Creative Art as Mission
Several years ago, knowing my love of sewing, knitting, and crafting I was given a knitting pattern - ‘The Nativity Collection’. I had voiced an interest in making my own knitted nativity. It was May and I started to knit confident that I would have it finished for Christmas. Well, as I knitted the basic pattern I started to see ways of altering it. Instead of knitted hair I used felting, I supplemented the cloths with material instead of knitting and added all sorts of additional X. Having knitted the basic characters - Mary, baby Jesus, Joseph, angels, the shepherds, sheep, a donkey and the kings I got carried away and continued knitting and crafting. I knitted a Jewish Rabbi, a Temple Priest, - looking at books and pictures to get an idea of how they would have looked. Then I got the idea of knitting a pregnant Mary. I did that by knitting the heel usually for a sock on her stomach - it was very affective.
I put a lot of time and thought into creating those people into the 3-dimensional picture I wanted to portray. There were several occasions when I thought they were complete only to return and change it completely. It wasn’t only about my satisfaction in doing it right and well but also about what picture of the bible I'm wanting to portray. I was creating the Word in pictures.
It was strange but I felt driven and it was a friend who said ‘it’s the Holy Spirit’. That was exactly how it felt. But as I knitted and crafted I started wondering what I could do with the figures. I knitted and crafted 7 Christmas tableaux and then approached local shops to have them in their windows. Each tableaux had a bible quote to explain it and to encourage people to go around town looking for the tableaux I wrote a children's activity sheet to accompany them. I gave the activity sheet to the children in church and to the local primary schools to circulate in the children's homework bags. This encouraged the children to want to go round town to find the tableaux to complete the worksheets. As an added draw I turned it into a treasure hunt. Each tableaux had a clue to a hidden message and when the children had solved the message they could go to the church website and get a certificate.
The tableaux were a brilliant idea in so many ways. They encouraged the shops, the children and people in the community to engage in the story of the nativity in a fun way. They helped shoppers remember the true message of Christmas. No one expects to see a knitted Christmas scenes in shop windows when they are rushing around the town. Had I wished I could have sold them many times over! Their presence gave a warmth and clear meaning to the season and also made people pause for a moment to think and smile.
It helped the children to embed the Christmas message in their minds by giving them something fun, positive and informative to do while their parents were buying for the season.
The Nativity trail was so popular that I was invited onto BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio to talk about it and it was wonderful to then see it as a front page article in The Stratford Herald! It all started with me wanting to knit my own Christmas nativity and developed into successful mission and evangelism.
Through this website I will try to share my views and experiences of Meeting God in the Everyday.
I am a wife, sister, friend and in the past I have been a nurse in the NHS, an Acupuncturist and since 2014 I've been an ordained minister in the Church of England. At the moment I am the vicar of four rural parishes in South Warwickshire.
Meeting with God Every Day
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Some people might think it presumptuous to associate the ideas and inspiration I had, to craft the figures and use them as I did, to the work of the Holy Spirit. I'm not special, why should the Holy Spirit talk to me? But I truly believe that the Holy Spirit does talk to us if only we listen. Through the Nativity tableaux I was using my God given gift of craftwork to further his word, and to spread the true message of Christmas through the people of Stratford via the shops.
The angel Gabriel tells Mary she is with child.
Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem
The shepherds and their sheep
Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth.
No room at the Inn
The Wisemen visit King Herod
I continued to craft more bible figures to depict other bible stories and I now have over 80 figures. Since that first Christmas nativity trail I have used the figures in the primary schools and in church to bring to life many of the well known bible stories.