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November 2017

In May this year, the Ecclesiastical Insurance company launched a competition inviting churches to submit a piece of art work which captured and celebrated the role their church plays in its local community.  Many churches entered, and now the winning entries have been made into a 10 metre long and 3 metre high ‘Great Community Mural.’  The mural was unveiled at St Paul’s Cathedral on October 2nd and is currently touring the country.

EIG said the following about this year’s competition:

It has really highlighted the wide and varied role that churches play in their communities. We’ve seen all manner of activities represented in the artwork; from helping the elderly and the lonely to running youth clubs, mother and toddler groups, and advice centres that support those with alcohol and drug problems. Much of this work goes unnoticed and we hope that this competition sheds some light on the important contribution churches make to society.

It was an inspired idea because churches are loved by many people, not just church goers.  Many of us have favourite churches, perhaps because of family associations or because they are in places that are dear to us.  It might be that they evoke particularly happy or poignant memories, or have striking architecture or a wonderful atmosphere.  Of course, for many people, churches are places where we come close to God, through worship, prayer and fellowship with others. And they are hubs for the wider community, providing social activity, friendship and support. Often a written description falls far short of properly capturing a beloved church or special place.  We quickly reach what Rowan Williams calls ‘the edge of words’.  It is then that we turn to the imagination to capture our favourite places through paint, poetry, photography or other artistic media.

We are blessed to have such beautiful churches in our Mission Community.  What is special to you about them? How would you capture their peace, beauty and significance?  You might have a wonderful photograph or painting, or you might have written a poem about a favourite church.  Or you might feel inspired to create or compose something.  Whatever each one of us feels about our beautiful churches, what unites us all is that ‘these places are our places.’  In this season of Remembering it is good to remember that our churches are safe, peaceful and holy meeting places – places for everyone.


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