Prayer Tent at the Tall Ship Races

During The Tall Ship Races organised by Sail Training International, Wednesday 26 through Saturday 29 July at Lerwick, third-year ordinand Helen Randall, participated in a line-up of offerings from the Shetland churches, Helen writes:

The Shetland churches put on a programme of events and exhibitions for the many international crews, trainees and visitors who were in Shetland during the four-day celebrations. St Magnus’s Scottish Episcopal Church was decorated with flags and model ships and was open every day. Other churches were also open for prayer and had photo exhibitions and displays of model ships.

I was directly involved in the “Prayer Tent”, hosted by “Shetland Churches Together”, at the Albert Wharf, near to where some of the Tall Ships were berthed. The vision was to create a welcoming, friendly place of peace, prayer, listening and conversation, for those who came, whatever their age.

The Prayer Tent, situated close to other tents, was open at the front, enabling all who passed by to see a Christian presence, even if they didn’t stop to find out more. It was good to recognise and greet many local people, some of whom I had met through the “Food for the Way” project, where I spent my first-year placement, and other community groups which I belong to.

I listened to people who wanted to speak of their hardships and bereavements and offered them prayer booklets. Others wrote words of prayer on scallop shells and hung them on the fishing net. Visitors from overseas were attracted to the maps of Europe and the world, and they told me stories of home. I invited them to place a pin to indicate their home areas. My time in the Prayer Tent last week helped me to reflect on mission and ministry in “a church without walls” in my Shetland community. It was a time of blessing and growth for me, and I trust that it was for those who passed by and stepped into the tent of prayer.’

Photo courtesy of Colin Smith