Newsfeed archive 2020-21
Prune back dream forward / Gathertown screenshots
The first one above shows the cafe space. When we move our avatars into a seating area together, we all have little windows where we can see and talk to each other. If you move your avatar to the laptop and microphone on the right you can address the whole room.
At this point most people had gone into the labyrinth space. To get there, move your avatar to the white square on the left and it is magically transported to...
As we navigate around the labyrinth, the symbols are highlighted when we approach them and we press x to interact - there are music and meditation tracks, videos and things to do.
When your avatar is close to someone else's, their video window appears, but we have all muted in the labyrinth, and most people turned their camera off also.
Prune back dream forward / Saturday 9th January
Join us for the first Grace of 2021. There will be an online labyrinth and a café space. Rather than Zoom we will be using Gathertown this month. We’ll send a link on the day so email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the link.
There are two things you need to know or do:
a) Gathertown works best with Chrome browser so download that to your computer in advance - it’s free. It won’t work from a phone so you'll need to be at a computer. It may well work with Firefox too.
b) The web site is https://gather.town/ - do go and have a look and sign up with a user id so you are ready to go. It’s fairly straightforward but we will talk through how it works on the day.
For the labyrinth itself there will be a series of stations, several drawn from the labyrinth we have used before and some new ones. You will need to gather a few items in your home to use as follows:
- a stone and ideally a bucket of water but a stone on its own is fine too
- a pen and paper
- bread and wine
- a seed
- a candle (or a few candles)
Nine / Saturday 12th December
The next Grace will be a Zoom gathering at 8pm on Saturday December 12.
9 lesson, 9 tunes - it’s a Christmas tradition! Even King’s College are going virtual this year.
There will be a cafe afterwards. We would have mulled wine and mince pies in normal circumstances - maybe get yourself some seasonal snacks and be the envy of your breakout group.
If you would like to join us please email email@example.com and we will email you an invitation link.
Cloud of witnesses / Saturday 14th November
The phrase Cloud of Witnesses comes from Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
All Saints is traditionally marked in church on November 1st, the day after Halloween, and is a time when we think of those who have shaped our faith, all of the saints who have gone before us, and also people who have passed away during the year.
Looking back: Who are the saints that have inspired us?
Looking around: Who has shaped us and our faith? Who do we wish we could still see to inspire us?
Looking Up: We acknowledge the grief we currently hold for those we can't be with
Looking forward: We want to be in the Cloud of Witnesses for others
We will, of course, be on Zoom again! Look out for the link if you are in the Whatsapp group or on the email list, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the link nearer the time.
Firstfruits / Saturday 10th October
Please bring something of what you do in life to offer to God at Firstfruits. It can relate to your work, your garden, your home, a sideline, your art, your kitchen, your music making, your volunteering, your child rearing, your caring... We are all makers, creators. Please don’t be shy - we’d love to pile a virtual table high with offerings of the firstfruits of our making to God. (And if they are not the first fruits that doesn’t matter!)
We’re not quite sure how this will work - it might be you have a story to tell, a basket of vegetables to show, a song to perform. But have a think about what you would like to bring. A photograph on the computer can be shared for example but we’d love contributions that could be performed too if you have any. It might be for some you, want to bring grief because there is an absence of making - that too can go on the table.
There will also be a space to think about how we might give out of what we have been given. You might like to ponder that ahead of time too. We won’t be overly prescriptive about that - i.e. there won’t be a joint project but an opportunity to reflect on what you might share with others.
As is our way at the moment we will be on Zoom. Look out for the link if you are in the Whatsapp group or on the email list, or email email@example.com and we will send you the link nearer the time.
Community night / Saturday 12th September
September Grace is often a time for us as a community where we commit together to God and one another afresh for the year ahead. In spite of the strange season we are in, that still feels like the kind of thing we want to be doing. We’re simply calling it Grace community night and would love to see as many of you there as possible. You are welcome if you are a regular, a one time visitor, or part of the Grace diaspora in far flung places round the world.
It will be an online gathering via Zoom which we will post in the Whatsapp group nearer the time, but do get in touch if you are not in that and would like to join us - email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will email you an invitation link.
We plan to do a couple of things - have a short liturgy together and then some space to talk and reflect together looking back and looking ahead. There are some prompts below for you to have a think in advance though it’s also fine to just turn up. But please put the date in your diary. Do bring a drink and some food as we’ll likely roll into the evening over a drink together on Zoom.
Here are a few prompts to help you to ponder, prior to September 12th:
Scroll down this site and you will see what we have done this year, and in particular since lockdown and whatever we’re in now. The most visible things there are the monthly services, but there has also been a weekly simple liturgy up until the end of July, and a Whatsapp group. What are your reflections on this period? It was completely new to all of us so it would be good to reflect together? What has been good? What has been hard?
The future is uncertain. It seems quite hard to plan too far ahead so we are thinking that perhaps we could plan a term at a time or maybe 6 months? When Gill, Mike and Jonny spoke about it we were led to reflect on what Grace is, which is not solely about worship, so rather than leap straight to planning worship on or offline here’s three aspects. This is actually prompted by what we say about ourselves on the Grace website in the 'about' section which is network/community of relationships, worship, and mission:
a) network/community of relationships
There have been some rather lovely connections and networking via phone, Whatsapp, Zoom, and latterly in small numbers in person as lockdown has eased a bit. Grace is this community or set of relations around the world. How can we nurture those connections (and maybe new ones) in the next season in life-giving ways and ways that also are safe? What works for you? Are there cracks that people fall through?
We describe this as supporting what people are doing in life in their own work and activities, as well as having a mission to the church. How can we support one another well in the next season?
What shall we do in the term ahead? Is a monthly gathering helpful? How about mid week? Are you craving face to face or happy to meet online and keep face to face to smaller groups networking in other ways? Do you have an idea or something to offer, to contribute to or to lead?
Is the season ahead one in which we focus on all three aspects above or emphasise one more than the others?
And it has been said in many areas of life that we can’t go back and need a new normal. What might the new normal be for Grace in the future?
The values of Grace are create, participate, risk, engage, and are things we hold dear and aspire to.
What one leaps out for you as something you have explored over the last 6 months?
What one do you want to explore or lean into in the next season?
So do come ready to share your thoughts, do chat in small groups in advance. For those of you not able to make it do share your thoughts via email or Whatsapp. We would love to involve as many people as possible.
We discussed at length that some people are really wanting face to face and others not feeling safe with that so we felt it was better to have the next Grace online on balance. It is also fairly conducive to conversation. Depending on people's views we can explore the way forward differently. But it does feel currently that face to face is easier in small groups rather than large ones (not that we are ever that large!)