What can love look like in an era of crisis and fear? Clare Martin, St Ethelburga’s Centre, London

An audio version of this conversation is at my podcast, Talks and Thoughts, available via podcast feeds.

Clare Martin is co-director of the St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, located in the heart of the City of London. In this conversation, we spoke about what love can look like in the public square, particularly in contexts of crisis and conflict, and how encounters between peoples can be designed so as to foster love as a resource and active dynamic.

The conversation ranged over the importance of stories, histories and the design of places, so as to aid people being more vulnerable and truthful to one another. Intention is also crucial, from reverence to respect, so that difficulty can become generative. And such tension is not just an incidental matter but, in an age of crisis and fear, stresses the spirit of any engagement.

St Ethelburga’s is a religious foundation, working in an interfaith context, so questions such as prayer and invocation also come to mind. Love, then, is not only a moral matter but an elemental openness to more.

00:00 What is the St Ethelburga’s Centre? 01:54 The importance of vulnerability 03:44 The significance of the story of St Ethelburga’s 07:09 Faith and overwhelming civic crisis 09:54 A different kind of conversation 14:22 What the particularities of sacred place makes possible 24:29 Working in a wide spiritual ecology 28:18 The meaning of love for the centre 32:26 Evoking the right energy in a time of crisis 36:54 The design of the Life Lines project 40:28 Design and truth telling 43:44 The value of prayer and love as a power