i have added more photos to the nine elms advent trail album - jen and i cycled in for a view of things we missed - this time in daylight
jen and i cycled in on what turned out to be a wet and windy evening to go round the nine elms advent trail. it's quite a big area and due to building work not straightforward to work out where you are going so it is quite a trail. we probably managed half of it but enjoyed it and hope to go back. it's outdoors so it's socially distanced and all that. our walk was punctured by news that christmas in london is under tier 4 so it means our plans to see family and grandkids are scuppered - feels like a depressed london today. i definitely feel in need of a bit of light in the darkness. big thanks to betsy and others who put this together.
i have added a photo album here - as ever in the dark i had to work quote hard to get anything like a half decent photo but i do quite like that challenge.
betsy blatchley is a pioneer in nine elms which is a huge new housing area near battersea power station just south of the river thames in london. the focus of her pioneering is arts and community building. she has pulled off what looks like an incredible advent project no doubt with some others - nine elms advent calendar trail. every day through advent a new location is unveiled on social media which reveals a piece of art produced by an artist or community group or some sort of collaboration. but it sounds as though the whole trail is up already so you can go round it. i plan to cycle in at some point and wander round and take some photos. there is a really good instagram and twitter flow with images every day. this is such a good project for this year when you can only really meet outside. and it is an amazing project regardless of the year. a huge effort is behind this i am sure. you can download a map of the trail and follow round it. i really like the look and feel of what is happening through nine elms with the living room and other things - it's been quite a while since i last saw betsy and it looks like things have developed in really creative and good ways since we last spoke. i must catch up! great to see creative pioneering like this in london.
i am making this a worship trick - two in a row!!!???
ben bell loves advent! when he was a youthworker he always produced something creative and now he is a priest he is still up to his old tricks i am glad to say. angels over hoxton is a street art project where two churches have worked together to angel bomb the area and encourage photos to then be posted on social media using the hashtag #angelsoverhoxton - follow the instagram here
it's a very simple idea but it makes perfect sense to take advent to the streets this year perhaps more than any other year but i always like things like this that engage in public space rather than simply inside church buildings.
i am adding it as a worship trick. i'll blog about the other advent project that has caught my attention tomorrow.
several times at grace we have done our own take on nine lessons and carols - only it's unikely to be carols! nine people select a tune related to the traditional readings following the christmas story. come and join us from wherever you are in the world - sit back and relax. here's the blurb
The next Grace will be a Zoom gathering at 8pm on Saturday December 12.
9 lesson, 9 tunes - it’s a Christmas tradition! Even King’s College are going virtual this year.
There will be a cafe afterwards. We would have mulled wine and mince pies in normal circumstances - maybe get yourself some seasonal snacks and be the envy of your breakout group.
If you would like to join us please email [email protected] and we will email you an invitation link.
this advent i am going to read through this lovely little book the art of advent by jane williams which has a painting for each day of advent with a short reflection. it's full colour and less than ten pounds! i was delighted to see meg wroe's reworked rublev's icon is in the book.
i always love the season of advent. love this flyer from steve for our grace advent service this year which will consist of a series of reflections, prayers, meditations, songs brought by whoever comes. if you plan to come do bring something to share in that way. it will all be followed by mulled wine and stollen.
and i am not sure i should confess to this but if you look on the grace web site there is a link to a video from 1996 of grace on channel 4 which we dug out for the 25th celebration - it is fairly amusing/embarrassing!
i have been meaning to add this since the last grace but don't know where the time has gone...
anyway it was a lovely grace advent service and i know next year is a way off but you could easily repeat this idea so tuck it away somewhere. grace was inspired by ian adams reflections for advent seeking light - which you can get from proost. we printed them off a3 size and suspended them from the balcony in the church space with nylon thread. we used about 20 in total i think. it was handy that having done an exhibition there before we still had the stuff from that. to straighten them out we just clipped a strip of card behind each sheet.
then apart from a central candle and a few candles highlighting the step at the far end the church space was completely dark - we had moved benches from the main space. a set of tunes played quietly in the dark around the theme of seeking light (see below). then the bulk of grace was 45 minutes where people were given a candle to take into the space and read the reflections by candlelight. they could sit quietly in the space or read through them all as they wished. we simply topped and tailed that with an opening and ending prayer/liturgy. these have been added to the grace archive here . it was very simple. the candlelight really made it a magical evening...
the playlist i think was:
lovebleeps - laura b
incense - andy thornton (from labyrinth)
o come o come emmanuel - sufjan stevens
blackout - heights of abraham
shine - dave gahan and soulsavers
a change is gonna come - the fugees live
anthem - leonard cohen
young death - burial
open the light - boards of canada
gathering light - detriot escalator co
searchlight - jon hopkins
the light - album leaf
a light to guide you - clem leek
near light - olafur arnolds
into forever - eat lights become lights
to believe - cinematic orchestra
jesus alone - nick cave
since i - jono mccleery
lighthouse - patrick watson
there's a new movie on proost from jon birch - apollo christmas. the latest u[pdate from proost has links to various advent and christmas resources but here's what it says about this movie...
This week we launch Jon Birch's wonderful Apollo Christmas movie. On Christmas Eve 1968 astronauts orbiting the moon made an amazing broadcast. With incredible visuals, euphoric electronic music and the words of the three astronauts - this movie takes a different spin on wonder at Christmas.
proost is actually organised slightly earlier than usual this year for advent season. and there are some great new resources. i think we are likely to use seeking light at grace (though yet to be discussed). anyway here's the proost update with info and links
As we approach the season of Advent we are reminded again that we wait for God to come to us. We wait in hope for we know that the presence of God with us - that we remember in the birth of Jesus - is transformative in ways that we can only begin to imagine. We wait in hope.
Writing his seminal book 'God in the Manger' Dietrich Bonhoeffer considered the amazing hope of the birth of Christ.
"God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”
Sometimes we cry out to God 'How Long Lord?" as we wait for him. But we wait in hope.
Sometimes we wait expectantly knowing that God will be with us. But we wait in hope.
Sometimes we wait in confusion. Unsure what will happen next. But we wait in hope.
All of our writers here on Proost know and share these emotions and experiences. We are all human beings. We know suffering and we know joy. We hope the resources we share on this website may bring hope to you in whatever you face this Advent.
We are pleased and thrilled to share 'Seeking Light' by Ian Adams. The latest in his series of season reflections - this time focused on Advent, Christmas and Ephiphany. If you've not encountered Ian's work before then do have a look. If you have then you'll know this will be a wonderful accompaniment to Advent.
We are also thrilled to share two new pieces of work from Tim Watson. Journey to the Inward Wild is Tim's second in the Hymnal to the Wild series. Bursting with beautiful poems it's an honest, vulnerable and hopeful read. These poems are perfect to accompany your own devotionals and worship or to read for pleasure or share with others. We are also pleased to share a free resource Advent Thoughts - a series of simple slides taking us through the season. This is free so what do you have to lose !
Advent is a season where Proost has featured many resources to help with your own journey to Christmas. These are available in our back-catalogue and through the Seasons button in the menu. On the frontpage we feature three highlights - Alt.Advent (Jon Birch), We Who Still Wait (a collaboration of Chris Goan, Si Smith, Ian Adams and Steve Broadway) and then People Walking in Darkness (a movie from Grace.) Do check these and other Advent items on the site.
Lastly the best way to access the site remains our Get it All subscription, still only £60. Perfect for you but also as a gift to someone else. Take a look.
Thanks for reading. May your advent season be filled with hope.
for the first time in a while the advent grace was nine, where we take the traditional nine readings from nine lessons and carols and invite nine people to choose a piece of music and do something else - a reflection, ritual or whatever.
this year was great with a whole range of contributions. a favourite of mine was the first ever contribution from dave and helena who are new to grace. they made this wonderful film to go with the reading from isaiah 9 about 'the people walking in darkness'.
we have quickly added this to proost so it's available to anyone now - it may be a bit late for this year but tuck it away for next if so!
if you are around this saturday why not come along to grace at st mary's ealing. we take the christmas story as outlined in a traditional nine lessons and carols framework but rather than carols nine people will select a piece of music or art and something to reinterpret or tell the story. we have had some great times over the years. i am one of the nine and will be performing a song...
grace this saturday - here's the blurb…
December's Grace unwraps Christmas with a night of storytelling: Carstairs and the Colonel, communion at gunpoint, illegal plum-puddings, and a man in need of hair-care products. There will be no penguins, but there may well be mince pies.
St Mary's Church, Saturday 13th December at 8pm
this is beautiful - katie pearce has designed a lovely advent calendar with daily posts on themes such as drudge, ache, wait, dark following the journey of mary and joseph and other characters in the story with scripture, reflection, song, image and thoughts...
all incredibly tasteful. follow along. each year it seems i stumble across something new in advent, a new creative soul expressing a fresh take on the old story. katie is hugely talented and i am very happy to say she is training with us on the pioneer course at cms :)
i am making this a worship trick 54 in series 4
well it's a month to christmas which means the season of advent is almost here, that time of expectation and waiting. proost has a new resource we who still wait - this is put together by four artists. chris goan, ian adams, steve broadway and si smith have brought their collective creative wisdom together to shape a wonderful book. it's a book to follow the season with photos, a reflection and a poem each day. download it as a pdf - more info is here.
of course if you subscribe which is a bargain you can log in and download anything for a year!
don't forget there is a proost us site as well.