brew up… and bless!

Tea plays a key role in our ministry as well as the culture of our region and the UK as whole, so it’s no surprise that it’s provided the central metaphor for our Yorkshire Day creative outreach. But the idea itself came in a time of prayer, so we’re struggling to take credit for it…

BrewUpAndBless window lead

But we’re not struggling to give credit to the wonderful artist who took the brewing and blessing concept to the next level. Alison Helliwell-Hodson is Ilkley based and has been a precious member of our praying community ever since its early days when she offered to paint the mural that had formed part of our initial vision for the Sanctuary’s space.

Her #BrewUpAndBless artwork packs a punch from a distance, but the detail when you get close up is astounding. Just beautiful.

We’ve used it not just to display in our window – along with our brewing prayer and some tea bag mobiles! – but also to form the basis for making 500 bespoke Yorkshire Day handmade gifts to give out to shopkeepers and residents in Ilkley at teatime this afternoon:

BrewUpAndBless gift

The gifts (which include a postcard, fridge magnet and two customised Fairtrade tea-bags) feature another bespoke creation – our brewing prayer:

BrewUpAndBless postcard back

BrewUpAndBless postcard front

BrewUpAndBless tea bag

BrewUpAndBless magnet

We’re so grateful to the more than twenty pray-ers who came in throughout Thursday and Friday to make up the gifts. There was such a fun, loving atmosphere as we crafted them together. And as you can imagine, the kettle worked harder than anyone, brewing up constant fuel for the workers…

We’re really looking forward to writing our next blog tomorrow and being able to let you know just how blessed people have been as a result of so many people coming together and giving their time, talents, prayer and resources so generously.

But meanwhile, it’s our prayer that our window, gifts and social media activity for Yorkshire Day this year will share a powerful image of God’s love poured out for us, bring people together around a shared love of tea and Yorkshire and inspire gratitude – and perhaps even prayer – for the welcoming and community building spirit that characterises so many of Yorkshire’s people and places.

It’s our heart too that our brewing prayer might bless people well beyond Yorkshire. The recent EU referendum revealed many divisions in UK society, and the headlines have been full of acts of hatred. Gathering around a cup or pot of tea together is a very simple thing – as is prayer. Anyone can do them, but they are both powerful ways to re-build hopeful, loving communities.

Wherever you live, why not join in by praying with us now?

Stir up in me –
and everyone in my neighbourhood –
an energising, rich flavour
of robust, resilient love,
for family, for friend… and for community.
So that like the very best cups of tea,
we can all offer real comfort
and come alongside each other in uncertain times
til our society can again be infused
with the refreshing flavour
of kind words spoken
and people gathered together to build with hope.
God who poured out your very self for us,
brew up a blessing in us – and through us – I pray.


Comments are closed.