Cole very honestly shared his story
as one who loves Jesus but finds it hard to love the institution of
the church, especially in recent years when it has not dealt very
well with the issues of gender equality, sexuality and marriage and
the political landscape, especially in the US. He described how all of us keep
unpleasant things behind a wall or a dam so that we can maintain
our circles of community but sometimes one more thing added to the
pile behind the dam is too much and it cracks and splits leaving us
swimming up to our necks in stuff that is too hard to deal
with. We also listened to a track by Iain
Archer - Everest - to help us to reflect on the need sometimes to
just hold on through the night until dawn breaks and brings us
relief. You can listen to that on Youtube
here. Some other day, when my morning comes,
I’ll be the one that’s waited all night Cole has kindly allowed us to post
his talk here including the Q&A that followed. You can
listen to it
here. Our next event is at 7.30pm on
Sunday 2nd April with Revd. Sally Hitchiner from Brunel University
who will be talking about what it means to live in the space left
in a church that has a wide variety of views about sexuality,
gender and equality.
Pádraig is a poet, storyteller, theologian and the leader of the
Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland.
He brought his unique collection of stories, thoughts about prayer
and poems to St. Luke's Prestonville for a memorable evening.
His soft spoken Irish brogue gives everything that he says a
poetic cadence and he has a great gift for telling stories with
depth of meaning and purpose whilst maintaining an air of charm and
good humour, evening in dark circumstances.
100 people came to listen to him and the overall response has been
very positive with people expressing their appreciation for his
words and wanting to relive the experience. Fortunately we
recorded the event and Pádraig has agreed to allow us to post this
as an mp3 download which you can access on this link.
It is said that medieval
philosophers spent a lot of time discussing how many angels could
dance on the head of a pin and that this is an example of how
philosophy can embroil you in pointless conversation.
Whether you think this sort of
debate took place or not, it certainly is true that the Bible tells
us that a host of angels appeared on the night that Jesus
was born to announce his birth and to rejoice in the message
of good news which would bring great joy to all peoples.
Hut 395 aimed to give people a hint
of a heavenly host with a clever arrangement of mirrors
and a lighted angel.
The reflection of the angel in the
mirrors bounced back and forth giving us a repeated image which
stretched off into the distance. If viewers could align themselves
correctly then this line of angels could in theory have gone
on for ever.
A huge crowd turned up including
the mayor of Brighton and Hove, Peter West, the Bishop of Lewes,
Richard Jackson and local resident Zoe Ball and we had a great time
singing angel themed carols and hearing the Christmas story as
recounted in the gospel of Luke.
We then distributed glowsticks
around the throng and in recognition that the angels
brought the glory of the Lord to shine around them, we broke these
sticks as a sign of the light of Christ coming into the
This was a fantastic end to a
memorable ninth year of the Beach Hut Advent Calendar and we look
forward to our our tenth anniversary next year.
We have had a remarkably peaceful
Advent when it comes to the weather and have hardly had to mention
it in the blog each day. The exception was
today. It seems extraordinary that we've
been able to get to the 23rd December without a bad weather evening
but Storm Barbara put in an appearance tonight.
She brought strong winds with her
and combined with a high tide this meant we had a constant spray of
water which wasn't quite rain but made for an uncomfortable
But this didn't stop the Zahorchak
family from throwing themselves into the spirit of the season.
The children had dressed up as angels and looked
adorable sat in their hut although they had to abandon that in
favour of more weather friendly gear. This is known as Nate's hut after
Nathan Zahorchak who died unexpectedly in 2014. The hut
is a way for Katie and her children to remember Nate in a positive
way and a place of happiness and relaxation for them.
Playing cards in memory of Nate,
who was a magician, were hanging as decorations in the hut along
with photos of the family that he loved.
There was also a Merry Christmas
display and some sets of angel wings fluttering in the wind.
The children weren't the only
ones to take up position in the hut as soloist Laura Brookes
and her accompaniest came along and sang a number of Christmas
carols for the assembled crowd.
Storm Barbara is supposed to blow
through overnight and hopefully the weather forecast for Christmas
Eve at hut 395 is calm and peaceful.
This evening we got a child's view
of an angel thanks to the work of the children at the Downs Infants
School Art Club. The centrepiece was another
large angel but very different to the collaged one we had last
This angel looked like a little
girl, flying along with a beaming smile on her face and her hair
drooping down over one eye. She looked like she was having a
lot of fun as she was swayed by the wind under a star and a
collection of other, smaller angels, all made by the
The children had also been asked
what they thought about angels and it was really interesting to see
their different comments about this.
Some understood that sometimes we
describe others as angels, especially when they've
done something good or kind for another person.
Others had a more objective
understanding of the type of being an angel is and how they might
behave. It might not be a bad thing for us
to encourage our youngsters to model themselves on angels, whatever
they understand that to mean. We also had garlands of angels
across the lintel of the hut and a little band of angels
brought instruments with them and played so that we could sing some
It was a very pleasant, charming
evening with a lot of good humour and communal enjoyment.
Only two more huts to go and our
pilgrimage will move towards Hove Lagoon for Christmas Eve, but
first we stop at hut number 329 tomorrow for our penultimate