This morning was a great occasion – meeting friends, chatting and feeling that warmth which is always present at Kingdom Arts.
A time of worship was followed by ‘Show and tell’ – an opportunity to share with others what we had been up to during our enforced separation. Nobody knew how the session would go. It had been decided that, for this first time back together, normal craft activities would be avoided as we worked out what everyone would be comfortable with. There were concerns that no one would appear and, even if they did, no-one would have anything to say.
Our fears were unfounded. The variety of activities was truly astounding. There were so many who wished to ‘show and tell’ that half of the items have been held over for next month, when we will also begin a project based on butterflies.
Meanwhile enjoy these pictures from our triumphant return:-
Return to Kingdom Arts- How was it for you?
Here’s what Ruth thought:-
Hi, I was truly inspired by this morning. On returning home I thought I needed to write some of what I had experienced. This is what I have just written without editing just straight from my heart.
The Return of Kingdom Arts
A symphony I thought, or symposium perhaps, Splendid variations on a theme. A theme of praise and thanksgiving to creator God Who has proved himself faithful yet again- Faithful through the Lockdown storm As he was to Noah, in the days of the Ark. The time came to open the door and let everyone out Tentatively at first, in wonder that the waters had receded -yet muddy pools and boggy areas remained. A new beginning, having survived the rain, New life, new ways lay before them.
And so, for us, as we venture out After months of Lockdown and isolation. We meet to share life that has grown in the darkness. Painting, poetry, crafts and song, Living beings amongst the memories recalled, And we experience the Creator, the Image Maker. We, the images, have created after His nature. Our Father has expressed Himself through us In diverse ways-thus creating a symphony To Himself-different instruments creating a tune Of thankfulness, glorifying Him who created through us In the darkest of days.
Joy and blessings, Looking forward to more Kingdom Arts.
Next time . . .
Our theme is HOPE . . .
. . taking the symbol of Butterflies . . .
If you have the time, we would like you to make a butterfly or two to hang within the church. Paper, fabric, etc. Make them anyway you like as long as they are light and can be hung. Bring them with you to the next meeting on November 9th. Not too big – you can get an idea of the size from this picture
Here are some instructions for one method of making a paper butterfly
You can find a video demonstrating this technique by clicking on this link:-
We are excited to tell you that we are starting KINGDOM ARTS again on TUESDAY OCTOBER 12th in Church at 10.00am. We have missed you so much and we are keen to make sure everything is in place for your first return so there will be a few modifications to our normal Gathering. We want to reassure you that we will do everything possible to make you feel safe so the chairs will be socially distanced and hand sanitizer available. If you feel more comfortable wearing masks that’s fine especially if moving around the church. We will gather at 10.00 am as normal and will finish early. We have 1-1½ hrs in mind for this first occasion.
NO LUNCH – Sadly we can’t offer some of Jan’s amazing soups this month but coffee will be available. We need to take it slowly at first as I am sure some of you may feel nervous about mixing in groups again. We will have a time of worship at the beginning but we feel we cannot offer working on art tables and sharing of equipment this month but we are getting there, so………….
WILL YOU BRING with you to share anything you have been doing on the creative front during Lockdown ……….art, needlecrafts, poetry, photos of projects, music, models, stitching and so on. If you don’t have an “arty” item to bring, maybe you have something in your house which you treasure and which has a “story” or particular meaning to you that you could bring along instead. We can then have a good time connecting again with one another and do what we do best……. sharing and chatting in this lovely building and with you lovely people.
If you have nothing to bring, don’t let that stop you! DO COME or let us know if there are any concerns you may have.
We hope you have a great Summer visiting family and friends now life seems to be returning slowly to what it once was.
We are excited about when we can meet you all again in person and share some artistic creations and God filled moments with you. We are in the process of planning when and how that will be but rest assured we do want to be back with you all! We will be contacting you again in September when we will have more ideas as to how this can happen.
Meanwhile we give thanks for the way God has watched over us all during this pandemic, the way we have kept faith with one another and kept in touch and for the Hope that He alone brings. We continue to hold onto the words from 1 Peter 1:3-4:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you”
Meanwhile if you have any creative juices flowing in art, poetry, collage, gardening, needlecraft do post them in for our website, for all to see.
Bless you all and we will be in touch in September.
Love Alex x and Sue x
Ruth Campsall has been busy:
“I have called upon some almost redundant sewing skills in order to make this little fox as a gift for my granddaughter.”
A pictorial reflection
An unfinished Rag Rug
In this strange in-between time I thought it was a good moment to take out a unfinished rag rug, I had been making some time ago.
Rag rugs were made by prodding and hooking pieces of old material into burlap, often old sacks. The craft is still explored, but more often in North America.
Fortunately I still had lots of relevant material, so there was no excuse not to get started! I remembered that there were knitting groups, who pray as they knit. I felt that this would be a good opportunity to seek God’s guidance in prayer as one prodded.
As I worked prayers began to develop, but in this account I have only written down the ‘Prayer Points’ (PP)
To start with I was delighted and thankful I could still remember the actual technique needed. PPprayer for all lost talents, and self esteem that accompanies many with dementia and brain damage.
Many of my material pieces were cut from
clothing bought in charity shops. PPprayer for all charities struggling to raise funds during this difficult time.
Some of the clothes may well have been made in sweatshops both here and abroad, often in appalling conditions and with poor pay. PPprayer that these conditions will be improved, with children’s welfare being considered, and proper pay being given to the workers.
Having seen an exhibition of clothes collected on beaches which were washed up from shipwrecked refugee boats. PPprayer for all refugees struggling for a better life.
Years ago these mats were often all that people had to cover their floors. PPthankfulness that people are much more ready to recycle, and care for our natural resources.
The pieces were like people. PPwe give thanks for all who have helped and shaped us in many different ways, now and in the past.
The actual sitting and quietly prodding, has created a time of peace. PPpray that in this difficult time people, through God’s help, find what brings them true peace and hope for the future.
The mat is nearly finished, and I am sure more prayers will form. I will still need help in making a backing for the mat, how true, it is only God that will give us all the strength and shape for wear in this world and into eternity.
Lemon Scones – we promised you this recipe last month, but we missed the deadline. Here it is now
Lemon Scones. Makes 8.
400 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 g butter, cubed
100 g caster sugar
150 ml milk – not chilled (warmed slightly).
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Pinch of salt
Method 1 Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2 Tip the flour and baking powder into a large bowl with a pinch of salt, then mix.
3 Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the caster sugar.
4 Make a well in the dry mix, then add the milk, lemon juice and zest, and combine it quickly with a table knife until it makes a soft dough – use a little more milk if necessary.
5 Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, knead a little, then pat it out or roll it to about 3cm deep. Use a 7cm round cutter to cut out 10 scones.
6 Place on the baking tray and brush the tops with a beaten egg. Bake for approx. 12-15 mins until risen and golden on the top.
Eat with either butter or clotted cream and maybe some lemon curd. You may also like to top the cooled scones with lemon icing (made with icing sugar with added lemon juice).
Editor: As a complete novice, I tested this recipe. I used a food processor for the mixing in steps 2 and 3, then transferred to a large bowl for step 4.
Not sure I got the dough consistency right, but I coped. Couldn’t achieve the recommended thickness, so I used a smaller cutter (6cm) and ended up with 14 small scones of various sizes!
However, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
– They were really nice.
This month’s message is late. The Editor lost the plot! (that’s me currently, although I may be removed from office. Sorry)
Here is some input from David for this month:-
Like many of you, Alex and I have been spending a little more time in the garden. I am reminded that the Bible story tells how God provided a garden for us when He first created humankind. Like the ancient hanging gardens of Babylon that seems to have been a garden largely comprised of trees. By the time of Solomon, if the Song of Songs is anything to go by, interest had moved on to any leafy or flowering plant that produced fragrant perfume.
Today we like the wide variety of the many shapes and colours of our flowers easily available in so many different garden centres. All this bears witness to our continuing creativity. It never ceases to fascinate me – humankind’s inexhaustible faith and hope that something new and good is always waiting there to be found and we shall always be provided with the arts and crafts and skills to handle it. And so, every year there are new bulbs, new roses, new clematis.
The Bible calls on us to seek and build the Kingdom of God. That is to do all we can to build a world, as our Bishop John expresses it, of love, compassion, justice and freedom. Everything we do out of faith or hope or love for Jesus and our fellow beings, (the gold, silver and costly stones of 1 Corinthians 3.12), contributes to that Heavenly Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth at the end of time. May the Lord bless as you continue to seek the well-being of those around you. David New
All this thinking about flowers, gardens, plants will hopefully kick start some creativity within you in art, needlework, poetry, photography, music, etc. . . . .
Send us your contributions as we love to add them to our ever growing website. It’s been so hard not meeting you all so we hope you haven’t forgotten us and will be eagerly awaiting some return to our creative monthly gatherings.
With our love to you and looking forward to meeting up again soon,
Love Alex x and Sue x
Well! It’s May now although it’s felt like November lately with the hail and rain and winds! I trust all is good with you and your family and friends. This month, with lockdown easing, I thought it would be good to look at the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.Here Jesus invites himself into Zacchaeus house for a meal. I expect you are all looking forward to opening up your house and inviting friends and family inside for food. It’s been a long time hasn’t it? We can learn so much from this story of friendship, hospitality, welcome, forgiveness, and an openness to everyone whatever their background, race or gender. Zacchaeus was so ready to welcome Jesus into his life and to be changed by the experience. This is a real story of hope and transformation.
Coming this month:-
Jan Kear, our brilliant chef, has sent in a Spring soup recipefor us to try and a delicious zesty lemon scone treat for those tea parties you are going to plan. Maybe after all this time of restrictions and with so many people being on their own, it’s a good time to think about inviting people, maybe those you don’t know really well, into your home for one of Jan’s delicious scones. Hospitality was so important to Jesus in his ministry.
How about having a go at some creative writingtoo? Barbara has set you a challenge with some hints/ideas for this. It looks fun so do give it a go and send it to us. Your contributions are always so interesting, creative and thought provoking.
Do keep in touch with us as we love to hear your news and how things have been for you during this time. We WILL get together soon.
With love Alex x and Sue x
A Creative Writing Challenge!
As we are all looking forward to a face to face meeting our friends face to face for a cup of tea and a good chat, I chose “friendship”, for this month’s activity.
Jesus made friends with a wide range of people, including fishermen, (Matthew 4;18-23) a tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19;1-10), and Martha and Mary (Luke 10; 38-42)
He had many wonderful qualities: so, what do you think makes a friend?
Please will you write about your friends or friendships and why they are important to you. You might include their qualities, how you met, what you enjoy doing together, or a favourite memory you share.
For a real challenge how about putting it into a Haiku or a poem?
I look forward to seeing your thoughts in writing.
Good luck! Barbara
A soup for Spring
The colour of this soup is reminiscent of the new green growth of spring and is highly nutritious. It can be adapted for vegans by missing out the cream and eggs, milk or milk substitute could be used in place of cream, or just miss it out. It serves 4.
For the croutons:-
4 slices of sourdough bread., crusts removed and cut into cubes.
1 tbsp olive oil.
For the soup:-
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
1 large broccoli head (350g)
100ml double cream
4 medium eggs
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Make croutons, preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade, or mark 6. Toss bread, oil and seasoning, place on a baking tray. Cook for 10 min or until golden brown. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat and cook the onion for 5 min, add the celery and cook for 5 min. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more.
3. Stir in stock and bring to the boil. Chop broccoli including the stalk and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir through the spinach to wilt. Place in a blender or liquidiser and wiz until smooth. Stir through cream (if using) season to taste.
4. Poach the eggs for 4 mins, test by lifting out with a slotted spoon – the white should feel firm but the yolk remains soft. Drain eggs on kitchen paper.
5. To serve ladle soup into 4 bowls and top each with an egg, croutons and a sprinkling of chilli.
The soup can be cooled and frozen without the toppings.
We have a response to Barbara’s creative writing challenge:
Fifty-seven years ago Rosemary and I met on a holiday in Norway. It was a walking holiday and we were both with elderly relatives. Later she told me that she had seen my walking boots tied onto my suitcase. She thought I was an avid walker. She soon discovered that I was no mountain goat, as we both usually took up the rear on walks, while our elderly relatives bounded ahead! That was the start of a very rich friendship, like a piece of colourful weaving.
Rosemary died last year, and looking back over the years I realise we both worked hard at weaving a good picture. We shared friends, holidays (not walking ones!), parents, interests, laughter and all the ups and downs of life. We knew when more caring was needed, and how to cope with each others idiosyncrasies, sometimes a challenge for both of us. The most precious thread we wove was the time we spent talking about the love of God. Latterly we could not visit one another, but long phone calls, and many prayers and poems bridged the gap. We both knew that all through our pains and joys, God was our rock. I so miss her, and still reach for the phone to call her, but I am confident she is now out of pain, and safely with her beloved Lord.
Her death has made me look at friendship more closely, and made me realise that good friends are a very precious gift from God. As in an Advent calendar each door opens onto a different picture, as we are all different, and we receive and give to each other in different ways, helping us towards the person we are. If our sights are on the glorious birth of Jesus as shown in the last door, then the friendship, however complex is rich beyond words.
We had our second ‘Zoom’ gathering at the end of March.
A big ‘thank you’ to all who took part in it, for the wonderful and quite emotional dramas, to the lovely music and such meaningful prayers and the beautiful art work from our archives and to all who joined in. The sharing time at the end was so special, hearing people’s heartfelt stories will stay with me. Alex
Here are some samples from the morning – memories for those who were there, glimpses of what you missed for everyone else:
Using last years palm cross as a base; I glued metal objects such as washers, staples, nails etc to represent the nuts and bolts of life. The cross, as a Christian symbol, represents for me Christ holding together our lives.
At Christmas I was tasked with helping to remove the Christmas tree from the balcony of the church and it was suggested that it should be saved for an Easter project. The project was to trim it, cut it and form a cross to represent the crucifixion. A prime bit of recycling, representing the journey from birth to death.
I made these crosses from woven painted paper strips, the random patterns and weaving reflecting how God takes every aspect of my life and weaves it together for his purposes. I have now added the lettering ‘He is risen’ and ‘Our Loving Hope’ and sent them for my Easter cards.
While making the cross, I felt most grateful for all the spiritual help over many years from churches and people. However, it was difficult to imagine the sheer horror of the crucifixion. I remembered the large cross we made at Kingdom Arts, with the triumphant gold of the resurrection on the reverse of the horror and we must give thanks for this especially at this time.
Holy week has always been a very important week for me, not only following the way of Jesus every day from Palm Sunday through to Easter Day but because of a significant event that happened in Holy week many years ago. My Dad, who was a wonderful Christian and who I was very close to, died in Holy week. I had sat with him and my sister and Mum for several days when he was so ill. I took some cross stitch work and made lots of different shaped crosses which I gave to the staff caring for him. This Holy week I decided to make some Dorset buttons and make them into a cross to place in our window. We have been studying the book “Living His Story” this Lent and how to share our story of faith with those we meet. I am hoping the cross will be a talking point in sharing my story with my neighbours. I have made the cross in yellows and golds, the colours of the Resurrection.
My cross is made from cubic letter beads which one of my grandchildren originally made into a bracelet for me. The letters spell out the several different names by which the family call me: Ruth, Grandma, Grandma Ruth, Mandma and simply Mum. I used these letters to make my cross.
As I gazed upon it and thought of the Easter story the scripture from Galatians 2:20 came to mind. “I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
It occurred to me that just as Jesus died for each one of us and rose again from the dead to give us resurrection life, using the letters of my name to make the cross was a symbolic way of expressing this reality for me personally.
KINGDOM ARTS invite you to Join us on our Easter Journey
ZOOM in on TUESDAY, MARCH 30th
Have your Hot Cross Buns ready!
Make your own Cross
or find out how to make one here on the Kingdom Arts website (see March 8th below)
RSVP to your contact person for ZOOM login details
Imbolc or Imbolg, also called St. Brigid’s Day, is a Gaelic traditional festival marking renewal, resurgence, and the beginning of Spring. It was traditionally held on 1st February. It lands about halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. (Wikipedia)
It’s not been easy to get started.
I wasn’t sure I was ready to break out wake up to begin to arise, part of me is still not sure.
But yesterday I started to dig my garden for first time, to clear leaves etc. and as I did I looked for signs of cracks in earth, looking for signs of life, the miracle of hope that seeds had survived and, there it was, a few light green shoots starting to appear.
In this lockdown it held magic and beauty for me and that night I cried as I was thankful things had survived underground, when there seems no life and all is dead, when in my own journey I grieve for many loved ones I have lost this year to untimely death and my thought of whether I too will ever survive and rise again.
There it was, hope cracking open the earth to find its way on its journey of life. Waking up a song I have yet to sing, here be picked in my drawing. It just developed.
She and He came, moon and sun together, the awakening to possibilities.
And I am reminded of Song of Songs, chapter 2
Awake, wake up, rise up and come away, the winter is past, flowers are appearing, the season of singing is coming.
For our Easter Zoom meeting, we invite you to think about The Cross and to join us as we travel towards our individual Easter journeys.
To help you do this we would like you to make your own cross in any way you wish. We are posting a few ideas to get you inspired.
Whilst on retreat a while back I came across this little book –
Making CrossesbyEllen Morris Prewitt
It gives encouragement to pray through the making of crosses. The crosses in the book are constructed from natural materials or found objects. They are simply made. It is a chance to use what we perhaps regard as rubbish and to give it new meaning, or to take something already imbued with beauty, in order that we can concentrate on our feelings of love, awe and gratitude for God.
The pictures below need no explanation as to how they were made, but the cross put together with two pieces of Welsh slate holds significance for me and is a reminder of a particular Easter when my life was at a turning point. The actual making of the cross helped me to focus on God.
Have a go, be creative with what you can find in your house or garden.
You will be able to show any cross you make to others at the Easter Zoom meeting. We look forward to seeing your efforts. Sue.
Examples from Sue:
Examples from Vikki:
These last three are made from wooden clothes pegs.
If you would like to see more detailed instructions for Designs 1 and 2 click here >>Making peg crosses
Early morning Spring mists clear,
revealing Mother God’s nurtured Earth.
Restless to reveal hidden treasures,
count the days towards new life.
But only God knows the day and time
for mothers and Earth to give birth,
rejoicing at the wonder of the Holy gifts.
With nodding snowdrops ringing joy,
birds joining the chorus.
A counterpane of royal gold and purple,
spreading over gardens and verges.
Soft, soothing greens
beginning to cover the land.
While mothering hands tend receptive young,
fulfilling needs and giving love.
Encouraging them to cross over
the rocking suspension bridge of life,
preparing for the path ahead.
Like resilient, reliable daisies
that brave the winter storms and trampling feet,
ready for future moral battle,
to weave threads of joy and peace
amongst the tangled threads
of pain, loneliness and fear.
Strengthened and upheld
with the constant Mother love of God.
We kick off this month with a thoughtful article from Frances which includes a pop-up picture and some creative writing inspired by Isaiah Chapter 43.
Last month’s Kingdom Arts focused on Isaiah 43, verse 19: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
I took ‘springs up’ quite literally! I wanted to try to make a pop-up from a picture with streams of water in what would otherwise be a desert wasteland. Despite looking beautiful because of the water in the foreground and a stunning sunset, the terrain would have been uninhabitable. Perfect for the metaphors in Isaiah 43!
Using the original, I altered and printed a copy. I positioned it on the original scene and decided to keep both suns to emphasise the intensity and ferocity of heat on the desert and its creatures.
Initially, I felt as though I was forming a miniature theatrical set! It took many attempts to get my head around where to make the cuts! Trial and error technique … helped by a trusty tube of prittstick glue.
I set to work with the challenge to make details pop-up. In order to extend the background, I had to use an identical image right at the back.
When it began to come together, I was able to focus on the verse rather than the maths needed to do the art – but I soon needed to read the whole chapter of Isaiah and rewrite them as a word from God to a modern audience who can empathise with ‘desert experiences’, particularly in this time when we are in a covid-19 lockdown.
Hello Again, We seem to be in the same position as we were last time we wrote to you except, of course, some of you may have received the vaccine….. a great step forward ! As it says in Psalm 126:3
“The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.”
As we look outside and see the beginnings of Spring with the bulbs shooting up and the sun shining, even if weekly, through our windows, we can take heart that better things are on the way. We live in the Hope of the gospel.
I happened to come across this from Pope Francis’ work “Laudato Si” and it was entitled a Prayer for our Earth. I am sure this will get your creative juices flowing. Enjoy reading and praying it. You could print it and illustrate it in some way and send it to us so we can put it on the website as a breath of Spring and Hope to encourage us all.
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
Kingdom Arts Gathering on Zoom to celebrate Easter.
TUESDAY MARCH 30th . . . 10.30a.m.
Details to come.
With love Alex and Sue xx
As memories of pancakes vanish
the Lenten offering awaits
for bowed heads and contrite hearts.
Humanly torn crosses lie dismantled,
echoing past and present human conflicts,
along with self-made, bewildering human pain
that numbs and paralyses the mind.
But those crosses are blessed,
purified by God’s cleansing fire,
igniting the promise of growth to come.
Blended by drops of healing, Holy oil.
Ready to be used as a witness
to God’s great forgiveness and everlasting Love.
Strengthened with a million uttered prayers
from every race and nation,
And outstretched helping hands,
so that we can live with renewed strength –
in God’s Faith, Hope and Love
A reflection from Frances:
The Lord is the Greatest Creator
The Lord is the greatest creator and we are full of joy.
Built into the laws of the universe,
hope can be found in disaster
and we are included so we can bring hope
and light up love as the answer.
Integral to the laws of the universe,
growth is seen in unforeseen places
and deep inside we thirst to thrive
and do the unexpected.
Innate within the laws of the universe,
We can find peace in discord and separation,
and we are included so that we can bring
accord and reparation.
Inherent in the laws of the universe,
There is a pure source of patience,
And we are included so we can resource
patience in static situations.
The Lord is the greatest creator and we are full of joy.
All of us at Kingdom Arts wish you a very Happy New Year for 2021.
We hold on to God’s promises for us for this New Year, for us to receive the Vaccine and a return to meeting with one another again. I hope you had a good Christmas Celebration, perhaps not in the way you may have hoped but one that you will remember for a long time! I expect, like us, you are just waiting for our world, our country, our lives to get back to some sort of normality, order and routine.
Maybe you haven’t had the energy or desire to even think about being creative ! Today is the day for you to look ahead into 2021, to thank God for keeping us all safe and to ask him what to do in this next period of our journey here on earth. I love this from Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
We have to keep moving forward. It is only in moving forward that we can accomplish what God has in store for us. We can’t stay where we are and after last year we don’t want to go backwards! The only way is forward….So let’s move on, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. He has called us to do amazing things. He will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert for us. It’s time now to focus on what lies ahead, it’s still uncertain and still scary but if we look to Him for our answers we can have confidence in the future laid out for us.
Maybe the Isaiah verse will get you thinking creatively – or maybe not!! -but do keep us in touch with how you are and what you have been up to. It was really great seeing so many of you on our Christmas Zoom Gathering. What a lovely time we had together, worshipping, singing, praying and sharing … not forgetting the soup too! Did anyone have a go at making it? I am sure Jan would like your feedback. Thank you to those of you who wrote to us afterwards to encourage us to plan another. Watch this space!
A big thank you to all who have sent in bits and pieces for the website, making it so interesting, varied and creative. Do send anything at all which you think may interest others – practical items, art, music, poetry – anything which has helped you to cope during lockdown. We can display words, pictures, sound and video as long as it’s your own creations. This website is only as good as the contributions you send in.
May the God of Hope and Peace watch over you in 2021.
With love Alex xx and Sue xx
An Advent report
Jan Butterworth received a message from Lesley Brown, one of our regular Kingdom Arts members, which included a detailed description of activities which took place in her local community during Advent. It all sounded so interesting, we thought you would like to see it . . .
Despite not being physically in church, the Christmas period has been just as busy as usual for me. We have our Sunday morning 9.30 gathering on ‘Zoom’ and have between 50 and 80 joining. A great joy has been having people who are distanced from us yet can join in our worship together – past members, relatives and some who have found themselves marooned in Europe – in Devon, France, S Africa & Nepal. I have ‘preached’ on Advent Sunday, midnight on Christmas Eve and last Sunday, Epiphany.
Greatest difficulty with ‘Zoom’ is it’s not good for children. As a Parish we thought of some different ways to celebrate Jesus’ coming. I was involved particularly in 2 initiatives.
Before Christmas we ran an Advent Light Trail, involving 10 houses putting up a lighted display of some sort in a window of their house. We created a Trail booklet with a heading, a Bible verse and a thoughtful question for families to engage with as they walked and looked. They were distributed to all the children at our First School & in church.
I had Joy to the World ‘I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people’ Luke 2:10 What’s the best news you’ve heard? How did you feel?
I used a couple of old Christmas cards to plan my design. I made a cardboard frame to fit my bedroom window and stuck some glassine paper across it (found that in Malvern art shop – strong so didn’t tear). The rest was done with black card and tissue paper…
I met a few of the people coming round on the Trail and the neighbours loved it.
Between 20-28th Dec we created a semi-life-sized nativity scene in the porch of our old little church at Cofton. Normally the church is used for services so the pandemic presented an unusual opportunity! Lots of people walk past St Michael’s because of where it is and it backs on to the new houses that have been built on the old Rover factory site – all in our Parish.
I constructed the body forms using things we had for junk modelling in Messy Church & stuff lurking in my house…..carpet rolls, cardboard tubes, chicken wire, old cushions & tights!
There was much hilarity taking those to be dressed by a couple of others, who did a magnificent job with the clothes & painting of face masks….
The feedback has been amazing – lots of visitors! I also did some thoughtful signposts on the path to it . . .
“God welcomes us. Come on a journey to look for Jesus” “Wealthy wise men, smelly poor shepherds…we can all come to God just as we are” “God in the flesh. This is the manger which one night became God’s throne room. Rest here in wonder!” “Gold, frankincense & myrrh…What will be our gift to Jesus?” “God guided, Joseph & Mary trusted, God has plans for us today!”
I send my love to you all and do look forward to the day I can join you again.
This is the prayer I used on Sunday, Epiphany…
God of surprises, Older than we can imagine, yet ever new; Help us to face change with courage and to live without fear because we know that you journey with us. Open us to hear you speaking through unexpected people, in unexpected places, at unexpected times, even those we have written off. Enable us to embrace the unknown with joy, and to be the light of your love in the world of today.
Very much love and greetings in our Lord, Lesley Brown
Two reflective pieces of creative writing from Helen:
‘Thoughts during a Cold Spell.’
A Changing World
We went to bed with temperatures falling,
and awoke to a changed, white, still World,
reminiscent of Winter coverings
in closed holiday homes.
And a bleary-eyed sun struggled to shine,
but ice-encrusted grass blades rose up,
ready for moral combat.
Piles of dormant, brown, Autumn leaves –
transformed into jewel-decked treasures.
The robin puffed up his feathers,
as we put on another jumper,
and found our protective clothing.
The elderly stayed at home,
while youngsters slide on ice with glee.
Motorists muttered quietly
as they scraped away the clinging frost,
to give them clearer vision
What are our homeless thinking?
Will they survive another night?
With God’s help and strength we will survive
to face and help a changing World. Helen McNicholl.
Thoughts on a late afternoon Winter Walk
Thoughtfully I kicked my way
through motionless leaves,
fallen from resting trees.
Suddenly a breath of the Holy Spirit
sent the leaves flying and twirling.
A glorious resurrection before my eyes,
filling my heart with hope and joy.
Words from long ago were remembered;
uttered by a ‘wheelchair bound’ Joan.
“Oh Joy, when I’m in God’s Kingdom
I will walk, run and dance again.”
Do we try to dance to your tune God?
A seagull was perched on an old telegraph pole,
an avian refugee from coastal parts,
sampling Birmingham’s kind inclusiveness.
Was he dreaming of distant waves,
beating against rugged cliffs and ledges,
which once were home and company?
Or was he just thinking
‘I am King of the Castle’ ?
Who reigns supreme in our lives?
Gazed in wonder at the day’s last trumpet call,
overwhelmed by the colours of the setting sun.
How often have we missed the vision –
working late, pulling curtains?
Silhouetted, stripped trees were standing proud,
Their pure shapes visible for all to see.
No disguise or pretence.
Has Advent de-cluttered us?
The warmth of home beckoned
like the stable long ago welcoming shepherds.
Thank you Lord that you welcome all
to the home of your heart. Helen McNicholl.
This month we’ve had our first meeting for nine months! Admittedly, it was a ‘Zoom’ meeting, but 26 of us were able to spend time together – worship together, chat together, laugh together and enjoy each others’ company. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before we are able to meet again in person at St George’s in Worcester.
Here are some excerpts from the gathering:-
We had a version of a well-known carol with several of us singing. Why not join in? . . .
We were treated to a new song from Sue:
Last year Shefalie wrote a beautiful poem – Mary’s response to the Angel’s visit to her. She read it to us . . .
Just before Shefali’s poem, there was a brief picture of a nativity scene. In fact, this is an altar frontal created by the craft group at St Peter’s Church, Ipsley (in Redditch).
In preparation, many of us had created origami angels before the meeting and these were displayed (see November Journal for instructions).
Vikki produced a very impressive macramé angel.
Instructions for this can be found on YouTube. Click the link below if you would like to see them.