i have always loved labyrinths since i was first introduced to them by kev and ana draper back in the nineties! this year should see a new one land at wolf fields as we (grace) are creating an outdoor one there for friends in southall. it should be ready by easter i imagine - you can see progress above.
but meantime as seems to be our wonderful habit there will be a labyrinth at grace this saturday - it's a pretty easy thing to remain socially distanced on as we are small in number. do join us.
we've had a lot of fun at grace with nine over the years - respinning the traditional readings and carols with nine readings and tunes. it will be live in ealing at st mary's but it will also be online - hybrid and all that. if you want to join online let me know and i can send the link.
in imagining mission with john taylor there is a chapter called 'enough is enough' which reflects on mission in relation to consumer culture and its impact on the planet. In that we say
We need new liturgies, prayers, songs, theologies, and rituals that articulate connection with the soil. We should lament with sorrow the loss of species and the planet’s warming, and pray and work for its healing and renewal.
of course we need action too, which is also a form of worship. but i am interested in what you might be doing to pray or make an articulation in worship that fits this moment when COP26 is about to take place and we hold our breath to wonder what actions will come out to help us as a world community.
if you have something do message me - leave a comment or email. i will post suggestions and links here.
a few to get the ball rolling.
lectio365 have a series starting nov 1 (which will remain up) of daily reflections
the planetary mass is still a wonderful liturgy
little spaces of hope collates some prayers and reflections from amos trust who held a climate summit and includes a climate justice liturgy at the end and some other lovely pieces too.
the next grace is the day after COP26 ends and we will be sharing bread and wine using the planetary mass liturgy which still feels so poignant. there will be space for prayer, lament and reflection.
the next grace is called embers and is on saturday 9 october - really liking the theme... here's the blurb:
A reflective service inspired by Jon Hopkins' track 'Sit around the fire'.
It feels like the past two years have left many things burned out and reduced to ashes, but among the ashes may be embers that can be nursed into flame again.
What for you feels like it has turned to ashes? Is there an ember at the core of you that you would like to fan into flame? What are the embers of Grace that we would like to fan into flame? What would you like to leave as ashes?
Join us at 8pm in real life at St Mary's Ealing.
Café afterwards, possibly with burnt offerings.
i think grace have been pretty creative online for the last eighteen months but it is good to be able to meet on site as it were. but we are wanting to carry our learning forward and have a mix of online and on site so gracelet will be a monthly online gathering. it's been lovely connecting with the grace diaspora and others - see flyer above for info
unlocked exhibition at ealing police station - photo by edmond terakopian
the last week has been so brilliant. our local photography group has had this crazy idea for an exhibition outside so that we knew people would be able to see it and feel safe. that thought led us to pondering whether we could use ealing police station as the canvas - that took a few creative leaps in itself. fast forward a year after thinking why not give it a go and unlocked is up! it looks incredible.
install of unlocked exhibition at ealing police station - photo by edmond terakopian
i am so proud of what the group has achieved. we have liased with police, fundraised, hired cherry pickers and installers, worked out what's need to clean a building and print on vinyl, curated a powerful set of images reflecting on the last 18 months and the moment we are in. seeing the building being jet washed in preparation and then the photos arriving and being installed at the beginning of last week felt so exciting.
install of unlocked exhibition at ealing police station - photo by edmond terakopian
this weekend we had the opening with a hundred or so photographers, sponsors, friends and family and some passers by stumbling across it.
unlocked exhibition at ealing police station - photo by edmond terakopian
sometimes in an exhibition people say what's your favourite photo or whatever. but for me what i love about this is that it's about the whole. it's the impact of seeing all the photos together that has so many resonances of the last eighteen months. we hope it gives people a chance to look back and reflect and to look forward. i didn't want to post a photo before the opening as i liked the idea of a surprise for those coming. but now it's up and there are photos around i want a record of it on the blog. if you are in ealing do go and see it. if you are somewhere else in the world or country then here is gallery of the images which you can look through. click on a photo and you will get some info on it.
edmond terakopian who is a fellow member of the group took some wonderful photos of the install and of the police station with the images on that really gives you a feel for the scale of it which he has given me permission to post - all the photos in this blog post are his (thank you!)
i have loved being part of the planning group. thanks to ealing police for saying yes, to our sponsors gogar services, fujifilm, clarion futures and all the individuals who have given to support the project and especially to our photography group for being bonkers enough to think we might actually pull this off.
it's been a crazy adventure but i can now tell you that the photo exhibtion unlocked is going ahead. it will be on the outside of ealing police station with 35 photos over 5 storeys. it will be a huge piece of public art. it is going up to be part of BEAT festival which runs over the two weekends of 11-12 and 18-19 september but will remain up for a few months (we hope) and of course is visible in daylight hours any time. the exhibition explores the experience of the last 18 months both looking back and looking forward. i have photos in it which i am really excited about. this is the biggest scale exhibition i have been part of. it's been a fun ride to raise money through crowdfunding and sponsorship - i am very proud of our little photography group. we have jet washers, cherry pickers, installers and printers lined up. ealing police have been really helpful all the way through. there is an opening event - if you want an invite to that get in touch. but i hope you get to see it. no doubt i will post photos for those of you who live far away! i really cannot wait to see it myself.
you get those jokes about the good news and the bad news. this post is one of those in relation to unlocked - the photo exhibition we are planning in ealing.
the good news is we have managed to raise over three thousand pounds towards the total of 5.5k. one member of the photo group secured two thousand pounds sponsorship from fujifilm which is amazing!
the bad news is that ealing council have not yet backed the project. this is slightly exasperating as to become a crowdfunding project they have to approve it so you jump through quite a few hoops. so you assume this means they have decided they will back it to some degree. but apparently this may not be the case. we still wait to see... and meantime we have to go ahead and arrange people to do the installation and printing so have given ourselves a deadline of the end of july which will be make or break. we have also applied to a couple of other local foundations/trusts too. but again not sure we will hear in time. so it's squeaky bum time for sure.
so send a prayer up for us! and if you want to back a local photography project of course we'd love you to - you can do so through the crowdfunding page. money will only get taken at the end if we reach our target. it's weird for me because this is not my usual thing so i have not raised for arts projects n this way.
i am part of a local photography group. as a group we have planned an exhibition as part of BEAT 2021. given all the uncertainties due to covid we had been exploring outdoor options for exhibiting and through a series of connections have ended up with ealing police station agreeing we can use the front of their building as a canvas for our next exhibition! it is huge so will have quite an impact. the exhibition is called ‘UNLOCKED – looking back, looking forward’ and is a reflection on the strange times we find ourselves in, the things we have noticed over the past year and our hopes for the future.
of course it is going to be more costly to pull off so we are in the process of raising funds for it. on contacting ealing council they now have their own crowdfunding page for community initiatives and projects and steered us in that direction. as part of that they will consider backing a project but like to see a group raising funds and demonstrating commitment themselves. so whilst we hadn't anticipated it this means we have ended up with a local crowdfunding page for unlocked. if you'd like to support the group then you can pledge here. we are 10% of the way there at the time of writing this post.
next saturday's grace is a walk and talk - it starts at 2:30pm and will end up with a drink in richmond outside. do join us - there will be some reflections en route but having met online for so long it will be nice to see people in person. i assume there isn't a breakdown in relations between ealing and richmond - i.e. the flyer is meant to say meditation! anyway details on the grace website
the national trust have a blossom watch day encouraging you to find a tree (or more) and take some photos and enjoy the wonder that is blossom. And tag your photos with #blossomwatch so I thought I'd join in... a few photos here
grace this saturday getting ready for lent. here's the blurb
It feels like we have been in Lent for a year, and we haven't even got to Lent yet!
February is the depths of winter, but it is also a time when the first signs of spring begin to show - signs easily missed, hope that is still a long way from fulfilment. What have we learned from the journey? How have we been changed? Nothing will be the same, but how do we want to be different?
The service itself will be in Zoom. Look out for the link if you are in the Whatsapp group or on the email list, or email [email protected] and we will send you the link nearer the time.
Things you will need for the service:
- Images or words that represent things you want to leave behind in this desert time.
- a candle
- some salt
The cafe will take place in the Grace space in Gather that we used for last month's service - now we have it, we can hang out there! Many of you will have the link already from last month, but we will send it out again at the time. (NB Gather works best in the Chrome browser. It doesn’t work on a phone - you need to be on a computer.)
gathertown is minecraft or habbohotel meets zoom (take your pick depending on your age). chances are you'll hear about it at some point. i like it - it's fun and whilst i think zoom is great a change is also good especially if you have been on zoom for work. and it especially suits some things - a more dynamic social space for example or an event where you want different things in different spaces. it's also dead easy to use or get started in. you simply login and choose a space - a lounge, bar, conference room or whatever and can then invite some people and hang out. it's easy enough to create some interactivity through the objects. i confess to finding the videos a bit exasperating in the tutorials - i'd rather just have a plain old manual than have to go through loads of videos - that makes me sound old i know! but over christmas i set up a space for family and we met and hung out in it with interactive pictionary and the like. i also worked out how to create a room that was a snakes and ladders board so you can roll the dice and move your avatar round the board. the grandkids love it (and the rest of us to be fair).
because rooms are designed on a grid it made me think that the labyrinth we created for st pauls back in 2000 would work because that was designed on a square grid. anyway a day of messing around over christmas and i figured out how to create a labyrinth room with interactive stations. so grace on saturday was our first on gathertown. of course it takes a bit of getting used to but it went really well. we had a bar/lounge area and a portal through to the labyrinth so you could do that when you liked. the timing felt good because the online interactive labyrinth version that has been running for twenty years is no more as of this month i think due to flash no longer being supported so it was good to give it a new lease of life. the labyrinth tracks are still magical twenty years on. we invited people in their homes to have various objects that they needed to make it work for the reflections - stone, pen, paper - that sort of thing.
it's free to create things so you can just try it out and remains free for up to 25 people. we just stayed below that number.
we spent time over christmas connecting online as family using gathertown which was fun. particularly exciting for the granddaughters was a room i made of a snakes and ladders board where your avatar walked the steps on the board. it was good fun. zoom is great but it was a nice to have a change.
it got me playing around and i ended up designing a space for the next grace which will be in gathertown rather than zoom. there will be a cafe space and an online labyrinth which you can visit when you like. if you have never used gathertown no problem - it's easy enough. here is the blurb about it below. a link and more info will be sent nearer the time. please do email the address below if you are not a regular and want to come along as we need to get a rough idea of numbers ahead of time.
Join us for the first Grace of 2021. There will be an online labyrinth and a café space. Rather than Zoom we will be using Gathertown this month. We’ll send a link on the day so email [email protected] and we will send you the link.
There are two things you need to know or do:
a) Gathertown works best with Chrome browser so download that to your computer in advance - it’s free. It won’t work from a phone so you'll need to be at a computer. It may well work with Firefox too.
b) The web site is https://gather.town/ - do go and have a look and sign up with a user id so you are ready to go. It’s fairly straightforward but we will talk through how it works on the day.
For the labyrinth itself there will be a series of stations, several drawn from the labyrinth we have used before and some new ones. You will need to gather a few items in your home to use as follows:
- a stone and ideally a bucket of water but a stone on its own is fine too
- a pen and paper
- bread and wine
- a seed
- a candle (or a few candles)
no idea how this is going to work but risk is part of grace's ethos!
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.