Yesterday I was out on one of my walks with Wilbur (my black Labrador). The sun was out and as I was pondering about this and that and I caught sight of a single beautiful pink poppy. This poppy was sitting within the leaves of a hedge on the side of a pavement. There was a garden full of poppies down the road, but this one was just there, looking beautiful in the hedge. I could have easily walked past this poppy not noticing it or thought nothing of it, but its ‘out of placeness’ caught my eye. Later that day I was in conversation with some lovely folk from a local Church who had been concerned that their Church community was shrinking, their view only fixed on their Sunday morning gathering. As the conversation unfolded, they began to talk about these six or seven other amazing groups that were also meeting at different times of the week. There was a sense of joy and hope as we talked about these gatherings. No, they were not the traditional Sunday worship, and, like that poppy, we could have overlooked them or considered them a bit messy. Yet, … Read the restRead more
Hello, how are you all doing?
I am sorry that this has taken me so long to write and get this out to you. I had started to write this, but when I came back to it, what I had previously written no longer felt right. So, this is the re-write.
The last few weeks have been a bit unsettling and have left us feeling a bit discombobulated, but I am certain that some of you will be able to relate to feeling a bit wonky at the moment.
So, what do you do when everything feels up in the air and you wonder where on earth God is leading you? What do you do with that sense of bleakness or uncertainty? So much of the pioneering journey is about experiment and walking into unfamiliar territory, and we know that the road less trodden is a harder route. The Bible is full of stories of people who have walked with faith and sat with uncertainty, but knowing these things does not make our own sense of confusion or loss any easier to bear, does it?
It is no wonder that we crave for certainty and familiarity … Read the rest
Hello to you all for May’s little wander through the Ark’s thoughts, well some of them!
It has been a strange month with the world ‘opening up’ again bit by bit as restrictions ease. Yet, for many, there is a myriad of emotions that have accompanied that release into this next phase. There is still a sense of grief as we mourn what has been lost or what we fear we are still losing. I wonder if there is a temptation to hold onto what we felt was comfortable or familiar. The phrase ‘we cannot wait to go back’ is one that has been heard frequently, but can we go back I wonder? However, embracing an alternative, somewhat uncertain future is un-nerving.
I was attending a webinar last month with people who are all exploring, seeking, experimenting, or just finding out about ‘other ways of being church’. There was a chap speaking on the topic of ‘a mixed ecology of Church’ and this issue of ‘going back’ was raised. He spoke about the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. When we have lost something or someone precious, it is … Read the restRead more
Firstly, and most importantly, we want to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the Easter ‘Bags of Love’. Thanks to everyone’s generosity we managed to pack and distribute 3500 bags, which meant that we could give a bag to every child from the schools who had provided artwork for the Emerging Hope Easter Trail. To you all, however you supported this work – thank you! Your kindness and generosity enabled families to receive the message of hope and love at Easter.
The children at a few of the schools have written thank you letters which I will pop up on the Facebook page, others have emailed to say thank you. We were inundated with artwork and cannot thank the children and staff teams enough for providing such super and thoughtful pictures. If you have time to pop into the Galleries, then please do – the artwork will be in shops until Sunday 9th May.
The rest of the month has passed in a bit of a whirlwind bringing the team unexpected experiences, some that have brought forth joy, like the Easter Trail, whilst others have given us reason to pause to reflect, grieve for what has been … Read the restRead more
Here we are at the start of March and there has been a feeling of spring in the air. We hope that this finds you all well and looking forward to increasingly to warmer days.
As Easter is now only a few weeks away, the team have spent a fair amount of time contemplating the annual Easter trail. This has always opened huge opportunities to engage and work with a variety of people from all walks of life. Last year, of course, it had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the first lockdown. After much thought we felt that it would be a wonderful thing to try to rethink the trail within the current restrictions and offer something that supports families, the retailers and scatters a little joy after a year which for many has been a bit of a slog. This year’s trail is called ‘Emerging Hope’ and as I type this, we have groups of young people drawing pictures which illustrate for them the mix of feelings which they have experienced in the last year. These pictures will be collaged onto giant hearts and we shall add a little extra into each heart by hiding … Read the restRead more
I am a little late in writing January’s ‘Thoughts’, slipping to the first day of February. January felt quite long, I am not sure how it felt like for you? We have spoken with people who have felt ‘slow’ and ‘sluggish’ and the drive to keep motivated has diminished, yet on the flip side the reasons for hope and optimism are visible. The infection numbers seem to be dropping slowly and many people are now getting vaccinated. There is also the wonder of nature to remind us that Spring is on the way and the promise of brighter days and the hope that we can spend time with our loved ones or just more time out and about. There is a horizon at least to peak over!
During January, we have had to respond to the restrictions that once again came with this lockdown. The question of how to reach out and scatter the message of hope and joy whilst knowing that for some this time is so difficult, is an ever-present challenge. Social media and Zoom have both played a part in our ability to speak directly to people and to continue to build relationships, but we are … Read the restRead more
Hello once again to you all. I cannot believe that we are halfway through December. With Christmas just around the corner and the prospect that for many Christmas will look and feel different this year, we hope that you are all able to keep your spirits up during this strange time.
As I sit here to write this, we are in the midst of packing ‘Christmas in a bag’, so surrounding me is enough stuff to pack somewhere in the region of 800 bags. My table and floor is covered with all sorts of stuff from Bible society books, Christmas biscuits, stickers, and various bits for craft ideas! The bags will be distributed later this week to various places across the Circuit to members who will use them within their communities. We may not be able to meet for the traditional Nativity services or carol concerts, but our hope is that the bags will allow people to experience the wonder and joy of the season in a different way.
In addition to the plethora of stuff for the bags is an array of knitted and sewn hearts plus several hosts of wonderful angels! We have been utterly overwhelmed by the … Read the restRead more