February 2024 Gathering

20th February


African American Spirituals

The display this morning depicted the night sky, a river and cotton plantations with a heavy chain to symbolise the theme of slavery and in particular African American slaves. There were also photographs of Harriet Tubman who had led many slaves out of their miserable existence.

Alex welcomed everyone, including old friends and new faces, we commenced by singing some familiar spirituals from the African American heritage, “Let my people go” and “Steal Away” which were followed by prayers.

Sue then gave a most knowledgeable talk about the history and meaning of Spirituals. Few of us had been aware of the ‘codes’ and hidden messages in the songs. She illustrated this with some examples in which we enjoyed participating, including a rendition of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot“.

So on to the activities for the morning, highlighting the theme:-

Alison led a sewn collage activity using fabric, felt cut into a meaningful word and stitches.

There was a craft table involving the use of “Brusho”, bleach watercolours and wax crayon. Landscapes were described as sky, trees and a cotton plantation. One of the participants said the results were “unpredictable.”

David bravely tackled the construction activity, which was to construct a small balsawood slave hut!

The writing was once again different, as inspiration from the talk took each person in a different direction.

Creative writing and new spirituals!
It is wonderful how openly people will share their feelings in words.
To see this month’s creative writing, click here.

A table offered charcoal of a still life of African wooden statues; described as “more chat and charcoal.”

There were also the usual opportunities for quiet, contemplative, prayerful knitting.

The conversations buzzed and we were kept refreshed by Pam who served coffee, tea and biscuits.

We ended the mornings activities by sharing our mornings efforts and singing one more spiritual ‘I want Jesus to walk with me‘. How amazing were the experiences of the morning. Another session full of thought-provoking activities and information.

A lunch followed with soup, lovingly made by Jan K, this month it was tomato and ginger or pea and mint, there was bread, cheese, fresh  fruit and a delicious selection of home-made cakes. Thank you, Jane and Ruth!

We hope you will come next month to swell our numbers we meet on Tuesday 12th March 2024.

Please note the start time Coffee from 10.00, followed by worship and activities, with lunch around 12.40.