Barrow Benefice has embraced a community project that has encouraged families to work creatively together during lockdown. The Hope Stone Project is designed for everyone, whatever their age and whether artistic or not, to gather pebbles and paint messages of hope and encouragement on them. The stones are then placed around the benefice for others to find. One of the organisers, Nicola Grieves, said: “The idea is to share the hope we have in Christ with others, even though we don’t know who will find the stones. We’re sure the Hope stones will bring a smile of joy to those who do find them.”
Here is what Rachael Warr from Barrow said about her family’s contribution:
“We were fortunate enough on Saturday to find a very quiet stretch of beach. We gathered some pebbles, and bought them home ready to decorate the following day. Joshua (5) and Evie (4) were very excited to get the paints out! We spent our Sunday morning giving them a first coat of paint, and later went back to them to complete our designs.
We thought of some words that reminded us of Church. Joshua came up with some brilliant ones, such as Welcome, Love and Happiness. Evie helped to choose the colours too, and described how the church looked as we painted one of the rocks. We then walked the village, and the children found some places to leave them where they felt others would find and appreciate them, and hopefully find new places for them to be found again! We feel hopeful that people will enjoy them and spread that joy to others too – and maybe even feel inspired to create their own!”
In addition to our Hope Stone Project, Annie and Nicola organised a Pentecost Dove Project, encouraging families to make doves of all shapes and sizes, which were then hung outside homes as well as inside. As part of the Thy Kingdom Come initiative, people wrote prayers on the doves – choosing a whole range of prayers.
As Juliet Fisher, who lives in Risby, explains: “With the famous five (Patrick, Theo, Noah, Caspar and Meralina), we created a wee factory line, with a template, cutting, folding and chatting, colouring the orange beaks and talking about The Pentecost Feast (always food involved with this tribe!) We were talking about the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, and about what the Church teaches – charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, mildness, faith, modesty (although these don’t always apply to raising a tribe of teenagers – it’s always a matter of continually nourishing and nurturing the seeds). I have also, with my younger two, Caspar and Meralina, made some clay fingerprint crosses to go in your pocket. I got this idea from a church service in Cornwall earlier this year. We also had a lot of fun painting the rocks and scattering them around the village, dropping them on the doorsteps of friends and at the children’s school Brookes.”