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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.