2 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Iain McLarty, a conductor, viola player and church musician from Scotland plays a musical interlude during a thematic plenary focused on Europe, at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Karlsruhe, Germany from 31 August to 8 September, under the theme "Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity."


The retired Methodist minister, who lives in Dover, began sending a daily collection of prayers, thoughts, readings, poetry, music, and art to his friends. Every day, for six months, he sent a collection to an ever-growing circle. 

Now that circle has grown to more than 200 people in many parts of the world, plus all the Methodist Presbyters and Deacons in the South-East District in the UK. Instead of a daily prayer, Richardson curates a collection to send at special times of the Christian year.

His most recent collection, sent for the Lenten season, opens with a prayer that reads, in part, “Mark us with your love, and release in us a passion for your justice in our disfigured world: that we may turn from our guilt and face you, our heart’s desire.”

It also contains Bible readings, artwork, music, and poetry, including submissions - a hymn and a poem - composed by others in the circle. 

Richardson consistently seeks spiritual renewal—in himself and others. He has recently resumed studying the violin after a time of not picking up the instrument. 

“For me, there is a strong connection between the making of music and the preaching of the gospel,” he said. 

He recalled how one of his former teachers at the Royal Academy of Music in London worked with composer Frederick Delius. 

"Frederick Delius, at the end of his life, was severely disabled and unable to write down the music that was in his head,” explained Richardson. “My teacher became his scribe.”

His teacher was a Roman Catholic, while Delius was an ardent atheist who had no time for religion. “I’ve always been interested in that relationship, and how my teacher was being used for the greater good to bring something beautiful from someone who didn’t even believe in God,” said Richardson. 

“This spirit of human unity is what gives people hope today,” he said. 

Richardson will send his next Circle of Prayer during Holy Week.

Circle of Prayer for Lent by Rev. Harvey Richardson