About 60 of us gathered together on the dark and dismal evening of 4th December, 2017 at the Friendship Cafe in Gloucester for another meeting of Spirit of Peace. The theme of our evening was, fittingly for this time of year: darkness and light.
We were very pleased to have with us a large cohort of residents and their co-workers from the Grange Community at Newnham on Severn: a Steiner, Camphill Trust residential establishment: https://www.cvt.org.uk/communities/grange-village. We are familiar with this group of men and women as they have come many times before, bringing with them a wonderful enthusiasm and innocent directness. This time, eight of them had come to be awarded their bronze medals as Peace Ambassadors. Others from the community who had previously gone on to achieve their silver and gold medals were also there to support and encourage them.
After much exuberance, and awarding of medals, we all clapped at what had been achieved, and continued to munch away at our delicious shared food (always an integral and much enjoyed part of these gatherings) and conversed with people at our different tables. Every time I’ve been to the Spirit of Peace get-togethers I have met new people from many different faith traditions and walks of life. This was particularly true this time because we had nine people from different faith paths, who each gave a five-minute encapsulation of how their particular tradition informs and supports their experience of darkness and light.
We were blessed with contributions from Judaism, Methodism, Quakerism, the Christian Community, the Bahai faith, Paganism, Islam, Hinduism and Humanism. We also had a sharing sent by a Buddhist who was unable to be with us in person. Humanism, at first sight, seemed to be ‘the odd one out’ in these sharings as Humanists are not a religious or spiritual group as they believe solely in human capacity and the scientific outlook on life, but their contribution was highly valued.
Although the imagery and wording used by each contributor were different and in some cases very different, there was a strong underlying feeling of commonality. All representatives expressed ways of understanding and coming to terms with the nature of life containing both light and darkness, and how the one is dependent upon the other. There was a universal soul-felt yearning for goodness, love and caring to prevail over the forces of darkness, which nonetheless are an integral, and it would seem necessary, part of our human condition.
I always find our two-hourly meetings inspiring, thought-provoking and containing. They leave me wanting more frequent and ongoing inputs and sharing of such a universal spiritual nature. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.
I conclude with a verse by Rudolf Steiner that was performed for us by a group from the Grange Community:
In the Heart there weaves the feeling
In the Head there lights up thinking
In the Limbs works strength of will
Weaving of Radiant light
Strength of the weaving
Light of the surging strength
Lo, Here am I.
– Judy Clinton, 26.09.17