An Unexpected Prayer for the Mayor & Councillors


As of yesterday – May 26th – Brighton has a change of mayor. The outgoing mayor was Cllr Alan Robins who presided over Brighton during the pandemic and did a great job over two years.   He chose the Interfaith Contact Group (IFCG) as his chaplain and we supported him during this time in a number of ways. We held a memorial service for the 500 people in our City that died tragically during the pandemic and ran various events, including an art exhibition of photos taken during this sad time. It was also the task of the IFCG to present different faith groups to deliver prayers before Council meetings.

Yesterday was our last day as chaplain to the mayor. Rev Martin Poole and I went to the Town Hall for our final prayer session. Martin read two beautiful readings by John O’Donohue. I wrote a prayer and blessing for the mayor and the councillors. The reference to Dr Who was definitely unexpected. We were presented with a spectacular bunch of flowers as a token of appreciation. The prayer is below. 

In this hour of change
We ride a wave of uncertainty
It sometimes feels like an adventure
At other times it’s a bad trip on a clapped-out ghost train

Yet our City holds us tight
Amidst great twists and twirls of time and tide
Swept up on air, sea, wind and water
Stacking bricks, bungaroosh and mortar
Crescents, curves and minarets
We ride together
Painted in cerulean blue
Printed in nostalgic sepia
Attacked by a hungry seagull
Splashed by the kindly waves
Home to bargirl, busker and beekeeper
Refugee and poet, prince and pauper…
The wandering tourist will never know
That you fashioned the changes and the charges

And as for my pals… the bratty kids
We paddle, laugh and play
Gliding and riding along the front
While you… our custodians
Look out for us all
And knowing this I turn to you
And say thank you
For while the billionaire gambles
And the humble homeless sleep
The Council takes care of us all, day and night
And a councillor’s work is not easy

Today in this congenial chamber
I ask you to cherish our City
Caring for it like a friend
One that ages without much dignity
Wrapped in leather, tattoos and tweeds 
Dressed in purple dungarees
Unless its August
In which case it’s all the colours of the rainbow…

This is a moment of gratitude Mr Mayor
For your own brand of compassion and care
That held so many of us
During these two years of turmoil…
May your replacement be equally loved and venerated
Different and regenerated, like Dr Who
And like the good doctor
Unique throughout the cosmic universe 
For she will be the Mayor of a magic City

In closing… Let us celebrate our optimism, colour and diversity
And being the representative of the Interfaith Contact Group
I offer up best wishes to our Mayor
And thanks and blessings to our councillors
And all the people Brighton and Hove
May we always feel connected
May we always belong
And may we always welcome those that seek out
The kindness and goodwill of this, our beautiful City

Thank you

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