Labyrinth work party & barbecue / Saturday 10th July
Many of you joined us a couple of months back for a work party at Wolf Fields to help Idina from St Johns Southall and a team from A Rocha to start building a labyrinth. We are steadily making progress. We hope to get confirmation this week as to Deanery funding to support for the project, we have also been working on some designs to fit the available space that we hope to share soon.
The next steps are to continue clearing the existing space. We made great progress last time and many thanks to those who were able to help. Now that we have cleared a lot of the rubble we need to finish clearing the brambles and also to dig out more of the rough ground and fill the pot holes that a couple of us “accidently” discovered last time.
We are therefore planning another work party jointly with the group from 'The Table' and the 'Outdoor Church' this Saturday 10th July starting at about 2pm and then finishing with a BBQ and a simple service led by the 'Outdoor Church Group' from around 5.30pm. Contributions of food and drink would be appreciated.
If you would like to join us for either the BBQ or the work party please drop an email firstname.lastname@example.org .
It will be solved by walking / Saturday 12th June
A Pilgrimage that will start at 2.30pm at St. Mary’s Church, South Ealing on Saturday 12th June 2021.
The pilgrimage walk will take approximately 3 hours with some liturgy and personal reflection in each of the parks and at Isleworth church.
Please spend some time before the pilgrimage to think about "what does it mean for me to be a pilgrim, and why am I partaking in this pilgrimage?"
The route starts from St. Mary’s church going through Ealing’s delightful smaller parks. Walking to Lammas followed by Blondin Park, and Boston Manor Park. We will then follow the Grand Union Canal to Brentford Lock, joining the Thames Path and going past the magnificent Syon Park House. We then go through the old town of Isleworth, past the church and onto Richmond and the park.
The terrain is flat and will be mostly on park paths or beside the canal, with some pavement walking. There are some drop-out points throughout the walk for those who wish to have a shorter pilgrimage walk.
You will need to wear suitable clothing and footwear for the walk, plus a drink and nibbles. There are toilet facilities in most of the parks.
At the end of the pilgrimage journey at Richmond Park we will be taking the number 65 bus back to Ealing.
It will be helpful if you can let us know that you're joining the pilgrimage, via email@example.com, so we can gauge numbers.
If you would like to join a group for a pub meal in Ealing after the walk, please contact Tony Pearson via email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to arrange a booking.
Please feel free to contact Tony via email with any queries before the event.
We look forward to seeing you on the day.
Building a labyrinth / Saturday 8th May
Grace is starting its emergence from the virtual to the physical as the rules around lockdown are eased.
During lockdown Grace was invited to work with St John’s Church Southall and Arocha to help build a Labyrinth as part of the Wolf Fields project in Norwood Green.
So while we are not yet able to meet indoors we propose to have work parties to start the preparatory work for the labyrinth by clearing the ground.
Afterwards we then propose to meet in picnic groups on Ealing Common, near the Grange Pub that is serving drinks.
We are planning work parties to meet from 12.30pm and 3pm at Wolf Fields and from 5.30pm at Ealing Common.
Bring your picnic blankets, food and drink.
As we expect the “Rule of Six” will still apply, can you please contact email@example.com for more details and to coordinate groups.
Low / Saturday 10th April
The Sunday after Easter is known as Low Sunday. Maybe it’s the lull after Easter? This is the season of the stories of resurrection, but Low Sunday is often associated with Thomas and his doubt. He is a reassuring disciple. We don’t meet on Sunday but we thought we’d go with the fLOW anyway.
So do come along to Grace this Saturday to reflect on stories of doubt and absence, and stories of hope and presence. We will be on Zoom - do get in touch if you would like the link.
Space / Saturday 13th March
Space is a quiet prayerful Grace that gives plenty of space for reflection, prayer and silence.
It grew out of a concept called Grace TV where all the service ran on screen. But our eyes are overburdened nowadays, so we will turn off our cameras - and our names - and listen instead, to one another and to God - Grace Radio!
Look out for the Zoom 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.
The cafe will take place in the Grace space in Gather. Many of you will have the link already, but we will send it out again at the time. (NB Gather works best in the Chrome browser. It doesn’t work on a phone - you need to be on a computer.)
Re:lentless / Saturday 13th February
It feels like we have been in Lent for a year, and we haven't even got to Lent yet!
February is the depths of winter, but it is also a time when the first signs of spring begin to show - signs easily missed, hope that is still a long way from fulfilment. What have we learned from the journey? How have we been changed? Nothing will be the same, but how do we want to be different?
The service itself will be in 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.
Things you will need for the service:
- Images or words that represent things you want to leave behind in this desert time.
- a candle
- some salt
The cafe will take place in the Grace space in Gather that we used for last month's service - now we have it, we can hang out there! Many of you will have the link already from last month, but we will send it out again at the time. (NB Gather works best in the Chrome browser. It doesn’t work on a phone - you need to be on a computer.)
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!)