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Dear friends
I have just spent the last week on Retreat in Canterbury. My retreat consisted of joining an Icon Writing Course where I created an Icon of St Mildred who was an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon Abbess of the Abbey at Minster-in-Thanet, Kent. She was declared a saint after her death, and later her remains were moved to Canterbury.
Whilst writing (painting) the Icon it was interesting to note the strange colours that were used to create the image. Having a base colour of red for her robes which was then covered by three different shades of green was a rather shocking experience. This made me think about how we as a church are made up. We are all different and on the surface it would appear that some of us should not get along with others. However, all of us are needed to create the beauty that is in the Church. All of our talents are required to build the Kingdom of God here on earth.
If any of the colours were missed off the Icon then the image would be incomplete. For example on Mildred’s face under the final wash of Egg Tempera (paint) there is a startling red placed on the cheeks – rather like the makeup of a Dame in a pantomime. However, once the final wash of tempera is applied this resolves itself into the warmth of a human’s skin. Again reminding us all that we each complement each other and that much of the work of the Church is done in the background where nobody notices what has been undertaken; but that work is vital to the outreach of the church as without that work the church would not be whole, and rather like the Icon without the garish makeup, we would be left with a death mask Icon which would not enable people to contemplate their place in the world.
Taking time out of our busy world is also vitally important, not just holidays, but spiritual retreats where we can recharge our batteries, we can rediscover God acting in our lives and we can come back to undertake God’s work with more energy and focus.
I leave you with an image of my completed Icon so that you too can contemplate the place of God in your lives.


Yours in Christ


Services this month Meet the team