Care for creation; greetings from Val, John & Ruth

This item was posted a while ago, on 1 January 2010.

Greetings from Val

I want to tell you a little bit about the Tree Of Life Project which is organised through St Barnabas’ Church. This project seeks to explore in a holistic way how the life and teachings of Jesus bring reconciliation and salvation to not only human beings but also the whole of creation, and how this affects the local community of Knowle West.

It explores our spirituality and creativity; our relationship with the environment and how we can care for it; our individual and local community culture and identity; our ancestry. There are several workshops already in place, such as creative writing, craftwork, caring for the environment. We also have a Knowle West community allotment. Community fun events, such as the one John writes about in his article, though not strictly under ”Tree of Life”, are really important to bring people together. The aim is to encourage people on the estate to understand more of who they really are, both as individuals and their place in the local community.

We are currently moving into a new phase of exploration, where the project starts to focus on workshops where young people can learn more about being in relationship with others; also where children who have problems with reading and writing can meet outside school hours and have some fun improving their skills and also learning more about God’s creation.

Greetings from John

Do you remember when we had summer last year? The weather was somewhat unsettled — summer for me was on 19 September, the day of the Filwood Fun Day. Knowle West is in the Parish of Filwood and we were invited to come along and support this community event.

There was a good mixture of events, music, dance, and tabletop sales. The Carmel Church provided the catering equipment and a barbeque, etc.

Richard Martin, a Lee Abbey ‘link man’ set up musical instruments for the youngsters to experiment with, so there were drums and guitars going flat out.

Val and I ran the stall selling tea, coffee and cakes at a low price. We sold 300 home-made cakes and at least the same number of teas and coffees. Carmel ran a children’s club for part of the day. There are plans to regenerate parts of the estate and so Bristol City Council used this opportunity to display some of the plans to breathe new life into the estate. There was also a low-level police presence mixing with the local people in a relaxed manner.

Greetings from Ruth

Wow! It’s January, and have I really been here over a year? What a year! I have learnt a lot about God, people with whom I interact, and myself. I have been overjoyed seeing young people moving on from difficult circumstances to a job, and to a hopeful life. I have been incredibly frustrated when bureaucracy has got in the way of radical, exciting Christ-centred ideas.

I have wept when someone didn’t have the courage to take a step towards a new and better life. I have had to remind myself that God sometimes works in a slow drip way, and not a gushing way. I have prayed for people I have never met, and have learnt the hard lesson that I may never know the result of my prayers. I have worked very peculiar hours including talking to clubbers on a Friday night until 3.00 am. And what a privilege!

How do I see this year going? I hope there will be more opportunities to talk about God to local people and that I will be doing some more youth work.

But more than anything my prayer for this year is to glorify God in radical and exciting new ways. I pray that I will listen to what God is calling me to, and however scary it seems, that I will trust and obey.