 4 Weapons.

This week's Ilford Recorder has great coverage of community initiatives in Redbridge including: a Vigil for Magdalena Welna; the opening of the Redbridge Cold Weather Centre; a day in the life of Ilford's Salvation Army lieutenants; Shoebox presents collected by St Peter's Aldborough Hatch; the Sophia Hub Enterprise Club; and the East London Three Faiths Forum Tour of the Holy Land. Click here to read these stories.


The Mighty Clouds of Joy - I've Been In The Storm Too Long.

East London Three Faiths Forum Tour of the Holy Land: Day 5

In Nazareth we had a discussion about the Christian and Muslim understandings of the Annunciation. I began my reflections with the apocryphal story of God asking other women to bear his son before Mary said 'yes'. Though apocryphal, this story highlights the importance and significance of Mary saying 'yes' to God, with all that that involved in terms of difficulty and heartbreak.

Mary was unmarried, young, and poor. The social circumstances of a young, poor, unmarried mother in first-century Palestine would have been difficult. This pregnancy would shape her future. It would have taken tremendous faith and courage to withstand the prejudice of her critics.

Additionally, her saying 'yes' to God led her, as Simeon prophesied (Luke 2. 22 - 38), to the heartbreak of the cross (as captured in this poem from 'The Passion'):

And a sword pierced her heart,
as the whip flayed his back,
as the cross made him fall,
as the nails pierced his wrists and feet,
as the spear pierced his side,
as she held the limp, lifeless adult body
she had once held, as a newborn babe, to her breast.

In my reflections I sought to highlight the human cost and challenge often involved in saying 'yes' to God (understood, in Islamic terms, as the central concept of submission to the will of Allah).

I ended with Malcolm Guite's sonnet entitled 'Theotokos':

You bore for me the One who came to bless
And bear for all and make the broken whole.
You heard His call and in your open ‘yes’
You spoke aloud for every living soul.
Oh gracious Lady, child of your own child,
Whose mother-love still calls the child in me,
Call me again, for I am lost, and wild
Waves suround me now. On this dark sea
Shine as a star and call me to the shore.
Open the door that all my sins would close
And hold me in your garden. Let me share
The prayer that folds the petals of the Rose.
Enfold me too in Love’s last mystery
And bring me to the One you bore for me.


Aretha Franklin - Ave Maria.