Rector’s Weekly Letter – 14th May 2020

Dear friends,

I’m so grateful to Liz for choosing the theme of Peace for Messy Church this month. It has made me realise that for the last eight weeks I have been so engrossed by the crisis caused by Covid 19 here in Scotland that the focus of my prayers has become very narrow. Stories from trouble-spots in other parts of the world have largely disappeared from our news bulletins and as a result, I for one had started to forget about the suffering in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Chechnya, Myanmar. Despite the UN Secretary General’s appeal for a global ceasefire in March, fighting continues in most of these areas. Messy families were encouraged, as we marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of hostilities in Europe, to pray for those countries still at war.

Among the activities on offer to help us with our prayers was the West African symbol for peace and harmony, Bi-nka-bi. The image is based on two fish biting each other tails and it literally means ‘no one should bite the other’. Here is Laura’s interpretation of it, filled with patterns of doves, the Christian symbol of peace.

In Japan, children write their prayers and hopes for peace on paper cranes they have made. You may be familiar with the story behind this tradition which was started by Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl, badly affected by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. In hospital, Sadako passed the time making origami figures. Here favourite was the crane. An old Japanese legend stated that anyone who faithfully folded a thousand cranes would have her wish fulfilled.

As Sadako began folding cranes, her wish was, of course, that she would recover. However, when she sensed that she was not going to get better from the effects of the radiation, she changed her wish and prayed instead for peace between the countries of the world. With every crane that she folded, she whispered, ‘I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.’ She had folded 664 cranes when sadly she died. The children of Japan learned of Sadako’s wish and they too began folding cranes. Every year on Hiroshima Day (6 August), you can see thousands of paper cranes suspended from the tower in Hiroshima Peace Park.

Messy families have been invited to hang the cranes they have made on the oak tree on the Rectory lawn when they come by on their daily walk or bike ride. I wonder if we could all make a crane as a symbol of our desire for peace in the world. All you need is a square of paper and some patience! Here are some instructions. Anyone in our community is welcome to join in with this activity. It would be lovely if the tree was full of cranes by 1st June, International Peace Tree Day.

I leave you with a poem by Ann Lewin which my friend, Hugh Donald shared with me today which challenges each one of us to allow God to help us grow into a Peace Tree. (It is best read aloud.)

Peace Trees

To be in the presence of trees

is to know peace.

The silent rhythm of their life,

bringing maturity in due time,

without anxiety or haste,

calms our impatience;

their solid strength, derived from

hidden roots spreading much further

than we ever know, gives us security;

grace, beauty, shapeliness and form,

delight our senses, soothe our

fragile nerves, and bring refreshment.

Let us in turn be trees,

growing in God’s time to maturity,

spreading our roots deep into springs of life,

opening branches wide to all who come

offering strength and healing through our


God’s peace be with you all,


Click below for instructions about how to fold a simple crane from a square of paper: