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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Ecumenical prayers open 'Quiet Garden' dedicated to Cardinal Hume
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 Many friends of Cardinal Basil Hume attended an ecumenical service at St Joseph's Catholic church off Bunhill Row, yesterday afternoon, for the dedication of the 'Quiet Garden in the City' in his memory. The day, which marked the fourth anniversary of Cardinal Hume's death, was also the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. The Rev Dr Leslie Griffiths, former President of the Methodist Conference and Pastor of John Wesley's Chapel nearby, gave the homily and the gathering sang several hymns by Wesley. After a welcome from parish priest Fr Bruno Healy, the first reading was from the writing of Cardinal Hume on prayer. With much practice, he wrote, we begin to pray from desire, rather than from a sense of obligation. Lutheran minister, Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga then read an extract from the Song of Songs; Anglican Brother Kentigern osf read St Paul 1 Corinthians; and the Rev Katherine Rumens read the Gospel. Methodist minister the Rev Jennifer Potter read the intercessions. During his homily, Dr Griffiths reflected on his long friendship with Cardinal Hume who he described as "a very special person and a great friend to Methodists." Gerard Manley Hopkins, with his sense of the presence of God in nature was one of Dr Griffiths' favourite poets, he said. "If I hadn't belonged to the Society of Methodists I could easily have joined the Society of Jesus." Continuing with the theme of God in nature, Dr Griffiths recalled one Easter in Haiti when he had to preach at a church in a slum area which had been been nearly washed away by violent storms the day before. After getting there through fields of mud he was struck by the sight of a huge tree with red flowers that had survived and was thriving in the mess. "It was a living Easter sermon" he said. "I hope this garden will be a place where people can sense the presence of the Living God. A place where they can also feel invigorated to go out and tell others." After a tree planting ceremony there was a reception in the parish hall. Built in the shadow of the Barbican, the garden has been designed by Simon Peter-Peter Stobart, and funded by a number of trusts and grants. With a stream, windchimes and seats it will provide a quiet place of retreat during weekday afternoons and will be lit up at night. For more information about events at St Joseph's visit: http://www.AtPrayerinthe City.com
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