Refuge

2015-06-23 06:00

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Is there nowhere sacred anymore?

Churches, mosques, temples and graveyards were once holy ground. They were places only the devout dared to tread, and they were places that were treasured and revered.

But no longer.

Graveyards have become home to vagrants, with tombstones torn apart to make a quick buck. They have become places to attack unsuspecting visitors to their family resting place.

And places of worship have not fared much better. They are now kept locked and bolted, to prevent thieves taking off with the few possessions within.

Prayer times have been tarnished with the fear of petty theft. The faithful dare not linger in case they are mugged after worship.

And shockingly, last week in the United States, worshippers were murdered in a place that was once a sanctuary. So what is left for those seeking to be closer to their God, for those looking for fellowship and a sense of community?

You may not believe in the teachings of that church or worship inside that mosque, but these institutions are the pillars of our communities.

These are the places that offer refuge to the lost, the desperate and the abused. They are places that teach us right from wrong, tolerance and love, kindness and compassion.

Holiday programmes that keep our children off the streets are often linked to these places of worship. Many offer skills development or life coaching.

They are the places we go to celebrate weddings and births and to mourn the passing of our loved ones.

It should fall to each of us to preserve these holy places, whether you are a believer or not, because to care for them is to care for our communities

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