Associates Day 20th October 2018 
The sun shone brightly as it always seems to do so for our Associate Day at Selly Park on 20th October. Our theme was Prayer and so to set the tone of the day we began with a song by Jan Novotka: 
 
May all I do today 
Be for the healing of the whole 
May all I do today 
Mend our broken world 
May all I do today 
Bring blessings on the Earth 
May all I do today 
Be for the good of all 
All I do today 
 
 
Each person present was given a single rose and invited to say a prayer whilst putting the rose back into a vase of water. This was to symbolise that just as flowers need to be put into water in order to live, we need to hand our prayers over to God in order for him to give them life, and trust that God, the well-spring of life, will answer our prayers. It was emphasised that the prayers could be said out loud or in silence. Someone pointed out that although the roses were beautiful they still had sharp thorns – maybe something to reflect upon. 
 
We are creatures of habit and tend to talk to people that we know well, so just for fun and to stir things up a bit we invited everyone to pick a ticket out of a basket and then find it’s pairing e.g. if someone had “fish” they needed to find whoever had “chips”. Once they had found their partner we then asked them to spend some time sharing with each other anything that was happening in their lives which they would like to share, emphasising the importance of listening as well as talking. 
 
 
Talking to each other and sharing our stories is what Associates do best so it is always difficult to draw this activity to an end but we moved on by introducing the idea of “Prayer Boxes”. 
 
Prayer boxes are used by nearly every religion known to humankind, but regardless of the religious affiliation the premise of the prayer box remains the same – to give individuals a place to physically store their written prayer requests, their wishes and desires, names of loved ones, favourite Bible verses and anything that can help or inspire them on their personal journey of faith. There is no right or wrong way to use a prayer box; it is simply a way of seeking out God in order to strengthen our relationship with him. 
 
So the fun began as we first had to decorate our box to make it personal to each individual. Lots of craft materials were supplied and people had great fun decorating their own box. It was not a competition, no one box was better than another because they were each to be a unique reflection of its owner. 
 
Next we thought about what to put in the box. Several suggestions included: 
Names of loved ones written on a heart. 
A Bible verse that really speaks to you. 
A memory (either written down or symbolised in some way). 
Something from nature to remind us of God’s wonderful creation (leaf, petal, acorn, pebble etc.). 
A candle. 
A selection of things were provided but it was stressed that other things could be added over time as just as prayer is ever-changing so will the box constantly change to reflect our journey of faith and our relationship with God. 
 
After all that creative work it was time for lunch, during which more stories were shared. 
 
The afternoon was spent with Lectio Divina, a reading and contemplation of the Gospel, followed by a voluntary sharing of our individual reflections. As always it was amazing the many different and unique ways the Gospel spoke to people. 
 
The afternoon drew to an end with a closing liturgy thanking God for the gift of Associates and asking his help and blessing on our lives as we try to spread God’s love to all we meet in our daily lives. We concluded by connecting once again with our partner from the morning and after each person being given a candle, each promised, just for a few minutes each day for the next week, to light that candle and pray for our partners intentions which were privately shared by each couple. 
 
We concluded by singing Daniel O’Donnell’s “Light a Candle” 
 
Just one little candle can shine through the night 
A symbol of faith 
A flame that keeps burning 
That never stops turning 
The darkness away 
Light a candle to start a new dawn 
Let it be like a prayer 
And together we’ll shine 
In a moment of time we can share 
Light a candle to start a new dawn. 
 
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