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BEYOND CHURCH BLOG

BEYOND BLOG

24th December - Hut 395




So Christmas Eve has arrived and the final Beyond Beach Hut Advent Calendar opening.  After eleven years, 264 different art installations, thousands of people, and innumerable litres of mulled wine and boxes of mince pies this wonderful community art event draws to a close.






As the theme this year has been Follow the Star (#Followthestar for the Church of England campaign of the same name) we decided that hut 395 would showcase all the stars who have taken part since 2008.  



So we created 264 light up stars featuring a photograph from every hut opening since that first night until tonight.  Because the artists, community groups, schools and beach hut owners have been the stars of this event, proving how creative people can be when given the chance to take part in an event like this.








God is a creator and when we do something creative we are doing something divine, sharing in the nature of God.  Its one of the reasons that human beings are creative.



God also has wonderful creative ways of reaching out to us, and sending his Son as a baby two thousand years ago is an ingenious and creative way to connect with us.





The true star of Christmas is Jesus, but we try not to show him as part of the art during Advent as he should first appear on Christmas Day.  


The feature art at the back of hut 395 was a painting by Salvador Dali of the Madonna and Child, showing us Jesus on the verge of entering the world - a fitting image for Christmas Eve.



We've loved doing this event and are grateful for so many people who came along tonight to say that this was church for them; this was something that brought them closer to God.  




It's been a privilege to host such a beacon of light in the darkness and we hope to come up with some new ideas in the future now that we have some more time on our hands - so keep an eye on our website for news of our plans.

May God bring light into your world this Christmas as you seek to follow him in whatever way that is appropriate to you.  
God bless you this Christmas and into 2019.












23rd December - Hut 367

Tonight we were invited to consider who the stars are in our lives as Hut 367 was the venue for a host of celebrities who many consider to be stars.



Are they worthy enough for you to follow?  What benefit do you get from following them?  Is there any purpose in following a celebrity/star?



All these questions were posed by the array of stars presented via Big Issue images on stars within the hut.

Artists Louise Mabbs and Susi Maxwell-Stewart collaborative artwork provoked many responses.




Advent is a time to focus on the outcomes that come from following Jesus.  Our theme this year is 'Follow the Star' - an opportunity to focus on light in the darkness.






The hut also contained a Christmas tree of stars and anyone coming along was invited to write about the stars in their now lives and add them to the tree.





The promised rain stayed away until after 6.30pm and there was a good crowd for our penultimate hut.






Our final hut of the 2018 Beach Hut Advent Calendar is also the last hut that Beyond will organise - it's up by the lagoon at number 395.







22nd December - Hut 362




It was a beautiful night tonight in a number of different ways.  The weather was mild, calm and still; there was an enormous full moon hanging low over the horizon; and hut 362 offered all sorts of interest and enquiry.





Laura was the artist tonight and she devised a trail of questions and clues to help people find the star.  These were placed around the promenade in front of the hut and were bathed in glorious moonlight.





The evening was supported by a good crowd from Bishop Hannington church in Hove who were keen to engage with the trail.




The pilgrimage led eventually to the hut where there was a message about the wise men and a little souvenir to take away.







Both the hut and the souvenir carried the same message - 'Wise men followed the star so we can follow the Son'.

We have almost reached the end of our Advent journey and eleven years of an incredibly varied and creative community art event.





Tomorrow we move just a few huts West to number 367 before our final hut on Christmas Eve.









21st December - Hut 11




21st December marks our 21st hut and is also the midwinter solstice, the date when the days stop getting shorter and and we begin the long journey back towards summer.








To celebrate this here in Brighton we have the Burning of the Clocks festival which takes place in the centre of the city, and conveniently begins shortly after our beach hut opening ends.






The artist tonight had inclusivity as the focus for her art.  Sarah Watson specialises in collage work and created a collage for hut 11 showing a procession of people all following the star.  





Anyone can follow a star and the collage shows that with a an enormously diverse range of people represented in the crowd which winds away into the distance.

The whole scene was overseen by a beautiful copper star.

This is the last time we will visit a hut in the Eastern section of the seafront as all the rest of our huts are West of the King Alfred and heading towards Hove Lagoon.
Tomorrow we're at hut 362.






20th December - Hut 437



We were at our most Westerly hut for the 20th day of the our advent calendar, with only 4 more days to go to the end of the final Beyond Beach Hut Advent Calendar. 




The art tonight was created by the Kidz Klub which is a Christian organisation that runs youth clubs across the city.   You can read more about them HERE




They like to think outside the box and took their concept beyond the doors of the hut with a very impressive display.  The rays of light from their star burst from the baby lying on a simple wooden trestle as though the Son of God was sending his light out to dispel the darkness of the night.






Strictly speaking of course, Jesus is not born until Christmas Day, so this baby was a little premature, but the effect was so dramatic that it was worthwhile altering the chronology slightly.

Tomorrow we travel as Far East as it's possible to go as we're at hut 11.




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