Bishop Street Methodist Church

Art at the Chapel Explorations into Art and Spirituality

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May 2016 Creative Service

Thought provoking creative service this month based around Jean Vanier’s book ‘Tears of Silence’ which challenges us to overcome our fears and excuses that allow us to ignore those suffering around us rather than finding ways to reach out to others.


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Creative Service

We would love you to join us for the next Creative Service. If you think you would be interested keep an eye out on the website for dates and details, or even better drop us an email to [email protected] and we will add you to our email list so you can receive info about our creative services, retreats and exhibitions straight to your inbox. (Maximum mailing – one a month)

Thank you to everyone who helped put on and came along to the creative service last night. The beautiful music, smell of aromatherapy oils and candlelight helped create a special space for us all to relax and enjoy spending time with God. The service began with prayers by Ray Simpson of the Northumberland Community and story telling from a book by Trevor Dennis called ‘Imagining God’. The chapter we read was called  ‘Child’s Play’, and began with a wonderful image of God teaching Adam and Eve  how to skim stones and having great fun together on the riverbank. The theme of the creative, playful nature of God and how he calls us to delight in his creation ran through the service.

The Prayer Stations: We had twenty minutes to reflect on the story and any of the prayer stations we felt were helpful to us. These included…

1) A slide show of images rejoicing in creativity, including artwork by Matisse, Chagall and Georgia O’Keeffe and photographs exploring the incredible diversity of colour and form found in nature.


A series of images reflecting on the Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation.


An intercession table which invited us to use the ‘Praying in Colour’ technique to focus on those we wanted to bring before God.


A scent station where we could breathe deeply and enjoy the aromas of lavender, peppermint, rosemary, geranium and ginger, writing or drawing our responses if we wanted to.


and a place to spend time with the images of Rien Poortvliet, from his book ‘He Was One of Us’, focusing particularly on his drawing of the little children visiting Jesus and the delight He took in them.


Once we had gathered together once more we shared a little of our experiences and thoughts and sung accompanied by Jill on the flute. The service closed with a prayer inspired by St. Teresa of Avila and a beautiful Celtic blessing sung to us by Megan.

We each took something different home from the evening and personally it was a sense of being deeply cared for and nurtured by God which after a rather stressful week was just what I needed.

Our Creative services provide a space for you to relax and enjoy drawing closer to God, giving him space and time to speak to us. If you like the sound of this service we would love you to join us next time and you will be warmly welcomed. 


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The Thanksgiving Tree

Our prayer corner activity for December was the Thanksgiving Tree. We would like to say a big thank you to Ann Voskamp who created and gives away the printable leaves for free on her blog She has a great story here about how she explained the idea to her children which you may like to read.

We picked a leaf and reflected on the biblical verse written on it making the words our prayer of thanksgiving back to God. On the back of the leaf we wrote down something we were grateful to God for and hung it on a branch.

It was uplifting to read what people wrote and I for one appreciated the reminder to be thankful for all the blessings God gives me each and every day!



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Praying in Color

Praying In Color

I recently came across this wonderful idea from Sybil MacBeth who has kindly let us share it on the Art at the Chapel blog.

The following content is from Sybil’s website

She has lots more examples and info on there so its well worth a look. Sybil is American so please note the spelling of COLOR if searching for the website! Sybil also has a book called Praying in Color available from Amazon here

Praying in Color = prayer + d o o d l i n g

When multiple friends and family members received ugly and scary diagnoses, Sybil MacBeth found herself exhausted by the words of her prayers and stymied by a lack of focus. One summer day, she retreated to her back porch for a session of mindless doodling with a basket of her favorite colored markers. She drew a shape, put the name of a friend inside, and added lines and color. She drew another shape with another name and added detail and color. When the page was covered with designs and names, Sybil realized she had prayed. The action of drawing was a wordless offering of friends and family into the care of God. The page of drawings became a visual reminder to pray. This was the beginning of Praying in Color.



Pray for a group of people.Spend time alone with God.Pray for just one person. by Barbara M.


1) You want to pray but words escape you. 2) Sitting still and staying focused in prayer are a challenge. 3) Your body wants to be part of your prayer. 4) You want to just hang out with God but don’t know how. 5) Listening to God feels like an impossible task . 6) Your mind wanders and your body complains. 7) You want a visual, concrete way to pray.8) You Need a new way to pray.

Here’s how to get started:

1) Write your name for God on a piece of paper. Draw a shape around it or just start to doodle. The drawing becomes a prayer space, a small prayer closet. 2) Add marks and shapes. Focus on the name you chose. Ask God to be part of your prayer time with or without words. If words come, pray them; if not, enjoy the silence.
3) To pray for a person, write their name on the page. Draw around it. Add color, if you want. Keep drawing as you release the person into God’s care. 4) Add other people to your drawing. Think of each stroke of your pen as a prayer for them. Take a breath or say “Amen” between each person.