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Divine-creativity

An introduction to Divine Creativity

By Sue Doggett

My interest in Christian spirituality began back in the mid 1990s when I was training to be a Reader in the Church of England. Alongside theological studies, the training course covered a wide variety of topics exploring many aspects of ministry and the Christian life. As Readers in training, we were linked in to the Oxford Diocesan programme of Continued Ministerial Training and able to book on to training days which took place at Diocesan Church House. One of the courses that caught my eye was entitled What is Christian Spirituality?. As this was a question I hadn’t really thought to ask myself in the many years I had been a Christian, I was curious as to what the answer might be, so I booked on to the day. The training turned out to be rather dry and word-based and, to be honest, I came away none the wiser. But it did get me thinking. I realised that my experience of the Christian faith up to that point (some 30 years, if truth be known) had largely been word-based. Yes, there was the fellowship side which had, of course, been very meaningful and there was worship music which also touched me at a deep level but, beyond that, I had never explored Christian spirituality through what one might term ‘play-based’ experience.

Through my work with Bible Reading Fellowship, I had the privilege of attending the annual national conferences of the Church of England Diocesan Children’s Work Advisors network. Among other exemplary skills, Diocesan Children’s Advisors are on the whole highly creative people and I was soon introduced to a kaleidoscope of creative ways to reflect on one’s journey as a Christian. From imaginative props to a myriad of artistic expressions, the ideas flowed in a seemingly endless stream. I was very excited. Here was the answer I had failed to discover during my training as a Reader. As Christians our relationship with God is deeply enriched when it is allowed to resonate with all our senses. Essentially, far from being word-based, Christian spirituality is experiential; full of colour, imagination and creatively.  It is to be found in visualisation, in stillness, in the natural word and, yes, in play. Above all, it is available to everyone, whether or not we count ourselves as artistic.

In 2013 I was delighted to meet Revd Annie Henry Holland who, at that time, was in the process of training for the ministry. As part of her training, Annie had developed an idea of exploring Christian spirituality through the arts and she invited me to join the group. At first, it was just a four session programme run over consecutive months during the season of Epiphany. Each session used a different art form to explore four themes related to Epiphany: star, gifts, journeying and, to link in with Jesus’ baptism, water. The group loved the sessions so much that Annie was persuaded to continue running regular monthly sessions and Art & Spirituality in the Mounts Bay United Benefice was born. Annie stepped back a few years ago when she moved to Truthwell to mange her own studio, The Angel at Tremorran, together with a busy B&B business, but the group continues to run at Perran Church under the leadership of Vivien Taylor who has been involved with the project since its inception. The Mounts Bay United Benefice Art & Spirituality group news can be found on the benefice website:  https://mountsbayub.wordpress.com.

Divine Creativity has been born out of all the experience described above, it’s been quite a journey! Essentially, Divine Creativity is an invitation for people to meet together in a non-threatening environment to enjoy fun, friendship and food. Under normal circumstances we would start the session with a short time of biblical reflection centred around a visual focal point, comprising carefully selected 3D artefacts related to the theme. This is followed by a guided craft activity, again related to the theme. The session concludes with an informal opportunity for the group to share their thoughts before everyone enjoys a shared lunch to which each member has contributed.  Sue Doggett

Divine-creativity

The Road to Emmaus

By Sue Doggett

Road to Emmaus
The Road to Emmaus Janet Brooks-Gerloff 1992

In Luke’s Gospel, we find this beautiful story about the two disciples walking the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walk, they are discussing the events of the previous three days: the trauma and pain of Jesus’ death upon the cross; the stories of an empty tomb and a risen Lord. Their hearts are full of sorrow, their spirits downcast, their minds perplexed. Suddenly Jesus draws along beside them. He falls into step with them, but they fail to recognise him.  I have found poignant parallels in this story with the current situation we find ourselves in due to the Covid-19 crisis. I, too, have found my heart full of sorrow, my spirit downcast, my mind perplexed. How is it that the unimaginable has become our new reality with such sudden force? The story of the Road to Emmaus is a story of transformation. Through Jesus, sorrow is turned to joy, uncertainty to the certain hope of the very real presence of the risen Lord, who walks alongside us, unpacks Scripture for us, sits and eats with us, and breaks bread at our table.  In this time of change and uncertainty, the road ahead for many of us seems sad and lonely. We may fail to see the risen Lord who walks alongside us as we take our daily exercise, who rests with us in our gardens and sit quietly beside us in our indoor space.  May we know the reality of his presence with us today and throughout the coming week. May we be kept safe in his love, our hearts warmed by the surety of his redeeming grace. Suddenly their eyes were opened, and they recognised him… they said to each other, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’

Sue Doggett

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Roger Sullivan awarded St Piran Cross

Bishop Philip with this year’s St Piran Award recipients

At a service on Sunday 8th March 2020, at Perranzabuloe Parish Church, St Piran, people from across the Diocese of Truro were awarded the St Piran Cross. Among them was Roger Sullivan, a member at St Anta Church; his wife, Doreen, was also awarded a St Piran Cross just one year ago!

The citation for Roger’s award is given in full, below:

Roger Sullivan learnt to ring bells at St Anta and All Saints Church in Carbis Bay in 1952 as a 12 year old boy. In 1974 he became the steeple keeper and from then has spent time caring for the bells, teaching people to ring with some coming to faith as a result.

Roger was made Deanery Steward in 1982 for Penwith Deanery which involved visiting as many towers as possible, giving support, assistance and encouragement, being out bellringing 5 or 6 times a week. He stood down from this role in 1999; however, until recently, he has continued supporting other towers many evenings a week. Due to health reasons he stood down from steeple keeper in 2019 but continued as tower co-ordinator, meeting, greeting and hosting visiting ringers.

Roger has also set up the 8 a.m. communion service at St Anta for the past 17 years. He helps to clean the church and support his wife, Doreen, in her church ministry.

In the past he has visited Marie Therèse House in Hayle weekly and helped with fundraising for Parkinson’s and MS charities. He is a much loved character both locally and further afield. He would go that extra mile to give assistance and encouragement to anyone when needed.

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“Out of the mouths of babes…….”

“Out of the mouths of babes…….”

Collection jarThe TIDDLER FUND at St Uny

John Culver, August 2019

During the August 2019 Café Church at St Uny I found myself pondering on the history of the “Tiddler Collection” (a regular feature of Café Church at St Uny, Lelant – first Sunday each month – Ed.). Probably because I was remembering one of its founders, Beverly Wills.

In 1983 we needed £3,000 to repair one of the bells. Appeals went out for donations and loans. Within three months the funds were in and repairs could begin.

At the same time Ethiopia had a terrible famine and every night the television showed heart-breaking footage of starving and dying children.

Beverly wrote: “The young people in our Sunday School were horrified and moved. They were also highly indignant that we should be spending so much money on a bell when children were suffering. We had a long discussion about this and also what they should do. It was decided that each month at the Family Service we would bring our jam-jars with all the odd ‘tiddlers’, (half-pennies to the very young), and empty them into a tin. The tin was important because the more noise it made, the more money we had collected! Save the Children was chosen as it gave more of each pound raised to the child than any other charity and I believe this is still true.

Sarah Jewell, then a committee member of Save the Children, came to talk to us …..and so the Tiddler Fund was born. The first month we hoped for £2 or £3 pounds. Instead we got £41.88!

“The Tiddler Fund is now over 35 years old and all those young people have ‘growd up’ and many have children of their own but it’s thanks to Sarah, Tim, George, Daniel, Nikki, Velisa, Mark, Matthew, Joff, Clare, Izzie and all the other young people that it is still supporting the work of the Save the Children.

“A friend of mine knowing how indignant I was at the spending of money on a bell said, ‘But we all need bells, Bev’. Well that bell, or its repair certainly rang for us and maybe the noise of those coins cascading into an old tin was like the chime of a bell for our Lord as it meant children caring for children. We now use a basket which is far less intrusive!

Since the start of the fund we have far exceeded the £3000 but I hope that as long as there are children who are suffering the Tiddler fund will continue.

The above was adapted from Bev Wills’ 2011 article in New Contact

Princess Anne AwardIn 1989 we were very thrilled to be presented with the Princess Anne award because of the Tiddler Fund at a special fun day at Saltram House. Alison Sanders collected the award accompanied by Sandy Dee-Shapland and Emily Wills.

Princess Anne visit
The Princess Royal, Alison Saunders, Sandy Dee-Sapland, Emily and Beverly Wills

If anyone would like to join in – all you need is a jam-jar! Empty in to it all your odd coins and bring it along to Café Church. You will be very, very welcome and you can enjoy a coffee and croissant!

Total given to Save The Children from Tiddler collections up to the end of 2018 amounted to £6,857.62.

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Meet our new Priest!

Jesus said: ‘I have come so everyone may live and enjoy life to the full.’ John 10.10

Please allow me to introduce myself and my family to you and share some of my hopes and prayers for us here in Carbis Bay, Lelant and the wider community.

van Blerk family

I, Etienne, was born in South Africa and had the privilege of growing up within a loving and supportive Christian family. I served God as ordained minister for the best part of a decade in the Middle East. This is where I also met my wife, Hanan. We both lived and worked together in Lebanon and Jordan before coming to England seventeen years ago – we were accompanied by our firstborn daughter, Kay, who is now studying Fine Arts at Leeds Arts University. Julia, who has just finished her GCSE’s, will be completing her A-level Studies at Penwith College, in Penzance, and is passionate about baking. Steffan is looking forward to entering Year Nine at St Ives School and is a keen footballer. Hanan has more recently worked as a hospitality assistant in our church, and we love making new friends and welcoming them into our lives and home. Of course, Micky, our eight year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is also very much part of the family.

Before moving to Carbis Bay, we lived and worked in Lancashire, where I was School Chaplain, Teacher of Art and serving in our local Deanery. Before that, I was working for the Church of England in Oxfordshire and was Head of Art at an independent school. We are blessed, honoured and humbled by God’s calling to serve the Churches of St Anta and St Uny, including St Uny Church of England Academy and the communities of Carbis Bay and Lelant. We are very much looking forward to getting to know everyone in the Church Family and wider community and becoming part of the people of Cornwall.

Ultimately, I would like to support people in discovering and enjoying an abundant life in Christ through life-long and eternal fellowship with Him and his followers, both as disciples and as part of Christ’s body, the Church. I have an irrevocable calling to serve alongside others, as ordained Anglican priest, and to share in the life of a congregation through prayer, preaching, teaching, leading worship, pastoral care, and leadership, as well as motivating the church community to share in mission and nurturing fellowship at the same time.

When Jesus said in John 10, ‘I have come so everyone may live and enjoy life to the full’, He had us all and all those who were not yet part of his flock, in mind. As Good Shepherd, he was not only willing to lay down his life so we can live, but also do everything else necessary to guide, feed, protect and enable us to come to our full potential in Him. He called himself ‘the gate’ through whom we need to enter to live with Him, and all his followers, and we learned to know his voice to follow Him. Christ cares for and looks after his church and He calls us to love and forgive and look after one another too. This is our inward responsibility.

However, Jesus also said, I have other sheep that are not of this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.’ He is always willing to leave the ninety-nine to go and find that one individual to come and be part of his flock, so this should also be our approach, reaching outward to all who don’t yet know his voice so He can bring them also in – ‘one flock and one shepherd’. In my view, looking outward, or having mission-hearts, is one of the most important diagnostic signs of whether a church is alive and healthy, along with accessible worship, having a clear, growing and prayerful vision, supporting and collaborating with one another, investing in an applied discipleship, and having a strong ownership of creating and being an united community.

I hope and pray, as Priest-in-Charge of Carbis Bay and Lelant, that I will be able to serve God and others with all my heart, mind and strength, by being a leader who listens and learn before leading. So, I would like to take ample time to get to know everyone first, as we serve alongside one another. I would like to see us spend time in prayer, corporately and individually, and encourage one another to be true and faithful followers of Christ – his disciples making disciples. I would like us to ensure we invest in ‘all-age ministry’, where the young people and children are welcomed and served, just as much as we would like to accommodate and celebrate the presence of adults, including men, women, families, and the elderly, whatever our background, gender, ability or age may be. I would like to see us encourage and enable an ‘all-member-ministry’, where we value everyone’s ministry, and where young and old may contribute to the life and service of the Church.  I would like us to plan and pioneer and actively reach out and serve everyone in our Community with the love and Good News of Jesus Christ. May his Kingdom come, and his Church grow!

Saying all of this, I would like to conclude by quoting from Philippians 3:

“We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could…I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…that I could gain Christ and become one with him…For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead…No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

 My family and I are much encouraged by and very grateful for your warm welcome and the kind commitment of support, especially in prayer, for our future ministry together with you here, taking part in God’s work. The ecumenical body’s support and collaboration are also reasons to thank and praise God. We are committed to love and serve God and you and everyone in the community with all we’ve received so freely from God ourselves thorough-out our lives.

May the Lord bless us and protect us.

May the Lord smile on us and be gracious to us.

May the Lord show us his favour and give us his peace;

and may the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us all always.

 

Etienne with Hanan, Kay, Julia and Steffan