Arts Forest Church

Upcycling Lanterns

In the beginning the Word was with God and the Word ... the introduction to the gospel of John

What do you do when you are invited to talk a bit about Forest Church and lead a fellowship meeting when it is held at night and in the dark part of the year?

The evening at Barcaple started with an introduction to Quartz, and then reading Johns introduction to his Gospel. Light, and light coming into the world seemed appropriate as a theme. The first recorded bishop to base himself in Galloway was described as bringing light to the shores. His mission base was called the sparkling white house, which becomes “Whithorn” from the old English Language. The shape that he gave to the light can still be seen over a thousand years later.

In the Middle Ages the city was a symbol of all that was best, and a city of light on a hill was often used as an image of heaven. This shaped society in ways which can still be seen in church buildings. The age which followed is often described as the enlightenment. Great wonders have certainly been worked in the last 500 years. During that time the culture of Europe has been exported globally and in Scotland we can enjoy the privileges of our ancestors work. Central heating, electric lighting, chocolate and coffee to mention a few!

Many of them saw themselves as taking light around the world, but as reports come in about the impact of global warming we have to question the unintended consequences of the rapid change following the agricultural, industrial and political revolutions of recent centuries. Our recent history, in which the church has played a pivotal leadership role, is characterised by a confidence in progress and the treating of the natural environment as a resource to be mined. Environmentalists who warned about the impact of this used to be dismissed as mad men living in the wilderness eating strange food and not washing enough. On an everyday level, many living in the great cities feel alienated from basic aspects of human life such as growing food and animal husbandry. organisations like A Rocha have been leading the way in demonstrating a Christian response internationally.

Healing this rift, and providing hands on opportunities for people to take part in the physical tinkering with basic things is an important part of Wordsmith Crafts activity, and Quartz explores #SensingSpirituality within this. The restoring the relationship between worship and the environment which sustains us is an important theme in Forest Church. This meets the perception of an increasing need felt by people to connect with nature in a spiritual way.

We all shape the light, but just as a hole gets bigger the more you take away, so too the way of Jesus is that if we lose ourselves in the light, we find life. By leaving the building and going outside for forest church we deny ourselves the comfort of hymn books and shelter! However, we also create space to discover God at work in the world.

To explore and express this on a personal level we then provided a craft activity. Participants were encouraged to think about the shape they would make to let the light out. Two options were presented.

One being to think of a message they wished to symbolise, and then create a design and apply it to the can so that the light would illuminate it.

The second option was to contemplate light and darkness, and the tin which is the boundary in between. By working with the material and moving from the well lit room into the darkness participants were encouraged to explore their relationship to the light and the process of removing material in order to create something.

Participants worked in groups, because it is within the whole community that we find our full rainbow diversity of individuality!

We will continue to explore the theme of light and dark as we move towards Christmas.

0 replies on “Upcycling Lanterns”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.