News (page)

February Writing 2021

February 1st

From Frances

Based on Isaiah 43

Now you’ve asked me to be your guide, you will know that we tread the path of life together. That means, for you, there will be a new way, a new normal, a new experience. We will be so team spirited that those meandering paths in life will seem straight and the landscape flat to walk on. I will be your shelter, your living water, your nourishment for life’s journey. You can look back, but it will offer you so little reward that you will want to face forward and move forwards. The view will fulfil you completely. Your perception will be clear. No matter what lies ahead, you will know that all is possible with me. You will not need to be afraid. You will see families, friends and nations come together and be reconciled. Enough of this ‘walking solo’. We will have a community focus. I am doing something new. I am bringing a new desire for unity, a new perspective to treasure and you will all want to remain responsible for its care, because you will see that I care for you with a love that is deep, strong, and unquantifiable because of its magnitude.

You know that, like many before you, you have had eras of your life that have left you dry and wanting. You have walked those desert paths! All life tries to protect itself from the rays of the sun, the piercing sun, that burns as though it has doubled in size and intensity. In your desert era, you tried desperately to escape from it but there was no shelter and no way to progress pain free. On those desert paths, walking, hopping, or running burns underfoot, scolds and forms sores on your skin. Anything and everything made your own desert era worse and there was nowhere and no way to hide, though you tried. Desert travel turns the sensations of thirst and hunger into close enemies. Your own desert experience made enemies of your own mind, body, and soul. You endured the valleys of life’s arduous paths whilst being chained to false hope for better times ahead. Those times were like deceptive paths of promise that are steep, rocky, and dangerous to climb. In that time of your life, you longed to see a fresh landscape heralding better times ahead because you felt your life was at stake.

But you can be reassured, pilgrim, your life is safe because I am the author of life. I do not deal death in the way people often understand death. People understand death as an end, as if life is finite but I am without beginning or end and I work outside of time. My time is in the eternal era of ‘everlasting’. You are my creation and life, your life, doesn’t end. Your life is precious to me because I formed you. As your creator, we will always have an indelible connection. There isn’t even anything I would give you up for. I have everything and you are treasured part of my everything. There’s no one I would give you to. Why would I give you to someone or something that I have created, that I already own? I wouldn’t even want to put you under someone else’s authority. To do so wouldn’t make any sense. What would be the point of giving you to someone who would not love you as I love you? I would never part from you because my love and compassion for you is perfect and insurmountable.

So, let’s talk while we walk this journey called life . . .

©Frances Burton


February 17th

Ash Wednesday

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

Helen McNichol


February 22nd

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.

Reflection on Psalm 126 verse 3 by Frances Burton


 

February 2021 Journal

February 1st

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.

Frances explains:

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.

Frances’ pop-up, Isaiah 43, image 1

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.

Frances’ pop-up, Isaiah 43, image 2

Click here to read Frances’ contribution in February Writing page


February 4th

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.


STOP PRESS

Kingdom Arts Gathering on Zoom to celebrate Easter.

TUESDAY MARCH 30th . . . 10.30a.m.

Details to come.

With love Alex and Sue xx


February 17th

Ash Wednesday

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

Helen McNichol


New life springs from the harshness of winter.

February 22nd

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.

Reflection on Psalm 126 verse 3 by Frances Burton


 

January Writing 2021

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 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


 

December 2020 Music

December 8th

Mary’s Kiss  by  Sue

O Little Town of Bethlehem

The Blessing by Sue


December 16th

Into the World by David


 

December 2020 Journal

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


December 8th

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.

Vikki Moore

Instructions for this can be found on YouTube. Click the link below if you would like to see them.

DIY Macrame Angel Tutorial – YouTube


We were able to sing along to another song, led by David . . .

CCLI 516751

No Kingdom Arts meeting is complete without soup from Jan; and although we could not taste her offering, we could follow her instructions and make our own.

Instructions can be found on the BBC Good Food site. Click the link below if you are interested.

Cauliflower & chestnut soup recipe – (BBC Good Food)

If you prefer a demonstration, who better than ‘Jan the Chef’ to explain how to make your soup?? (Sorry the sound isn’t too good).

Soup demo – Part 1

Soup demo – Part 2

We finished with The Blessing from Sue

The meeting ended with plenty of chatter and smiles, with everyone looking forward to the next time together.


December 16th

A Christmas song from David


 

November Writing 2020

November 10th

Crossing Over

The evening was closing in
with shadows lengthening
As Jesus found a boat
and a willing crew of disciples
for a gentle crossing, so they thought.
How often do we hope for calm,
when all can be shattered in an instant?
Suddenly a storm raged all around them,
sending up mountain high waves,
like man-made dreams and plans,
only to crash and swamp the deck.
The wind tearing at clothes and hair,
control of thought and mind gone.
All that remained was dreaded fear,
A human, untamed inner instinct –
But our Saviour heard their cries of…

HELP

The same cry that echoes now
through a hundred million prayers.
In a world of unknown certainties
His answer, the same forever.

BE STILL

Listen to my words
I am here at all times
With Fatherly love and understanding
to lead you though unknown waters,
and cross you over to a safe shore,
here and now, and into eternity.

©Helen, November 2020


 

November 2020 Journal

If you want to see the earlier entries,
click here >> Coronavirus Journal for October
click here >> Coronavirus Journal for September
click here >> Coronavirus Journal for August

November 19th

Art work – Autumn Seeds
Rodney

November 17th

Advance notice of our December (virtual) gathering:

Invitation

We at Kingdom Arts invite you to join us in a ZOOM meeting on:

Tuesday Dec 8th 10.30-11.30

Christmas readings, carols, prayers, worship songs, chat and laughter. Mulled wine and mince pies (bring your own!)

We invite you to make an origami angel, see details and how to get instructions below.

If you get in touch with your Kingdom Arts contact, we will send you the Zoom code details.

Origami Angel

Details for making this Angel, recently promoted at Ripon Cathedral for an event called “A Wing and a Prayer” (There is a link to Ripon Cathedral at the end of this message).

Make your Angel any size or colour of your own choice. You could suspend your Angel with a length of thread through a pin-hole in the top or support it on a rod or pole from beneath.

You may like to write on the back of the wing some person or a particular need for prayer.

During the Gathering on December 8th there will be an opportunity to show these Angels and to offer the prayers.

I hope you enjoy making the Angel. I have tried to choose one that takes a bit of care but is not too difficult to achieve!

David

Click on the link below to go to the Ripon Cathedral website, then scroll down the page:

A Wing and a Prayer


November 10th

Hello Again,
Our regular monthly meeting should be today. Happy November!

Here we are again rumbling along to Christmas, not sure who we can see, where we can go and for how long and whether all the Tesco delivery slots will have gone! I thought it appropriate we chose the story this month from St. Mark’s Gospel (4:35-41) of the disciples in the boat and Jesus calming the storm. It’s an exciting story and visually amazing. I am sure you can get creative and come up with something out of this! Do have a go and send it in to us.

The significance of Jesus calming the storm is so very pertinent to what’s happening in our world today and is evidence of God’s love for us. Covid 19 has had a significant impact on our lives. We’re flooded by numerous types of storms weekly, daily, and even hourly!

These storms are both internal and external and the chaotic circumstances around us are beyond our control. Right now, many can relate to the disciples’ emotions when Jesus calmed the storm.

But as country after country go into lockdown, the same fear and panic the disciples experienced looms over us. What can we do to calm our fears?
We have to hold onto words from the Bible, prayers, hymns and worship songs to remind ourselves that God’s love for us can never be destroyed.

God is with us in our pain and fear and uncertainty and will lead us to a yet more glorious day. Keeping in touch with friends and family is important too, that’s why we keep this journal going to let you know that you are loved by God and by us!

Alex x and Sue x
PS This November we should have been celebrating our 5th Birthday!


Our first poem of the month comes from Helen, ‘Crossing over’

Read it in the November Writing page


A lockdown project

It took a little longer than the first lockdown, but it was fun.  Vikki loves gardening and had wanted a wildlife pond for some time.

You may have noticed the ‘Gnome Home’

Finished. Now what? . . .


October Writing 2020

October 19th

God’s Gifts

One morning an engulfing, mysterious mist
scattered pearls over grass and webs,
heralding the passing Summer.
Awakening us to a bountiful, God-given Autumn,
resplendent with His promised gifts,
and the work of human hands.

The oxygen-giving heroes of trees and bushes
start wearing newly coloured robes
of yellow, gold and earthy brown,
While others burst into flaming reds,
enough to stop the World
and take away our breath.
Remembering the God-revealing burning bush
and past evening ‘fire-side watching’,
seeing glowing pictures and dreaming dreams.

Leaves begin to crave a rest.
Twist, float and tumble down to Earth,
covering all before them
with magical, mosaic-like patterns.
There are popping, flying, scattered seeds
for birds and animals alike.
Hidden, stored and eaten in plenty.
Will that industrious squirrel
ever find his hidden treasure?

Parent weary birds rest,
Restoring and preening battered feathers,
while others escape from Winter’s unknown forecast.
Bees make a last search for nectar pure and sweet
in flowerbeds, fields and heather-clad hills.
Barns filled with life-giving grain
to sustain our daily needs,
and humans gather bulging goodness
from across our land.

The agonising cry of the fox
echoes through the air, searching for love.
While human tears fall for answering prayers,
and our hearts sing silently.
God, may all be safely gathered in
for everyone across the World.

© Helen McNicholl October 2020


October 7th

Falling?

A ripe rosy apple has fallen from the tree
It lies alone, glistening in the rain-soaked grass until
A small brown black slug slides across the skin looking for
A place to enter and spread the rot
Like the doubts and anxieties entering my thoughts to spread discontentment
Shall despair takes hold?
No!
I remove the slug
I wash the apple clean then
Like Eve I invite you to share it.

© Barbara Rolison, Kingdom Arts, 2020