January 2021 Journal

If you want to see the earlier entries,
click here >> Coronavirus Journal for December

January 4th

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

January 9th

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…

Finished work from the back – before it was placed in the window
Close up
View from the ground

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!

It all looks a bit Dr Who at this stage!

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

January 17th

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.

January 28th