Reflections from the summer

As I write, the Commonwealth Games is still in full flow and Cathedral Square is filled with visitors from every part of the Commonwealth family of nations and territories. The wonderful Games volunteers in their orange and grey uniforms are greeting passers-by and giving directions to those on their way to their chosen destinations.

Memories of the opening ceremony will stay with many of us. In little over an hour, the organisers managed to provide a portrait of Birmingham at its best, buzzing with creativity, full of warmth and humour. Watching from home, I felt very proud of our city but also delighted that we were offering a welcome which was so broad and all-inclusive in its scope. Our beautiful, super-diverse city was letting the world know that everyone was truly welcome. It was so positive and confident and a strong affirmation of our best values.

Over the summer, we have been offering the same sort of welcome inside and outside the cathedral. Projects like our Common Wealth Table in our grounds have enabled us to offer opportunities for groups and communities to meet together and to share their hopes and dreams for the future and for a better world.

In the next few months, we are looking forward to the appointment of a new Cathedral Chaplain. We are looking for someone who will help us continue to build relationships with our visitors, pilgrims and worshippers. We also hope that the new Chaplain will help us to create networks of care and support in our own community and in our city centre parish. We pray that this will be a significant new way for us to share God’s love and to witness to our faith in Jesus Christ in the heart of Birmingham.

It’s really important that Birmingham builds on the success of the Games and that the people of our city and region are able to enjoy lasting benefits in the years ahead. The best legacy of all will be if we find that the open hearted welcome of these days, that embraces everyone in all their rich diversity, creativity and skill results in an even greater prosperity – spiritual, moral, cultural as well as material – in which everyone can share.

A prayer for the Commonwealth Games

Eternal Father,
in whose hands are held all
times and all places,
whose patience is infinite
and love everlasting:
watch over these Games, this
nation, and Commonwealth.
In the fire of competition,
kindle the warmth of
friendship,
and a passion for justice and
equity.
As we celebrate with joy
human endeavour and skill,
protect those for whom
sporting loss brings danger
or abuse.
Bless this city and region,
and grant that when the
Games are finished
and athletes departed,
we may recall our shared
humanity
and seek after the Common
Good;
in Jesus’ name.

Amen

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