Three locations: Scotland, Lincolnshire, London
Allanton Sanctuary, Scotland: report by Caroline Uchima
We hosted a weekend workshop at Allanton with singer Chloë Goodchild, founder of The Naked Voice, and Masashi Minagawa, a Shintaido master. The theme of the weekend was that through the voice and the body, we can manifest our divine selves. We sang and did lovely physical exercises. Chloë and Masashi joined us every day for our prayers, and Masashi especially took to them quite readily.
They said they were delighted to join us for an SOPP ceremony at the end of the workshop, where we had contributions from many different faiths, including a Steiner prayer of peace from our local Steiner community. We sang a beautiful spiritual composition of Chloë ‘s called “The Singing Field.” Masashi also performed a beautiful kata, a prayer of oneness with nature. I truly felt delighted to have all these beautiful beings together.
Lincoln: report by Sheila Michie
Four of my grandchildren joined with me in conducting a peace prayer ceremony. They set up five peace candle holders, and also got a map of the world so that we could see where all the countries were.
We divided the flags among us, and we prayed for each country, one continent at a time. We simply said May peace prevail on Earth for each continent, and then the person holding the flag for each country presented it, saying the name of the country, and we all said May peace prevail in (name of country). I told the children that if they couldn’t pronounce the names I would help them.
The whole process took about 40 minutes and we displayed the flags around the candles on the floor. We looked at the beautiful array of colours, thought about people that we have met from some of the countries, and were also mindful of countries where there were wars or other problems. We kept the flags in place so that my grandchildren could show their parents when they returned home.
London: report by Kyoko Street-Yasuda
It was such a pleasure to bring the SOPP to London, with nine of us gathered at the Charlton House community centre in London’s Greenwich district on May 28. Even though it was a small gathering and planned in a short span of time (the hall we used was booked only two days before), it was a huge and memorable achievement to make the SOPP in London a reality.
Four of the participants actually live in London, while two came from South England, one from Scotland, and two from Tokyo! We referred to the prayers offered at Fuji sanctuary a week earlier, as the two guests from Tokyo had brought the programme with them. We sat in a circle on chairs and held a flag ceremony to pray for peace in each country, placing flag cards on the floor of the hall. In between prayers for the different regions of the world, we read out loud the prayers from different faiths. It was a solemn, but warm and relaxed atmosphere throughout.
London has always been a tough place to keep holding meetings and prayer gatherings, or even keep in touch with each other. But recently, members of Byakko are keeping stronger ties and more frequent communication, and we hope this continues and develops in a strong and sustainable way.