Mariapolis UK moves online
Mariapolis is the annual gathering of the Focolare Movement which brings together Christians of different Churches, members of the major world religions and people of no particular religion, all connected by the desire to build a united world.
The Focolare Movement is one of CTE's Bodies in Association. It is society a built on the law of the gospel ‘love one another as I have loved you.’
Mariapolis UK is usually a week-long residential gathering. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, this July's event was held via zoom. More than 400 participants, of all ages and backgrounds, joined from across the world, including USA, Finland, Canada, Sweden, India and Nigeria. Organisers said there was a wider participation in this unique online Mariapolis.
Live reflections on the theme ‘Jesus in our midst – a light for the world’ were interspersed with real life experiences from the family, workplace and community. One particularly moving moment was the interview with two women, one originally from Angola and the other from Nigeria, who shared how they had tried to bring love into situations where there was racism and had seen those situations transformed.
Workshops in the afternoon included smaller group discussions on different topics such as active citizenship and the climate emergency, as well as chances to relax together with craft, games or a walk ‘virtually’ together.
At the end of the event, a moment of reflection offered a time for all to take stock of the light that each one had received, and to consider how it could be shared to contribute to a world of peace and justice. One of the organisers, Helen Copeland, said "A word that sums up Mariapolis has always been ‘family’. This family, many of whom had never met, lit a small flame together that we hope will continue to be a light for the world."
Read more about the Focolare Movement on their website.