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  • Prayers for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday published +

    Her Majesty The Queen has approved prayers written for the celebration of her 90th Birthday later this year. Two prayers (or Collects) have been published in traditional and modern forms. The prayers are primarily intended for use in services marking the national celebrations in April and June. In addition two graces have been published for Read More
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Looking Outward

Iris Murdoch is remembered now as a novelist rather than a philosopher. For many years, however, she taught and wrote philosophy. It was often against the prevailing current of mainstream academic philosophy but connected with older traditions of wisdom and enquiry, and gave them new life and direction.

In her book, The Sovereignty of Good (1970), Murdoch has a fascinating reflection on the relationship between prayer, art, and morality:

Prayer is properly not petition, but simply an attention to God which is a form of love. With it goes the idea of grace, of a supernatural assistance to human endeavour which overcomes empirical limitations of personality… The chief enemy of excellence in morality (and also in art) is personal fantasy: the tissue of self-aggrandizing and consoling wishes and dreams which prevent one from seeing what there is outside one… We cease to be in order to attend to the existence of something else, a natural object, a person in need. We can see in mediocre art, where it is perhaps more clearly seen than in mediocre conduct, the intrusion of fantasy, the assertion of self, the dimming of any reflection of the real world.

Paying attention to what is outside one. In a recent letter to the Guardian another keen observer of our society, Frank Field MP, wrote that, ‘Voters’ loyalties move out from their loved ones, getting progressively weaker as they view their community, our nation and then the world.’

If we lose the capacity to look beyond ourselves and pay attention to what we find there, that is not just a social and political matter; it is a spiritual crisis, for we lose contact with the God who is always beyond us, drawing us forward out of our comfortable certainties.

February begins with Candlemas. A candle gives light and warmth, but it does so by losing itself; it is consumed by the flame. ‘We cease to be in order to attend to the existence of something else’, writes Iris Murdoch. That could be a fruitful theme to ponder this Lent.

Christopher Cunliffe

We pray for the torn and divided people; for refugees & uprooted families; for all living in camps & for those who assist them.

Diocese of Derby Diocese of Derby

Pray for all children, and those who have suffered abuse. Pray for those working to support them, for children who cry & are not comforted.

Diocese of Derby Diocese of Derby

Diocese of Derby


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Contact Us

Derby Church House

Full Street, Derby DE1 3DR

01332 388650 (reception)

Church House reception: 

enquiries@derby.anglican.org