Friday, February 24, 2006

Hope not Hate

A celebration of cultural and religious diversity in Priory Park on Sunday 30th April from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. - more details to follow of this event nearer the time. Come to all or part of the afternoon’s activities.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Imaging the Invisible

In recent weeks a set of pictures – in this case cartoons – have been at the centre of political debate and controversy across the world. The Danish economy has already lost tens of millions of euros and the country’s citizens feel besieged, all because of a set of pictures. We live in a colour saturated world – though not to date in the Parish Magazine! We live surrounded by images and yet we have little grasp of their power over us. And it is only events like the recent Danish controversy that make us sit up and give us pause for thought.

That controversy is couched in terms of free speech. Yet there is another side to the argument that is easily overlooked. After all, there is not just a freedom to publish, there is also a right to own the image. Think of Isabelle Dinoire, the French woman who sought the right to a new face after terrible disfigurement. Across the world today many traditional communities continue to hold that the image is sacred. Capturing the face on film is for them a violation. The celluloid image, or now the digital image on a memory card, captures the soul of the person and so dispossesses the living of an identity. That may seem an extreme view and one difficult for us to comprehend. And yet all of us can feel the camera to be an intrusion into our privacy.

Faith communities approach the image in markedly different ways. It is said that the prophet Muhammad saw his wife Aisha with some decorated cushions in the home that she had bought for him. The prophet rebuked her: “The angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures” – a difficult prohibition indeed and one which today sits uneasily with contemporary Islam – what of watching TV let alone a cartoon? Islam has resisted making images, not because the image is sacred but the sacred is beyond images. Christian faith by contrast believes in the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Colossians 1:15). Images then can be holy but only if they are windows onto the spiritual which remains invisible beyond images.

With the arrival of Lent we remember Christ in the desert, fasting for forty days and forty nights. And the desert of course was free of images. Unless we retreated to the desert it would be near impossible for us to experience an image-free Lent but perhaps we can all use this Lent to free us from the power of images. And it is when we do that we unlock the power of imagination. May Lent then be a time for you to image the invisible.


Fr Andrew


Friday, February 17, 2006

Caring for Carers

Mental illness continues to afflict and stigmatise thousands of families across the West Midlands. A one day workshop for families and friends of people with severe mental illness is being held in Digbeth, Birmingham on Saturday 1st April. If you would like more information either for yourself or another family that you know locally please speak to me. The day is free with even reimbursement possible for travel.


Fr Andrew

Living Space

Worcester Cathedral is hosting a Family Arts Day on Saturday 4th March between 10.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. If you are in Worcester on that day, why not drop in and see a range of surprising and uplifting activities – dance, felt making, drawing, story telling to name a few. Admission is free.



Cathedral Capers

On Saturday 13th May, the Junior Church are going to be clowning around in Worcester Cathedral with the clerical clown Roly Bain. It will be a day full of different activities to help bring faith alive for children and young people. For further information please speak to either Hilary Roberts or myself – it would be helpful to know numbers so we can start to plan transport.


Fr Andrew

New Director of Development

Congratulations to Canon Robert Jones, whom some will remember when he was parish priest at St Francis’s. Canon Jones will be taking up the new post of Director of Development within the Diocese. His task will be to see how to draw on the many resources which we share so that they can be used for the church’s mission and training. Please remember him in your prayers.


Dudley Songs of Praise

Churches Together are hosting a Songs of Praise fellowship on Sunday 18th June at 7.00 p.m. The event will take place in the grounds of Himley Hall and was attended last time by over 3000 people. Admission and car-parking will be free so do tell your friends and invite them to share with Christians across the borough in what should be a very uplifting experience.