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York church pathway spells out words of hope

23 September 2016

ST PHILIP & ST JAMES, CLIFTON

A CHURCH path 30 metres long that spells out a verse from the book of Isaiah in mosaic tiles is to be dedicated today by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu.

The pathway to Clifton Parish Church, in York, has been relaid in mosaic tiles that spell out the verse: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength — they will soar on wings like eagles”.

The project, conceived and managed by a stained-glass conservator, Helen Bower, who worships at the church, took eight years to complete.

She came up with the idea because she wanted to offer her skills to her local church, she said. “The tarmac path up to the church was tired and needed relaying. This should last for many years — think how long some Roman mosaic floors have lasted.”

She organised dozens of workshops to get more than a hundred people from the local community to help create the mosaics, and then grout around them.

“In a way, I’m glad it took so long to complete, because we could involve many more people. I’ve loved every minute of it. The pathway offers a message of hope to people, and I hope it will spread. One lady came to the church to bury her husband, and, as she stepped out of the hearse, the first word she saw was ‘Hope’. She said it affected her deeply.”

The Vicar of Clifton, Canon David Casswell, said: “This project could not have been completed without the time and dedication volunteered by so many people from our community. Our hope is that people will be able to follow the Clifton Spiritual Pathway physically, figuratively, and spiritually. ”

Dr Sentamu said: “‘Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength — they will soar on wings like eagles.’ What an encouragement to us. My prayer is that those who journey through this life with Jesus Christ will know their strength renewed daily as they seek to share the love of God with those they meet.”

As well as the Spiritual Pathway, a new communion table frontal was commissioned and completed in 2015 by a local artist, Jacqueline James. The handwoven piece was made specifically for the church.

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