Greenbelt put a call out for contributions to the worship program. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so Cafechurch decided to offer something. Sometimes Cafechurch sessions are the inspiration of one person, sometimes they are the result of a group of us playing with ideas. That’s how we got to our offering for Greenbelt. We held a facebook group conversation that enabled as many as wanted to join in the opportunity to do so. It was a great way for us to develop an idea when we were spread across the country and not all able to physically sit in the same room. We played with ideas of weaving, mending, brokenness, sustainability, Japanese art, medieval English mysticism, biblical texts and a whole lot more. Eventually we’d formed an idea and created a sense of what we wanted to do with it. The Greenbelt worship liked the idea and invited us along.
To get from an idea to worship that could work for a group of unknown size, in an unknown venue took a bit of work and a lot of cutting and sticking but eventually we got there. Along with the idea we also realised that we needed to do something to promote the event to the good people of Greenbelt – all this was just an excuse to get a few of us together for a making session with pizza.
Armed with T-Shirts, friendship bracelet adverts, worship kits in envelopes, lots of bits of fabric and a home-made loom we headed for the beautiful fields of the new Greenbelt site at Boughton Hall.
We set up our loom frame on the grass in front of the Make & Create venue (we quickly realised that we wouldn’t fit into the space we’d been given but could easily do the session outside in the sunshine) and Vicky set to work weaving away. As people arrived got them into groups. The cafechurch member leading the group got them to start making friendship bracelets while they chatted and got to know each other a bit. Once all the groups had formed everyone was welcomed and the groups were encouraged to move on with the worship.
The worship session was facilitated by using a set of envelopes – each envelope had a question on the front of it to get people discussing, with resources inside it to help inform the discussion. Inside was also another envelope that had the next question, more resources and another envelope….. (this is a format that we’ve used at cafechurch in the past and know works well with a varied size group – you can have as many envelope packs as you have group facilitators and everyone has all the resources they need for the session ready for the group)
The first envelope had the question ‘where did the clothes you’re wearing come from?’ Each group facilitator helped their group discuss this – the conversations ranged from which shops they had bought things in to where clothes had been manufactured. When the conversation slowed the group were invited to open the envelope.
Inside the envelope were three cards. Each one explained a different stage of the journey from growing cotton to making garments. this opened up further conversation as people shared their knowledge and ignorance of things like the dangers of cotton spinning, Fairtrade production and pesticide usage.
There was also another envelope inside the first. This had the question ‘where do the things in our pockets come from?’ (we guessed that most people would have a mobile phone). Conversation again headed off in multiple directions. Once again inside that envelope was information about the mining and extraction process that go into making phone components.
Throughout the discussion about where the fabric of our lives comes from each person was encouraged to write a prayer for those involved in some part of that process. These prayers were written on pieces of fabric that were then woven onto the large loom that was set up in the middle of the space.
Having thought about where the stuff we have and wear comes from we then had a question ‘what happens to our clothes/the things in our pockets when we have finished with them?’
Inside this third envelope were three cards reflecting on re-use, recycle and throw away. Each card offered a short bible passage and a reflection either for personal use or discussion with others.
After people had had a chance to explore the three cards there was a final envelope in the pack. This introduced the Japanese idea of ‘kintsukoroi’ – mending broken pots with gold and in doing so creating something more beautiful than before.
There was space for reflection on our broken-ness and the mending we find in Christ. Alongside the card about ‘kintsukori’ was a needle and gold thread with the invitation to sew the gold thread either into the friendship bracelet made at the start of the session or into the clothes that people were wearing….
People left having made new friends, reflected upon how we get the fabric of everyday life, prayed for those whose lives are woven together with ours, and reflected on how can live in a more sustainable way as stewards of God’s creation.
If you want to have a full set of the materials we used we’d be delighted to share them with you. Just send us a message…..