to help you discover the God you already know

A vision fulfilled

Recently I was staying in London and a friend told me about the ‘Gaia Exhibition’ in Southwark Cathedral, a focus for thought & prayer for the care of our planet. It’s a travelling exhibition that’s been in other cathedrals, and the entrance was free. I was ordained in the Cathedral many years ago so it’s a place that has significance for me.

Intrigued I went along and was taken aback by the sight of a huge revolving model of our Earth, hanging suspended in the Nave of the Cathedral. Many people were present, of all ages & nationalities, walking around, or standing and gazing wrapped in wonder at what they were seeing. There was a still & prayerful atmosphere. I went & stood in the Chancel and looked down the length of the building.

Suddenly I remembered. It was a day in later November 1991, thirty years previously. I had with others edited a book ‘Approaches to Prayer’ that contained a wide range of different prayer exercises, and we had organised a Day of Prayer in the Cathedral at which many of those prayer exercises were available at different times & at various stations around the building, led by those who had written them. Large numbers of people came & it was a wonderful day. I had nothing to do but be there. The Cathedral always had a Eucharist at midday, so that was one of the prayer exercises, and I was asked if I’d administer a chalice. I was stood during the service behind the altar, and I had a vision: I saw our Earth in space, floating at the back of the Cathedral, prayer was rising like incense from all over it. And God said that all this prayer, from many faiths & centuries, offered in many languages, was all acceptable, as was the prayer being offered around the Cathedral at that moment. I was astonished and my understanding of prayer underwent a dramatic deepening, which changed me.

Gradually it dawned on me that my vision was now being fulfilled, in the Gaia Exhibition’: people of all faiths and none were gathered in the Cathedral praying for our Earth and all their prayers were valid & acceptable. This at a time when the issues facing our world are everybody’s issues, and they need us to cooperate in addressing them. Our various faith leaders need to set an example to our political leaders, one of mutual acceptance & affirmation.


  1. alice nunn

    That’s amazing Henry….let’s keep the picture in our minds as we pray (in whatever way) for our poor abused and hurting Earth…and ALL its’ inhabitants



    I was able to see the Gaia exhibition in Norwich last year and witnessed a similar atmosphere of unspoken oecumenical sacramental awe, all the more astounding for being utterly unforced.

    Your 1991 vision is something I also feel, truly and deeply…that it’s our only, but real, hope…and that this is an awesome time to be living on earth and “doing spirituality”, or whatever we call the thing we do.

  3. Bertrand Olivier

    Thank you Henri for this vision. Uplifting to see common prayer and purpose in such a sacred setting.

  4. Judy Apps

    What a powerful image, and needed now like never before. Thanks, Henry.

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