I’m curating the opening of the new chapel in Barwon Prison next week. It’s an interfaith chapel and service. These are a couple of moments from the service:
We gather in this place,
people of vastly different beliefs
holding to the faith we have in common:
that there is a story
waiting to be told
We gather in this chapel
to set it apart with our prayers
as somewhere those stories can be given life.
This chapel is built of dirt, and we bring into it the elements of fire and water.
Together, these three symbols tell of the most fundamental realities of our world: that life is, at once, fragile and resilient.
They remind us of the things that are most fundamental about each of our lives:
We are human –
fragile and flawed,
needing a place to belong to and a people to be part of,
reliant on forgiveness and mercy,
dependent on the promise that life can begin again.
Because while earth, fire and water are the building blocks of the world,
they are only brought to life
by a breath of grace and hope and love
So we add our prayers for life to this building,
to set it apart,
so that it will be a place where we can bring the stories of our lives –
the dirt, the pain and the promise –
and pray that here they can be held and changed
by grace, hope and love.