Calligraphy of Sacraments

Alison Blackbourn 19th May 2024
Toronto Uniting Church

This particular piece of calligraphy was, in some ways, a long time in the making. So – a brief background resumé for you. I have taken up calligraphy twice in my life – once in Sydney, briefly, and then when we retired and moved here to Lake Macquarie.
From about the time I was 4 or 5 I was taken to Sunday School. Now, Sunday School was held in quite a large room. There was a creche, where I sat on a rug or in a beautiful little chair. Those in the older classes, sat on BIG chairs around their class TABLES. I saw, too, that everyone had a Bible on the table in front of them. As is normal for young children, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to have a chair at one of those round tables.
From that time, I learned about prayer. And, if it was silent prayer, there was no-one to overhear and ‘correct’ me. It gave me a love of being able to talk freely with God.
Later, when I was in my early 30s, I went to an Anglican church for the first time and there I experienced my first Service of Holy Communion. So much was explained! Really brought to me the way everything I had learned, in bits, wove me to God, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit – and to Jesus’ disciples.
Then, here, one Sunday several years later, an announcement was made about a forthcoming Understanding the Sacraments course. Oh, YES, I thought – YES thank you Lord! Quite a lot of work, study and written homework ….. t h e n towards the end of the course we were given a project.
Paper, pencils, etc were supplied and, individually, we were asked to depict, in art form, what we had discovered about the Sacraments. My mind flew to a red canvas I had painted a few months before. (As a calligrapher, you keep a supply of canvasses you’ve painted in case you get a wonderful idea.) So, as I was saying, I immediately thought of that red canvas and I knew just what I could do with it! It did, of course involve words – not part of the original task set by the Team, however …
This is what I produced. My idea was to convey the all-encompassing path Christ Jesus shows us and leads us on. In every part of our lives, we are loved by God and that love, justice, repentance, compassion, joy … – all these things, qualities resonate in our lives.
Now, I entered it in the Newcastle Show and the Judges’ criticism was that there was not one single word that claimed attention as the main focus of the work. Of course the Judges did not know that it was done in response to a particular task. Sometimes I ponder – is there a word I could have used to satisfy that requirement by the calligraphy judges? I think not.
However, I’d like to ask you to ponder that too: what one word captures for you the essence of Christianity?
Alison Blackbourn
19th May 2024

Prayer for Peace 26/05/2024

Lord God, Father of all,
We, your children, are all members of the same human family, your family.
We implore you to help us to accept your peace,
To be at peace with ourselves and to live in peace with others.
Help us to seek wisdom and justice in all we do.
Help us to be more understanding and compassionate when dealing with others,
To be ready to forgive when wronged,
To be willing to love when hurt and
To strive for harmony and peace when threatened.
Eternal Father, in your mercy, hear our prayer
And grant us your everlasting peace.    
Diana Ng-Sutherland, CAFOD supporter

Prayer for Peace 19/5/2024

God of refuge, the rock in whom we trust,
watch over our sisters and brothers in all countries at war.
Bring comfort to those who grieve,
shelter to those who are homeless,
and sustenance to those who hunger and thirst.

God of mercy, open our hearts to your grace,
so that we are filled with compassion and a generosity of spirit,
and inspire us to take action.
Spirit of love, pour out your peace like a healing balm,
which brings hope in place of despair.


Prayer: Catherine Gorman/CAFOD

Prayer for Peace 12/05/2024

Prayers for Peace

We pray for those lives,
made in your image,
damaged by violence.
We pray for those in authority
that they may use their power
to bind wounds, heal relationships and find common ground.
We pray for a transforming peace,
turning fear into trust,
pain into hope
and doubt into confidence
for a better future.
We pray for world leaders
that they may establish structures for justice,
protecting human dignity,
enabling reconciliation
and building God’s kingdom.    Amen. Prayer: Sue Cooper/CAFOD

Prayer for Peace 05/05/2024

Dear Father of all, help us to see the world through your eyes, without dividing lines, to see just land and water, mountains, trees and skies. Help us to lay aside our class and skin, our background and race, to know our shared humanity, to see a brother or sister in every face. Help us to wear forgiveness, to lay down our pride and pain, to seek first to understand, Lord may peace and reconciliation reign. Help us to feel your compassion so we can freely forgive. May we weave new threads of grace and cause seeds of hope to live. Help us to play our own small part, with acts of kindness and of care. May we arise as your children and seek out what is just and fair. Cause us to make new bonds of trust with neighbours near and far, and so to fashion a world where peace comes to Earth in this hour. Amen

Prayer for Peace 28/04/2024

Light a candle and pray,

Father God, my heart breaks for those involved in these wars in Israel and Ukraine. So much devastation and loss of life. I know it breaks Your heart as well. You are a defender of the innocent and downtrodden. I’m safe in my little western world, so I can’t imagine the fear and grief the innocent civilians are feeling right now.

I ask, Lord, that You would bring an end to these conflicts. Turn the hearts of the aggressors away from their unrighteous intents. Encounter them as you did Saul on the road to Damascus. There’s been enough loss of life, enough loss of homes and livelihoods. Bring peace, Lord, through Your Spirit.

Turn the hearts of the leaders to You. To me, that feels like an impossible task, but I know that nothing is impossible for You. And I know that You desire that none should perish, but that all would come to repentance. You care more about people’s hearts than a country’s borders. But you care about justice more than “rights.”

Your justice will be served. I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt. So while we wait, bring peace. Not only to these countries torn apart by war, but to the hearts of every innocent person suffering from the decisions and actions of others. 

The world needs Jesus, Father. He is the Prince of Peace. And it’s in His name that I pray. Amen.

Stephanie Reeves

Prayer for Peace 21/04/2024

Light a candle, as a visible sign of the light of Christ, who is the light of the world.

Take a deep breath. Feel the breath of God that has given you life.

Centre yourself and pray…

O God of all hope and peace, we bring to you the needs of our broken and hurting world.
Our hearts are breaking with images of lives lost and torn apart by grief in Israel, Palestine, Ukraine and other countries at war.
We pray for an end to violence and warfare so that the challenging work of rebuilding may begin.
Help us, O Lord, to affirm our common humanity so that in our differences we may build together for justice and peace.
In Jesus Christ, our Lord.

(Church of England)

Prayer for Peace 14/4/2024

Dear God, our Father, we give you thanks for all those women and men, especially those we recall today who gave their lives and paid the supreme sacrifice in the hope of bringing peace in the world. We recall their bravery and dedication. Their mateship and solidarity and their compassion and care for those in need. We pray too for their families and those that loved them and for the mates they served with who still bear the scars of war, that they may be consoled in their grief by our love and regard for them. Loving Jesus, Prince of Peace. We pray for peace. 

We pray that you would move in the hearts of those that create conflict and that people may resolve differences without resorting to violence. Break down barriers of vengeance, hatred and fear and build up those things that can make for justice, freedom and peace. Holy spirit of love for all humanity. We pray that we may dedicate ourselves afresh to the service of peace following the words of Saint Paul, may we go out into the world in peace, being brave and holding fast to what is good. May we strengthen the faint hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, and to honour all peoples. We have remembered. We will not forget them. We will play our part in making our world a better place. And now we ask God’s blessing at this time.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

(Archdiocese of Brisbane)

Prayer for Peace 07/04/2024

This week our Prayer for Peace comes in the form of a video.  The link is below.

This prayer was written by a young girl, Harriet Paterson, and illustrations in the video are by children.

God of love,

We pray for peace in our world, and an end to war.

Instead of hatred, let there be love.

Shelter your children and protect us.

Guide us and keep us from harm,

so we can build a world of love and live our lives in peace.


Catholic Agency for Overseas Development

Prayer for Peace 31/03/2024

this prayer comes from Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand 

God of many names, lover of all peoples 

we pray for peace in our nations and in our world. 

We pray for all who have the awesome responsibility  

of power and decision-making. 

We pray for the innocent victims of violence and war. 

Lead us and all peoples of the world 

from death to life, from falsehood to truth. 

Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust. 

Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace. 

Let peace with justice fill our hearts, 

our world,

our universe.