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So you want to…put on a creative quiet day?

Going on a Quiet Day creates space in our busy lives where we can listen to God, to pray and to ponder.  Doing something creative often has the same effect.  While we are involved in another activity, we tune in to the small, still voice within so that we can, in time, go back out into the world to live and work for God.  So why not combine the two?  A group at St. George’s, Weald, recently put on a creative Quiet Day called ‘Come to the Well’ and they offer their simple model to other churches to have a go themselves.

As this was the first time this group had worked together on this project, this was very much an experiment.  Nikky Goozee originally had the idea for the event and she collected around her those who had creative skills and interests.  The concept was to have short services in the Celtic style punctuating the day with a midday Eucharist and a range of creative activities that people could try out at various points.  Relaxing music was playing for some of the time in the main body of the church and keyboard and harp music was played during the Eucharist.

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Hospitality was very important throughout so there was coffee in the morning, tea and cake to finish and a simple lunch of soup, bread and cheese.  Although it was billed as a ‘quiet’ day, there were opportunities to socialise and meet new people, especially over lunch.  Alongside the creative activities, there was also a chance to receive  prayer ministry.  It underlined the importance of caring for mind, body and spirit.  Although the idea of receiving from God and from others, rather than just serving, often feels like a luxury, it was a central part of the day.

Various team members took responsibility for the activities in the morning.  These included making crosses out of different materials, exploring poetry, writing and decorating Celtic Caim Prayers, praying in colour with pens, paints and pencils, or just having a relaxing time in a specifically created sacred space for quiet prayer and reflection.

In the afternoon, those attending were given a small bag that contained items such as a key, a feather, a wooden heart and a jewelled heart, an anchor and a crown.  These were all sourced easily via the internet. Then each person was given  an accompanying sheet of Bible verses that related to the objects and given time to let God speak, drawing some prophetic encouragement through them.

One of the strengths of the day was the freedom it gave those attending to spend the time as they wished.   There was no pressure to do all the activities, or indeed, any of them.  If there were those who wanted to come and just be rather than do, then this was encouraged.  One of the things the team did however, was to put a limit on the numbers signing up for the day.  That way, they knew how much food they needed and that they had enough craft materials for everyone.

For the first creative day of this kind it was received very warmly.  The thought and care that went into it gave value to those who attended it and created the kind of spiritual oasis that Quiet Days promise.  We hope that those who came were able to go back out feeling uplifted and renewed and reconnected with the living God.

There is plenty of scope in this model to adapt the activities and the balance and type of worship to each context and guest list.  It is good to start by putting together a team so jobs can be shared and there is a range of creative options available to those attending.  Having different team members take the lead for a particularly craft makes them feel part of the day without over burdening them.  It could also provide an opportunity to draw in those on the fringes who have skills and interests in a specific area but without placing the anxiety on them for having to lead worship or pray.  

There is also the opportunity to invite those to come along who might not consider coming to a Quiet Day with talks.   The more gentle ‘come and have a go’ may be less threatening than ‘come and hear about the Christian faith’.   In creating the sacred space, God will be speaking anyway, and we hope that  the kindness, value, hospitality, and friendship offered will enable us all to listen to Him. 

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STOP PRESS……

Date for the Diary…..Drop-in Craft Workshop Day at St. Peter’s Church Centre, Ditton, on Saturday 17th March, 1.30-5pm.  Crafts include card making, crochet, jewellery, plastic canvas craft.