john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Holy Ground

    BBC Radio Merseyside Thought for the Day 24 February 2005

    Think of your road, the bus stop you wait in, or the local shopping precinct where you stand in queues each day. I wonder if you think of them as holy ground.

    I was fascinated to find out about a project run in Liverpool 8 a year or so ago where someone made a portable altar - a plain green altar designed to be acceptable to people of all faiths - and took it around the streets of the area.

    Local people were encouraged to take the altar and put it in specific places - places special to them. And to talk about why they were special. The results were recorded in a fascinating photographic book.

    Now, shut-down factories and run-down community centres don't look that special. But people chose them because they were important to them.

    Pieces of wasteground where schools or shops used to be don't look that special. But to the people who had memories of them, they weren't just special. They were holy ground.

    Holy Ground doesn't have to be where churches or mosques or synagogues are; it is wherever something has happened which means something special to people.

    I like this way of thinking because it means that even if we don't live in beautiful places, we still live in valuable places.

    You might like to think of your special place - the place you went to school, the place you played as a child, the place where you met your future partner, the place where today you meet and chat and feel at home. You might not think of these as holy places. But maybe, in their own way, they are.