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Abandonment and Loss


A Prayer for Margins

Gracious God,

We pray today in celebration of the work of Margins and its support for those marginalised or in danger of becoming marginalised from society. We give thanks that those helped by Margins often return to provide advice. We celebrate that we have hot food not only at harvest-time but all year round, and that we can provide shelter in the winter months. We give thanks that we can provide hot showers and laundry. We celebrate that we have the ability to maintain the dignity of the human being.

We celebrate that we counter disillusionment. Disillusionment can hurt not only the homeless, but any of us, and we give thanks that there are those we can open up to, who are warm-hearted, and do not judge.

Those here who are unfamiliar with Margins may query that we celebrate something that in an ideal world should not be needed. We do not live in an ideal world, but we can try to do something about that. We pray for Your blessing on all those who volunteer through their own good-heartedness. We pray for those who raise funds, and who bring gifts whether of money, food, or clothing, or bedding. We pray that You bless our community, every one of us, all in our journeys towards You. We give thanks that nobody is excluded from Your work in these buildings.

We pray that You may bless us today and that we may look forward to tomorrow.

We ask these blessings in Your name.


To Eric Blair (George Orwell) 1903-1950 - Andrew Gardner, 25 June 2013

I should have known you.

You should have lived into my lifetime.

We should have supped together on ale.


I have your words,

On the most treasured shelf I own.

I read them often.


You have a plaque

in Canonbury Square -

Would you ever have dreamed it?


There are those who worship you.

I don't. You didn't want worship.

I've read all your work:

You didn't even want a biographer.


You lived for justice and honesty,

"Our job is to make life worth living."

I should have known you.


orwell stone

Prayer for the Lonely: 17 February 2013 - Andrew Gardner

Gracious God,

Lent is a time for reflection, a time to pause, a time to examine our faith and our selves, and so soon after Epiphany. A time to reflect on the book of Ecclesiastes, so beautifully set to music. For some it is a difficult time, with Lent beginning in the same week as St Valentine's Day, with all the aggressive marketing in the High Street and in the media that comes with it - it seems inescapable. But it does also help those alone to think of Your own time in the wilderness, and ponder in wider contexts the Easter story.

Gracious God, let those who are lonely be enveloped by Your Spirit, may she hold them closely, wrapped up in the love of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. May Your love surround those who need Your care at this time. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, we ask Your peace and blessings on those who feel isolated.


From a Church Adherent



A door closed to lock out anger
A door closed to lock in anger

A door closed to lock out violence
A door closed to lock in violence

A door closed to lock out protection
A door closed to lock in protection

A door closed to lock out pain
A door closed to lock in pain

A door closed to lock out mercy
A door closed to lock in mercy

A door closed to lock out love
A door closed to lock in love

A door closed to lock out freedom
A door closed to lock in freedom

A door closed to lock out hope
A door closed to lock in hope

A door closed to lock out grace
A door closed to lock in grace

A door closed to lock out faith
A door closed to lock in faith

A door closed to lock out justice
A door closed to lock in justice

A door closed to lock out church
A door closed to lock in church

In all places, Jesus is witness
His ministry knows no boundaries
Watching attempts to lock in and lock out His vision for all
Across all peoples and nations

At all times, Christ Crucified is present
His open wounds, proceed our broken world
Walking through doors giving miraculous transformation for all
Across all peoples and nations

In all beings, God is searching
Calling each and every living being to His love, grace and hope
Willing mankind to seek what is beyond every closed door
Across all peoples and nations

Holy Spirit
Come that we may seek to walk like Jesus
To always seek to walk in your presence, through locked doors
Come! Let us move our souls, bodies, hearts and minds as we are called!

Prayers for Tolerance: 27 January 2013 - Andrew Gardner

Today marks the anniversary of the liberation of the survivors of Auschwitz in 1945.  The United Nations marks it as Holocaust Memorial Day, which is marked in Israel as Holocaust Remembrance Day on 7 April. We ask in Your mercy peace for the souls of all who perished in those times.

We said in 1945 that we would not permit such evil to happen again. We failed. Gracious God, give us the strength and willingness to prevail over evil and dictatorship. Let us never lose faith in peace and diplomacy in our efforts.

We think of those around the world today, in Africa and in the Middle East who suffer violence, and we pray that they may see it ended. We pray for those still scarred by the wars in Yugoslavia.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the week of Prayer for Christian Unity we pray for the people of Northern Ireland, whose overwhelming vote for peace after the Good Friday Agreement continues to be disrupted by a minority, who refuse to accept other traditions. We give thanks for the tolerance we have in this country, and for being able to provide refuge for people of all faiths over recent centuries. We pray for the willingness to accept and welcome people of all faiths. There exist many paths towards You.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those in this new year who are planning their weddings, including Protestant-Catholic unions, and inter-faith marriages. We give thanks that we have the freedom in this space to conduct them, and wish your blessings upon them. We give thanks that we have the freedom to welcome any same-sex couples who approach us.

Let tolerance prevail in this world, and give us the strength and willingness always to be forward, never to give up.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Loss and Hope - Andrew Gardner, 12 September 2012

Psalm 125
James 2, 1-10
Proverbs 22, 1-2 and 8-9
Mark 7, 24-37

At first it was hard for me to see how to put these passages together. On a literal reading, little links them. Then it came to me: they are not intended for a literal reading. They give us time for thought. They are about loss, but more importantly, of hope.

The psalmist writes of a lost people, driven from their land. So he does, but we are not required to read it with that single thought. The thought of loss, in every possible sense of the word, bears with us, sometimes crushes us. But the psalmist provides what we need above all: hope. Psalm 125, committed to memory, has sustained people through the most terrible times.

Mark too tells us of hope, of a child outside faith healed - and what greater hope is there than the health of one's child? It is our primal, driving instinct.

James tells us of prejudice. Prejudice takes many forms, much of it knocked to pieces by the Paralympics which have been an inspiration. How could anyone ever again be patronising towards somebody with such determine, drive and athleticism? My own body is put to shame.

James also tells us of those times when we should be mindful of those who are where we might be, whose circumstances have come between them and their future. It can be intensely difficult, whether physically or psychologically, to move forward from there. They are not beneath us any more than we are above them. We carry the same sins and carry the same graces. As the Proverb says, "The rich and the poor have this in common: The Lord is maker of them all".

Prayers based on John 15 v 9-17 - Karen Stallard, 13 May 2012

Left Behind

Jesus is preparing to leave...
Leaving his disciples with these words ...
They are being left behind, to follow on afterwards.

Gracious God;

For those who have been abandoned
May they know the words of your faithful love dwell within them
May they know the presence of one who chooses to love them beside them
May they know the arms of one who calls them a friend around them
May they know a sense of purpose and connection in a loving community.

For those who know little of what it is to be loved
May they begin to experience a love which is untainted by human mistakes
May they open their hearts to become vulnerable to a love which will fill their unlovely gaps
May they begin to love as they are being loved
May they believe in their hearts and minds that they are loved deeply and sacrificially.

For those who feel directionless and without purpose
May they join communities which love others through words and action
May they build relationships with those who have direction and purpose and learn from them
May they discover within themselves their gifts to be shared in the world

For those who feel unequal and subservient to others
May they know the joy of an equal friendship
May they experience powerful people acting in humility before them
May they be set free from any chains of slavery
May they know in their hearts that they are held equally with others in your eyes.

For those who feel like they have never been wanted or chosen
May they know a sense of your calling in their lives
May they experience friends choosing to be with them and know the reality of that choice
May they rest assured in the knowledge that they have ultimately been chosen by you and given life because they are loved.


Wednesday 2 May 2012: Thoughts on the Departed - from a Church Member

Easter Cross

Kenneth. Brian. Jenny. Friends lost within too short a time.

We pray this morning for Jenny, whose funeral takes place this afternoon. Beloved by family, friends and neighbours, by colleagues and associates, by those who had known her since schooldays, forgive us Lord that we feel robbed and cheated of her charm and good cheer.

Jenny loved the natural world, where she could grow fresh fruit and vegetables. You tell us in scripture of Your Father's house being a mansion with many rooms. Please, Lord, find for Jenny one that opens onto a garden.

To the Father Willis Organ on the occasion of its removal for restoration - Andrew Gardner, July 2012

I’ve always had an anthropomorphic view of architecture – in other words, I read human characteristics and emotions into the structures we create. Archaeology is not just about what is buried beneath our feet; it is about any manmade creation, and it may be under the soil, or it may be several storeys above us. John Betjeman, who lent his name towards the rescue of this building some 31 years ago, held the maxim “Always look upwards”. The restoration work in progress, some completed, much more to complete, gives us much to look at, think about, discuss and consider.

Beloved creature, soon we are to part;
            Your painful restoration is to start.
Hid in modesty behind your screen,
            You’ll soon be both unheard, and still unseen.
Your two thousand and two hundred worn pipes
            Are going to be missed by “Old School” types!
But proudly we shall dream of your return,
            Dear friend, your absence will surely make us yearn.
Such things you’ve seen in your long work in life:
            Bombs and thefts, and vandals, and of strife,
And weather, water, general lack of care;
            At last we show to you: we really care.
Sleep soon, sleep well my love, for you shall live –

And you I know will show what you can give!

organ restoration