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Angel bridges

24 August 2012

IN THE ethnically diverse areas of Dewsbury and Thornhill, in Wakefield diocese, groups of children from four schools, and older people from a residential home have been meeting - sometimes separately, sometimes together - to talk and think about angels and the part that they play in each other's cultures.

In the Christian stories, the children learned about Michael and Gabriel, who bring messages from God, and guide and protect them. They also learned about the two angels at their side in the Islamic faith: one to make note of all the good that they do, and the other to record their weaknesses. They were also introduced to "real angels", such as Dr Barnardo and Florence Nightingale.

Working with two artists, Shanaz Gulzar and Steve Manthorp (with some of the children), as part of a Kirklees Heritage and Community project, they have created a globe of white feathers, which has just gone on display in St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill.

Each cluster of feathers in the globe contains a message from a child wishing something good for the community or the world. Light projections and the sound of children's voices add to the installation, and there is also written work by the children on display.

"It's been difficult to capture the real beauty of this project - the wonderfully inspiring things the children have said, and they way they have been able to share their great insights about the world and relationships," the Priest-in-Charge of Thornhill, the Revd Sue Clarke, says. "But it has truly been a project that has touched people's hearts and minds, and continues to move people who see the feather globe -especially when they realise some of what it represents."


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Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

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