Monday, 1 December 2014


The seventh annual Brighton and Hove Beach Hut Advent Calendar launched in style tonight thanks to St. Christopher's School in Hove who pulled out all the stops to create a fantastic opening night hut.

Their theme was Angels from the Realms of Glory and we were treated to angels of all sorts and shapes and sizes in all their glory both inside and outside the hut.

The hut itself became a massive angel with a guard of honour made up of milk bottle angels lining the silver pathway up to the hut.

Even the Archangel covering the entrance to the hut had angel decorations behind her/him which could just be glimpsed behind the angel wings.

There were angels hanging between the huts, angels in great crowds either side of the doorway and angels hanging in lines on the St. Christopher's gazebo which was set up to give a home to the choir who sang for almost the whole hour.

The mulled wine and mince pies disappeared very quickly even though we supplied double the amount that we normally provide.

This was largely because so many people chose to visit the hut tonight, it was absolutely packed.  The crowd was so large that a group of runners heading towards us on the seafront decided to turn round and go the other way when they realised how impossible it would be to wend their way through so many people.

Among the visitors was the Bishop of Lewes, the Right Reverend Richard Jackson along with this family to celebrate the start of the Advent season.

This was a fantastic start to this years calendar.  Hut 311 really showed what it means to be a light in the darkness, which is one of the key messages of Advent.

The next hut is number 227 which is a little closer to The View than we were tonight.

Kingdom Come?

The second in our series on phrases from the Lord's Prayer and Jesus' 'I Am' sayings involved us in looking at the kind of Kingdom we think will come.  What do we understand by the Kingdom of Heaven and how do we get into it? Are there barriers to entry and special ways to get in and if so then who is the gatekeeper?

To get into St. Luke's church you had to get past the friendly gatekeeper who very generously gave everyone a key.

We watched a clip from Ghostbusters when Sigourney Weaver is possessed and will only let Bill Murray in when he gives the right answer.  Here is the clip.
This led us to thinking and writing down the kinds of phrases that include and exclude people from church.

The key shape was very much on our minds and so we entered into a mandala making exercise using the keys as wax rubbings or by drawing round them.  Mandalas are meditative tools which are meant to help to unlock us spiritually and which find a common form in churches in the form of rose windows.

The mandala is also closely linked to the mandorla or almond shape which is often used as the frame around an icon of Jesus or a saint.  The mandorla is space created by two interlocking circles, the space where heaven and earth are joined.

You can read more about mandorlas here.

We read Jesus words from John 10 about being the gate and then played a separation game where we had to divide ourselves into those with or without shoelaces, or being right handed or male or female.  This gave us a sense of what it feels like to be excluded or included in a group.

We watched Rob Bell talk about Love Wins and listened to a few words from Kent Dobson about what it might be like to put aside any thoughts of an afterlife.

Finally we got to try our key in the lock and amazingly the first person who tried it was successful! Inside it was a chocolate coin but then it was revealed that the envelope attached to every key also had a coin in it so that heaven had already come to us all.

We finished with the Blessing of St. Clare.

Blessing of Saint Clare
What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you always do and never abandon.
But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet,
so that even your steps stir up no dust,
may you go forward securely, joyfully and swiftly,
on the path of prudent happiness,
not believing anything,
not agreeing with anything,
that would dissuade you from this resolution
or that would place a stumbling block for you
on the way,
so that you may offer your vows to the Most High
in the pursuit of that perfection
to which the Spirit of God has called you.