12 May 2021

‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem …
Peace be within your walls’

‘‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ (Psalm 122: 6) … the city of Jerusalem depicted on a tile in a restaurant (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

I spent much of today (12 May 2021) at a meeting of the trustees of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This was a virtual meeting by Zoom, rather than an actual physical meeting in the USPG offices in Southwark, and I missed the actual contact we have with one another at those physical meetings: the throw-away remarks, the asides, the knowing glances, the one-to-one contact with one another over shared coffees, over lunch, or as we hang around in ones and twos, lingering a little longer after the meeting ends in the afternoon.

All of these contacts, which are difficult if nor impossible online, help to build confidence, nurture friendships, bridge any gaps between trustees and staff, and develop the ethos and values of USPG

I particularly miss each and all of these opportunities as this was one of my last meetings of trustees. I am due to step down after six years as a trustee at the USPG annual conference, which takes place at the High Leigh Conference Centre near Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire on 19 to 21 July.

I am still hoping against hope that I may be able to take part in this year’s conference. So, it was a personal pleasure to have been asked to provide a review of the meeting as our agenda reached a conclusion this afternoon.

In our prayers this afternoon we remembered five people associated with USPG who died since our last meeting:

• The Right Revd Botomazava Théophile, Bishop of Antsiranana, Madagascar, died 8 March 2021
• The Revd Herbert Frederick Giraud Floate, SPG/USPG missionary in the Seychelles and on Rodrigues (Diocese of Mauritius), died 17 March 2021
• The Revd Brian Taylor, SPG/USPG missionary in the Diocese of Kuching, Malaysia, died 25 March 2021
• The Right Revd Collin Theodore, member of the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ in Delhi and former Bishop of Rajasthan, died 15 April 2021
• Dr James Tejosh Das, former General Secretary of the Church of Bangladesh, died 20 April 2021

Given the current news these days, I found it appropriate to conclude those prayers today with verses from Psalm 122, which is a ‘Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem’:

6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.’
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

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