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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Exhibition pieces

I have two pieces in the latest commission4mission exhibition which opens at the Tokarska Gallery tomorrow.

Broken journey, fragmented story is an installation made from noticeboards containing images and meditations from a sequence of Stations of the Cross and Resurrection which have been displayed, with omissions, in a random pattern which disrupts the agreed linear sequence of the Passion journey and narrative. The Gospel story is rarely able to be told fully and in the way in which we might ideally wish to do so. The installation raises questions about the effect that this fragmentation of the story has on us, on those who hear the story told, and on the story itself. Is a story told in fragments disconnected and incoherent or do the fragments and omissions enable new insights and connections to be made?

In Your face is a map of the world Christ takes the sin of the world onto himself in and through his crucifixion. The title is lifted from a song by 30 Seconds to Mars and the scrawled words come from my poem, Dancing the black night blue.


Love - She Comes In Colors.

TELCO 15th Anniversary Assembly

I was at the Troxy tonight for the 15th Anniversary Assembly of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO) which saw 2,200 TELCO citizens gather again in Tower Hamlets to celebrate a landmark 15 year relationship of organised communities working together to transform their neighbourhoods. Through bringing communities together and training leaders in the art of public action, TELCO has changed the way local communities make politics happen in east London.

TELCO is the founding chapter of London Citizens, the UK’S largest independent community alliance. Fifteen years on, in 2011, TELCO is now 65 community institutions strong, working in five major east London boroughs and has pioneered Community Organising in the UK as part of London Citizens with over 200 communities in membership.

The Assembly saw the first 50 TELCO members who have successfully applied for jobs at the 2012 Olympics receive certificates from Lord Coe together with reports of local action by TELCO institutions and updates on broader campaigns such as CitySafe and the Living Wage. It was very inspiring to see young and old, churches, mosques, schools and unions working together for the benefit of local communities by prioritising relationships and affirming the contribution and voice of all. Great too to see those, like Bishop Roger Sainsbury, who were involved at the very beginning of TELCO, and therefore CITIZENS UK too, present and their contribution also affirmed.


Jackson Browne - Lives In The Balance.  

Monday, 28 November 2011

Windows on the world (172)

Calais, 2011


David Grant - Life.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Free us, Lord, from our addictions

This was my assembly on addiction, given yesterday as chaplain of Venus College at St Edward's Church of England School and Sixth Form College:

Think of something that you really like and that makes you feel good. It can be anything you like; something you do, something you watch or listen to, something you eat, someone you like to be with.

Now think about the feeling that you get and how it makes you feel.

Imagine not simply enjoying that feeling but beginning to crave it; so that, rather than being something great when you happen to experience it, you start to want to have that same feeling more and more frequently.

Imagine now that you begin wake up craving that feeling so that you have to satisfy your craving that day.

Imagine that the craving is so strong that you will lie, steal, cheat, hurt, and maybe even kill to ensure you get that feeling that day.

What began as something good has become something ugly. What began as something you were free to enjoy has become something which controls everything about you. What began as something that enhanced your life has begun to destroy it.

That is how addiction works. We are most familiar with talk of addiction in terms of alcohol, drugs or smoking but we can actually become addicted to all sorts of things and addiction has taken hold when we can no longer cope without the thing to which we have become addicted. 

Earlier in the week I watched an interview with the shock rocker Alice Cooper; someone who has had a well-publicized battle with addiction, often consuming an entire bottle of whiskey each day. He has said, “Nobody ever sees the alcoholism coming. It’s one of those things that broadsides you. There’s never a place where the drug or the alcohol says, oh, by the way, it’s time to stop now. It just keeps going until your body tells you, ‘If you don’t stop you’re going to die.’ I never met anybody who was an alcoholic or a drug addict that ever walked out of it going, ‘Yeah, what a good idea that was.’ For me it was never a great idea.’”

Cooper has said that divine intervention is what broke his drinking habit in the mid-1980s. "I honestly think I was simply and completely healed. I guess you can call it a miracle. It's the only way I can explain it. It was absolutely eliminated from my life." He once told the Sunday Times, "Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call."

So how can Christianity help when it comes to addiction. First, the Bible commends moderation to us. “Moderation is better than muscle, self-control better than political power.” (Proverbs 16. 32) We need to be clear that the Bible doesn’t try to ban the good things in life, but does say don’t allow those things to control by becoming addictions. The way to do that is to enjoy things in moderation. The second thing it encourages us to do is to put God first. “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5. 18) If we put God at the centre of our lives then everything else will find its proper place and won’t be addictive or controlling.

So, with those thoughts in mind, let us pray:

Lord Jesus, You said, "I have come to set the captives free." We are captive and need Your healing touch. Free us, Lord, from our addictions, so that we will be:
... free from the cares and worries that stifle our happiness;
... free from sins that cling to us, and to which we cling;
... free from all compulsive behaviour that prevents us from becoming what You, Lord, have planned for us.

Bring us, loving Saviour, to the experience of abundant life which You promised. Amen.


Alice Cooper - Poison.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas starts with Christ

Research has revealed that 85% of people agree with the statement that "Christmas should be called Christmas because we are still a Christian country". But it also shows that only 12% of adults know the facts of the Christmas story in any detail. So if Christians really want to keep Christmas focused on Christ, we must constantly re-tell the story of his birth in ways which engage positively with the public's interest.

"Christmas Starts with Christ" campaign by ChurchAds.Net re-tells the Christmas story in modern, secular contexts to capture the general public's attention and interest. Poster ads in previous years have set the nativity in a bus shelter and featured a dramatic "Jesus babyscan". Radio ads have placed the story in a football match, horse race and pop chart countdown. Look out for this year’s poster in the run-up to Christmas on a bus shelter or in a shopping centre near you.
Research shows 61% of people surveyed like the message "Christmas Starts with Christ", with 41% saying it makes them think more about the true meaning of Christmas. The "Christmas Starts with Christ" campaign has a very simple but dramatic idea. The nativity has been re-set in modern professions and high street fashions. Shepherds become cycle couriers and plasterers. Wise men are successful entrepreneurs and their gifts are iconic "treasures" of modern culture: a Swarovski crystal perfume bottle, a Faberge egg and a replica Damian Hirst skull. All are sharply dressed. But the traditional nativity arrangement is unchanged, with Jesus as its clear focus. And the message is compelling: "However you dress it up ... Christmas Starts with Christ".

It's the meeting of Christianity and high street consumerism, with Christ in the middle. In the final few days before Christmas, millions of people will be heading for shopping centres. Could there be a better time to expose people to this Christian message? So, at St John’s Seven Kings, we want to remind all we meet this Christmas that, "However you dress it up ... Christmas Starts with Christ".

November/December 2011

Saturday 26th November, 10.30am: Christmas Bazaar – Refreshments, handicrafts, cakes, raffles, preserves, toiletries, games & toys for children, international food, Christmas gifts and many other stalls. Visit Santa in his grotto.
Sunday 27th       6.30pm          Advent Service - Seven Kings Fellowship of Churches
Saturday 3rd      6.00pm          Tamil Carol Service
Sunday 11th       6.30pm          Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at St Peter’s Aldborough Hatch
Sunday 18th  10.00am        All-age Christingle Service - a colourful service of music & light (collection for The Children’s Society)
                       6.30pm          Service of Nine Lessons and Carols by Candlelight - traditional carols and readings
Monday 19th     7.00pm           Carol Singing around the Parish - wrap up warm. Collecting for Church
Urban Fund.
Tuesday 20th    2.00pm           Carol Tea – Mothers’ Union (All are welcome)

Christmas Eve
Saturday 24th   5.00pm          All-age Nativity Service - dressing up & tree lighting - fun for all. Bring a
present to leave under the tree for children helped by Barnados. Collection to the Church Urban
          First Holy Communion of Christmas

Christmas Day
Sunday 25th       8.00am         Holy Communion - Book of Common Prayer
          Christmas All-age Holy Communion - children, bring a gift you have
received to show others

New Years Eve
Saturday 31st  11.30pm         Watchnight Service - welcoming the New Year in prayer and reflection

Bruce Cockburn - Cry Of A Tiny Babe.

Monday, 21 November 2011

We have faith: Act now for climate justice

Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion are being challenged to pray for the success of pending COP 171 negotiations and to sign the ‘We have faith: Act now for climate justice’ petition calling for a renewed commitment to tackling climate change.
Despite 17 years of negotiations to cut warming emissions, current global pledges to cut emissions leave Earth on track for between 2.5 and 4 degrees of warming, widely agreed to be catastrophic,”, said Revd Canon Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and member of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network.

"There is little sign that the world’s nations are truly serious about making the emissions cuts that are so urgently needed. Short-term economic growth is threatening the prospects for global long-term human development.”

When world leaders gather in Durban, South Africa at the end of November, a primary focus of COP17 will be securing a global climate agreement as the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period (2008–2012) comes to an end.

It is also likely that there will be a focus on finalising at least some of the Cancun Agreements reached at COP16 in 2010, such as co-operation on clean technology, as well as forest protection, adaptation to climate impacts, and finance, in particular the promised transfer of funds from rich countries to poor in order to help them protect forests, adapt to climate impacts, and ‘green’ their economies.

“It is fitting that this gathering takes place on African soil,” said Canon Mash, “because although Africans are responsible for a tiny proportion of global emissions (with the noted exception of South Africa), Southern Africa is warming at about twice the global average rate. Africa will be amongst the world’s most affected nations, threatened by unprecedented droughts, floods, extreme weather, diminishing food security, poverty, forced migration and increased conflict.”

Faith leaders will be gathering at a mass rally in Durban on Sunday 27 November to pray for the success of the Climate Change negotiations. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will hand over the ‘We have faith: Act now for climate justice’ petition to the leader of the COP 17 gathering.

The petition requests the following:
·         A commitment to a fair, ambitious and legally binding agreement and to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to ensure the survival of coming generations.
·         The setting of clear short and long term targets for carbon emission reductions that keep average global temperature increases well below 1.5 degrees centigrade, and to support solutions that contribute to healing the earth.
·         The guarantee of adequate finance for adaptation in Africa. Such finance should come from historically polluting nations in recognition of their ecological debt and be additional to existing development aid, governed inclusively and equitably under the United Nations.
·         A call on our negotiators to treat the Earth with respect, resist disorder and live in peace with each other, including embracing a legally binding climate treaty.

Members of the Anglican Communion from around the world are being asked to sign the petition here - - and pray that world leaders recommit to protecting future generations from an environmental catastrophe.


Extreme - Everything Under The Sun.

Windows on the world (171)

Ashford, 2011


Low - Weight of Water.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Where is God today?

People often ask, ‘Where is God today?’ That was a question asked by CBC, Radio-Canada, of their listeners in 2008. In introducing the series, they said that “For many Canadians, religion exists far beyond the walls of a church, synagogue or mosque. Faith can play a vital role in how we work, study, and interact with family and friends. But for many others, God has little or no presence.” So they asked their listeners, “Does religion play a large part in your day-to-day life? Or is God to be found elsewhere … or nowhere at all?” You can imagine the range of answers that their listeners provided but I don’t want to focus on those tonight, instead I want us to consider how this story answers that same question, ‘Where is God today?’
The answer is not one that we necessarily expect or readily accept:
“I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.”
“Today, we see the face of the suffering Christ in the experience of every person who suffers from poverty or cries out for help. Christ lives among us still, sharing the pain of our destitute brothers and sisters.” (
As Pastor James, of the wonderfully named First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church of Newark, New Jersey, has written (

“He is found in the least looked for places, in the abandoned corners of society. He is present with the least, the poorest of the poor, and the most despised. He dwells with the homeless. It's not that Christ is absent from the rich and the powerful, but that He chooses the least to make His presence most fully known to the world. It is not that He rejects refined vessels, but that He chooses broken and abandoned vessels to dwell in so that His glory may be revealed in the lowliest places. As the Apostle Paul says, "God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him" (1 Cor. 1:28-29).”

Similarly, Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma wrote, in an article about immigration:

"The suffering faces of the poor are the suffering faces of Christ." (Pope Benedict XVI, Aparecida, Brazil, August 2007). Whatever has to do with Christ has to do with the poor and whatever concerns the poor refers back to Jesus Christ: 'Whatever you did to one of these, the least of my brothers, that you did unto me' (Matthew 25:40).

"In the pain of the poor and the dispossessed, in the fear of the immigrant and those unjustly accused, we see reflected the suffering of our Crucified Lord, Who reminds us that ultimately we will be judged on the compassion and charity which we show them." For I was hungry," He will tell us, "but you gave Me no food; alone or a stranger or in prison, but you could not be bothered with me" (cf. Matthew 25:42-43).”

So, we are called to show compassion on the poor, the homeless, and those who are migrants because it is in them that Jesus is seen. But the understanding that Jesus is found today in those who suffer goes deeper than simply charity towards those who are worse off than ourselves. Again, as Pastor James writes:
“Often, we interpret this parable primarily as ethics - giving aid to the needy and helping the lost. Our charity to these needy people is of such a noble quality that it is as if we are doing it to Christ. From this perspective, the needy are merely the objects of our charity.

However, I believe that this parable goes beyond such a patronizing interpretation. It is not merely about assisting the needy. It is ultimately about where Christ is and where His Spirit dwells.
So when we feed the hungry, we are faced with a deeper reality beneath the surface. In bringing the food, we see not only the face of the hungry but also the face of Christ who is already there with them. We see the face of Christ in the face of a teenage boy recovering from drug addiction, in the sorrow-ridden face of a homeless woman who is also mentally ill, and in the wrinkled face of an old man left to the streets with no family. They are the very temple in which the Spirit of Christ dwells. They minister to us through Christ who dwells in them.”
It is to this that we are called and it is into this way of understanding life that we are entering when we are baptised. In this story, Jesus turns our ‘normal’ perceptions of life upside down; those who are normally looked down on and treated with condescension are those in whom God is to be found. This has massive implications for our attitudes, relationships, giving, ethics and politics. But, again, it is what baptism is all about. In baptism we put to death our old way of life as we go under the water and come alive to a new and different way of life as we rise up out of the water. So baptism is not simply about me and my salvation; instead it is about me changing for the sake of others so that I see Christ in others and serve Christ in others.  
In order that that may be so, we need to pray the prayer of Mother Teresa: Dearest Lord, may I see You today and every day in the person of Your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto You. Though You hide Yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize You, and say: "Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve You.”


Rickie Lee Jones - Where I Like It Best.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Burghers of Calais

The Burghers of Calais (1895) by Auguste Rodin was originally commissioned by the city of Calais to celebrate a local hero. It then became part of the national culture of the Third Republic, and it can today be found all over the world, including the Victoria Tower Gardens in London. These photos were taken today during our parish trip to Calais and Cité Europe.


Joni Mitchell - Refuge Of The Roads.

Last Supper reredos

The mosaic reredos behind the altar at St Mary's Stapleford Tawney depicting the Last Supper is Venetian, and was given by Sir Charles Cunliffe Smith in 1883. It was made by Antonio Salviati, whose work was considered at the time to be second only to the Vatican in quality. A feature of his work is that the pieces of mosaic were cut to the shape of the features they depict.


Van Morrison - Into The Mystic.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Disabled people are being betrayed

Ekklesia has an excellent short research paper which maps out the contours of a revolution in Britain’s benefits and welfare system.

The evidence "Karen McAndrew examines and evaluates indicates that, far from enabling and supporting sick and disabled people, the changes and cuts the UK government is making – disguised by a superficial rhetoric of compassion and empowerment, and eased by ungrounded prejudices stoked in sections of the media – are causing real harm and destroying the fabric of national care and genuine opportunity. Putting human impact centre stage, this paper sets out disturbing evidence that disabled people are being betrayed, the public misled, and the welfare system endangered. Here is yet more indication that the 'Big Society' is punishing the most vulnerable and eschewing social justice, by making cuts and implementing an inadequate patchwork of policies whereby under-resourced voluntarism cannot substitute for official, statutory neglect."


Ian Dury and the Blockheads - What A Waste.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Beyond 'Airbrushed from Art History' (9)

The National Catholic Register has an interesting piece about this year's Venice Biennale in which "a new respect for spiritual themes in contemporary art" is detected:
"The German pavilion and [Christof] Schlingensief’s work demonstrate how contemporary art can be cutting-edge and morally engaged at the same time.

Schlingensief was a filmmaker, opera director and multimedia artist who died of lung cancer in August 2010 at 49, just months after being asked to design the German pavilion.

The pavilion’s commissioner, Susanne Gaensheimer, consulted the artist’s colleagues and wife to complete the exhibit after his death. Instead of using his incomplete designs, which focused on the relationship between Western Europe and Africa — in fact, Schlingensief’s most recent grand project was the creation of an opera house, theater and music school, clinic and playing fields in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, one of the poorest regions in Africa — they turned the pavilion into a presentation of his most memorable work, which has long included the themes of death and redemption.

Visitors to the German pavilion enter a replica of the Catholic church where Schlingensief served as an altar boy in his hometown of Oberhausen, which is in the Ruhr Valley. Sitting in pews, they face an altar with candles and a crucifix.

Behind the altar stands a director’s chair. A hospital bed is on the left side of the altar, as though in a wing of the chapel, with a light box showing x-rays of the artist’s lungs to the right of the altar. A triptych of film screens hangs above the altar showing excerpts from his films.

At first glance, the use of the church setting is disturbing to any believer who suspects the inclusion of so many unusual objects and images is, possibly, sacrilegious. However, the church creates a shared frame of reference and vocabulary relevant to the artist’s childhood and familiar to the majority of participants in the historical experiences he probes. The installation is respectful to Catholic theology and liturgy."


Young Disciples - Get Yourself Together.

Leaders are fallible

'Leaders are fallible' was a comment piece by Jenni Russell in Saturday's Guardian in which she reflects on the way in which we "demand omnipotence, certainty and results from the people at the top, rather than an intelligent willingness to change their minds as the facts change too" with the media gloating "over U-turns, changes of direction or apologies as signs of frailty, not as possible signs of sense."
She concludes:

"At this miserable moment in 2011 we need to demand sober, solid, more broadly based judgments from the powerful. But we also have a role. We should be more willing to admit that the complexity of the world means those leading us will make mistakes. If we want better decisions, more honesty and a swifter correction of errors, we must stop being so childishly unforgiving about our leaders' fallibility."


Eric Clapton - Motherless Children

Monday, 14 November 2011

Windows on the world (170)

London, 2011


Blind Faith - In the Presence of the Lord.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Run the Race (2)

On Saturday I spoke about 'Art and Mission - the Cultural Olympiad' at 'Run the Race', a special day offered in the Barking Episcopal Area to enhance mission and prepare for 2012.

I began by saying that the starting point for understanding the Arts has to be God’s own creativity which he shares with us by creating us with the ability and need to make new things ourselves as part of our understanding and exploration of what it means to be alive as human beings. Bertil Ekström (InterAct) says:
“Artistic creativity is a gift from the Creator and reflects the image of God in the human. The commandment to take care of God’s creation demands this capacity to produce new things in dialogue and tension between the feelings of our inner being and the outer reality in which we live. Therefore, the arts have an important therapeutic function as well as a pedagogic purpose, helping us to understand the different dimensions of life ...
The Scriptures are full of artistic expressions, including the way that God’s revelation of himself has come to us through metaphors and case studies of intervention in the history of humankind ...
Art is present everywhere and probably much more so than we think about. Music, dance, poetry, sculptures, paintings and drama are arts that we usually recognise. But we could add to that list many other forms, such as architecture, arrangement of gardens and flower expositions, design of clothes, and many more. What would the world and life be without art? ...
Art is not just a tool for expressing faith. Art is a mission in itself — in the sense that excellent art is a way of honouring God and giving testimony to His image in us. In other words, great art fulfils part of the Creator’s purpose with our lives.”
So art is not primarily a tool to be used by the Church in evangelism. Instead, it is much more fundamental to human life than that, in that it fulfils part of God’s purpose for our lives by honouring him through it’s quality and exploring who we are in him through it’s content.
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.
The 'Art' strand of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad features a range of projects and programmes, including large commissions such as Artists Taking the Lead. 'Film and digital' features a short film competition for young people. The 'Literature and libraries' strand features a number of Inspire mark projects. 'Museums and galleries' features UK-wide projects such as 'Stories of the World'. The 'music' strand includes a wide range of projects and programmes - from large-scale commissions to local activities run through the Inspire programme. The 'outdoor and events' strand features 'Discovering Places'. A series of major commissions, Unlimited is the UK’s largest programme celebrating arts, culture and sport by disabled and deaf people. The World Shakespeare Festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, will run from 23 April to 9 September 2012, celebrating how the world performs, teaches and engages with Shakespeare. It will form part of the London 2012 Festival. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in the UK’s biggest ever festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation, and leave a lasting legacy for the arts in the UK.
Not-for-profit organisations can submit applications to run programmes, events or activities. No matter whether they are large or small, the very best of these will be awarded the coveted Inspire mark which, subject to certain conditions, can be used on brochures, posters and websites to promote the project or event. The Inspire mark will be awarded across many sectors, including sport, culture, education, environment and enterprise. Successful applicants will be those presenting outstanding, non-commercial projects that are truly inspired by the London 2012 Games.
Cultural projects that gain the Inspire mark will become part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Although the content of the projects will vary, all must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
·    only not-for-profit organisations can apply - companies limited by guarantee, for example;
·    you must have non-commercial funding and support;
·    your project must start before 9 September 2012;
·    your project must be mainly cultural;
·    your project must be above and beyond anything you’ve done before, build a lasting legacy, have young people at its heart, be inclusive and participative; and
·    your project must be clearly inspired by the London 2012 Games and not from an existing piece of work. It must differ from the kind of work you normally do and it must be clear to participants that they are part of a London 2012 project or event.

Cultural Olympiad projects and events are already taking place around the UK. If you have an idea for a project the Cultural Olympiad organisers would like to hear from you. Firstly, their network of Creative Programmers will work with project organisers to develop ideas. Approved projects can then become part of the Cultural Olympiad through being granted the London 2012 Inspire mark.

Contact the Creative Programmers for your region and let them know the following details as clearly as possible in your email:
·    Your name
·    Your company name and job title (if applicable)
·    Your telephone number
·    Your email address
·    What is your project or event idea and how is it different from what you normally do?
·    How do you feel it takes its genuine inspiration from London 2012?
·    How would your project or event meet the Cultural Olympiad criteria?

The 2012 Olympics gives the UK church an unprecedented opportunity to engage with contemporary culture. More than Gold aims to harness the creativity of the Church to connect with people around the 2012 Games. Their Creative and Performing Arts team will give local churches and national Christian arts groups an opportunity to serve in the context of mission initiatives including Community festivals and Hospitality Centres. More Than Gold is producing a list of performers and artists for local churches to book.

The ways you can use creative arts to engage with your community include national tours:
  • Saltmine Theatre Company will tour with  In Their Shoes – a collaboration with a Muslim Theatre Company. The theme is it's possible to get along with others in spite of our differences. And focuses on a pair of sports trainers the Muslim (Stripe) and Christian (Spot) that neighbours are fighting over. Ideal for primary schools and all age community events.
  • Lantern Arts Centre will tour with their version of Dangerous Jouney. In celebration of 2012 Games, the team has revised the classic Bunyan play based on one man's race. With music by Paul Field, this production is relevant for all ages.  
  • Riding Lights tour nationally between March and June 2012 with Monsieur de Coubertin’s Magnificent Opymlic© Feat! It goes back to the roots of the modern Games, bringing together the company’s church-linked audience with a new audience of people passionate about sport.
  • Act 4 have Star Citizen 2012, a record breaking interactive games show for primary schools, community groups and churches. It connects with the 2012 Games by encouraging children to reach for their potential.
Community Festivals are one of the best ways for churches to engage with their wider community. And can also leave a legacy of more local churches working together to serve their community. The 2012 Games offers a special opportunity to run festivals with a big screen showing of the Games. No special licence is needed, providing the content is broadcast without editing and without charge.

Community Festivals are timed for key points in the Games – the Torch Relay, opening ceremony, a major sports competition, the closing event etc – and can vary from place to place. They can be a one day event to a full week with a variety of events.

More Than Gold offers support for two distinct approaches:
  • A Community Festival with a variety of events celebrating the Christian message through the arts, sport and debate - with support and help from Share Jesus International
  • An Open Crowd Festival that gives a taste of authentic community - activities and games that bring celebration and fun where the participants are the stars – with support from Fusion
These festivals may include:
  • Big screen showing the ceremonies or key events,
  • Fun for children including face painting, clowns and competitions
  • Sport based games
  • Free barbecue and tea and coffee
  • Live music
  • Arts and theatre performances
Helping to resource the Festivals is a collaboration of Fusion Community and Youth and Share Jesus International. Together they have a vast range of experience and expertise to share. And offer two alternative models of festival.
There are three kinds of training available:
  • Intensive Training Days for Fusion Open Crowd Community Festivals and Share Jesus International Festivals with no festival at the end.
  • Fusion Open Crowd Community Festivals Training Days. These vary from 2 to 24 hours followed by taking part in an actual festival to put what you have learnt into practise.
  • Share Jesus Festival Training Day including experiencing a festival event.
Arts Festivals could include any or all of the following: Art trails, community arts events, concerts, craft fairs, demonstrations, exhibitions, installations, lectures, performances, poetry readings, storytelling, workshops etc.
The Barking Episcopal Area has experience of several such initiatives:
·      Art Trail - an Art Trail has been created for the Barking Episcopal Area by commission4mission with funding from London-over-the-Border. The Art Trail aims to raise awareness of the rich and diverse range of modern and contemporary arts and crafts from the last 100 years which can be found within the 36 featured churches. The significant works of art in these churches, taken collectively, represent a major contribution to the legacy of the church as an important commissioner of art. The Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking, has said: “For centuries the Arts have been an important medium through which public communication of the faith has taken place and the Church has had a lengthy and happy marriage with the Arts.” The Art Trail demonstrates that this long relationship between the Church and the Arts continues today, as the Trail includes work by significant twentieth century artists such as Eric Gill, Hans Feibusch, John Hutton and John Piper together with contemporary work by the like of Mark Cazalet, Jane Quail and Henry Shelton.

·      The Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival was a new initiative which began in 2011. The Festival involves a series of quality events from a variety of Arts genre as a way of embracing and celebrating both performing and visual arts from the Barking Episcopal area and engaging with the local communities, their people and arts culture. We intend to organize a Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival annually but in a different part of the Episcopal Area each year and will organize it to run parallel with one of the already established community arts festivals or trails within the Area. The benefits of this approach being: to establish and/or maintain links with the local community and existing arts networks; to work alongside already established and successful frameworks; and to share a common network for publicity. The first Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival took place from Thursday 14th – Saturday 24th July and ran parallel to the Leytonstone Festival -
·      Run with the Fire is an arts project for the London 2012 Olympics organized by CANA, commission4mission and Veritasse based on the image of fire which links the Church’s Pentecost celebration with that of the Olympic runner. Run with the Fire aims to celebrate creativity, cultural exchange and hope for the future by providing a virtual exhibition of international artwork for use in Olympics-themed events organised by churches in 2012. The images that seeded Run with the Fire come from the celebration of Pentecost, with its tongues of fire, new languages, and promise of dreams and visions, plus the Olympic Games, with its running messenger carrying forward the burning torch and its dreams of cross cultural harmony.  The vision of Pentecost, and also of the Olympics, is one of celebration and cross-cultural understanding. As a result, our title Run with the Fire emerged. 25 international artists are participating in Run with the Fire. These artists were selected, from a pool of 45 artists who applied to be part of the project, by an international jury of Dr. Dianne B. Collard (Director of Ministries – Europe, Artists in Christian Testimony International), Martin Crampin (Artist, Researcher and Designer) and Marleen Henglaar– Rookmaaker (Editor-in-Chief, ArtWay). The selected artists began the project by writing a statement to describe their vision of ’running with the fire’ for the other artists involved. Each artist will be creating an artwork, using the idea of another artist as a starting point. This aspect of the project simulates the idea of a relay, with ideas being passed from one artist to the next. Each artist will make their work available electronically for use in the project, so that the mapping of ideas as they travel from one artist to another can become part of the final product. Run with the Fire will provide a virtual exhibition of international artwork available on DVD, for display on large scale HD TV or monitor, or for projection using a digital projector. This digital exhibition can be presented as part of Olympics-themed events organised by churches in 2012 plus arts events or exhibitions organized by local churches. Run with the Fire will also provide an electronic resource package, to accompany the virtual exhibition, which will give ideas for churches on how to organize and facilitate community/arts events. These local events will enrich the experiences of those attending and will provide a context for the Run with the Fire exhibition in each venue. Optimal exhibition spaces include churches, community centres, open air venues (with some covered space), local art galleries etc. The Run with the Fire resources (virtual exhibition DVD and electronic resource package) will be available at a cost of £50.00. Any profit on the sale of resources from this project will be donated to Oxfam. Churches will bear the costs of putting on any events using Run with the Fire resources, including venue hire, additional publicity and resources used.

To organise an Arts event, begin by dreaming some dreams together with like-minded people. Think how an art piece has spoken to you. What was it? A visit to a gallery?  A song you heard on the radio? Something your child brought home from school? We all have different kinds of experiences and encounters with art. Share memories of an experience like that. Sharing stories like that plants the seeds for a whole community of appreciation.
Now imagine a top notch arts event at your church. What is happening and why is it going well? It’s crowded. Why? Personal invites? Heard about it via local media? The visual art is very good and displayed well. The theatrical and musical acts go off flawlessly and everyone seems to appreciate them. The refreshments are fabulous. Everyone is talking about this show for days and weeks afterwards. There are already plans for another one. Other churches and communities are thinking of doing one and are asking you how its done. Once you have your vision then you can begin planning to achieve it:
          Planning group
          Aims - what you hope to achieve by running your event
          Objectives - the activities you undertake to bring these achievements about
          Outcomes – measureable results that establish whether you have achieved your aim
          Event plan – venue(s), equipment, content, publicity, health & safety, risk
          assessments, licences etc.


Lindisfarne - Run For Home.