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RACIAL JUSTICE: MARTIN DE PORRES


Martin de Porres (1579 - 1639) is the Patron Saint of all who seek racial harmony and justice.

At first the other Dominicans looked down on Martin because he was mixed-race but he eventually won them over by his exceptional humility. He would spend his nights in prayer and penance and by day he used the skills he had learned in his apprenticeship to nurse the sick and plague-stricken in the slums of Lima.


Martin was a prolific organiser. He raised money by begging in order to help the poorest and most destitute of the city.


He established an orphanage, a children’s hospital in the slums and even a shelter for stray animals.

Martin was particularly concerned for the welfare of the black slaves who had been brought to Peru from Africa, and whose owners had the power of life (and even death) over them. The Dominican community recognised Martin’s holiness to such an extent that they accepted his spiritual direction, naming him 'Father of Charity'. In 1639 at the age of sixty Martin died of a violent fever. At his death-bed the Spanish viceroy, the Count of Chinchón, came to kneel before him and ask for his blessing.

He was the first Black saint of the Americas, and as such is seen as the patron saint of race relations. Saint Martin is also a patron saint of nurses and health-care assistants, sick livestock, and his prayers are asked against rats and mice! His deeds were officially recognized in 1962, when Pope John Paul XXIII declared Blessed Martin the charitable a saint, proclaiming him patron saint of interracial justice.

Colossians chapter 3, verses 11 to 15:  Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience,  forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.



God of Broken People and broken places, We confess to you our love of comfort, of the known and predictable, of the safe and secure. We recognise that you call us to leave what we know and venture with you into desert and wilderness, into blindness and discomfort We want to follow you, but it’s hard to leave what we know Help us to trust you, and to set out.

On the journey of faith, Far I have come, far I must go

God of broken people and broken places We want to follow you,

but it’s hard to leave what we know

and we’re not sure where we’re going Help us to trust you, and to set out.

On the journey of faith, Far we have come, far we must go.

God of rebuilt people and rebuilt places You have plans for deserts and wilderness ‘Water will gush forth in the wilderness

and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, The thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, Grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there;

it will be called the Way of Holiness.’

God of transformation

we look forward to what you will do……

On the journey of faith, Far we have come, far we must go.


Merciful God, you have compassion on all that you have made,

and your whole creation is enfolded in your love:

help us to stand firm for your truth,

to struggle against poverty,

and to share your love with our neighbour,

that with your servant Martin,

we may be instruments of your peace;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.



In the face of a stranger;

In the cry of a child;

In the dreams of an asylum seeker;

In the hopes of an economic migrant;

Jesus stands before us.

How will we know him if we never say hello?

In the house next door;

In the shop on the corner

In the place dedicated to God that we walk past to get here;

In the high street or community hall

or the intersections we navigate every day

Our neighbours live and move and have their being.

How will we know them if we never say hello?

Radical hospitality.

Finding ways to welcome that are more than words,

Breaking down barriers and building bridges,

Loving our neighbours as we love ourselves;

That is what we are called to do.

How can we do that if we do not even say hello?

God your love has no bounds,

help us to live your way.

The Church of Scotland



Jericho Road – Rev Dr Martin Luther King Junior


Ever present God,

you called us to be in relationship with one another

and promised to dwell wherever two or three are gathered.

In our community, we are many different people;

we come from many different places,

have many different cultures.

Open our hearts that we may be bold

in finding the riches of inclusion

and the treasures of diversity among us.

We pray in faith. Amen.




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