I woke early on New Year’s Eve with the words of a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins running through my head.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
The poem is popularly called ‘Gate of the Year’, although the author herself entitled it ‘God Knows’. King George V1 quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast and it remained a source of comfort to millions throughout the Second World War.
We begin a new year together yet necessarily apart as we abide by lockdown restrictions. It is a deeply challenging time, a time once again to put our hands into the Hand of God, confident that God knows and loves each and every one of us and guides us through the darkest of days. As we walk with God, we continue to reach out to one another and the wider communities we serve in care and prayer. Please do not hesitate to ring if you need a listening ear, advice or prayer.
It’s heartening to hear that several people in our community have now received the vaccine. We rejoice with them and look forward to the day when we have all been vaccinated. We will meet again and in the meantime we look intentionally and with hope for the signs of ‘the breaking of day in the lone East.’
Best wishes and prayers for a hope-filled new year. Nikki
And a thank you....
As we step into a new year, there are many challenges ahead, but there is also hope. We look back over an extraordinarily difficult time but also forward to new growth and faith in better days to come.
Here at Discover DeCrypt we would like to thank those who have enabled us to weather the storms of the pandemic over the past ten months: the National Heritage Lottery Fund, who have provided not only financial support but mentorship and encouragement throughout these hard times; our stalwart volunteers who have adapted brilliantly to restrictions and taken on additional tasks with enthusiasm and unfailing good will; our faith community whose perseverance and adaptability has allowed prayer and worship to continue throughout lockdowns and has done so much locally to support those in need; those regular hirers who have loyally stayed with us as far as circumstances have allowed - your generosity and commitment has been invaluable; our colleagues from heritage, cultural and community organisations across the city who have shared resources, ideas and mutual problem-solving; and of course, so importantly, all our visitors and supporters, whose continued engagement and interest has made all the struggles worthwhile.
So we head into 2021 feeling well-supported to address the coming year with renewed energy and hope. We wish you all the blessings of this season, and health and happiness in the year to come. Please read on to find out about our plans for Discover DeCrypt this year.
For the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff, the church remains closed while Gloucester is in Tier 4.Once lockdown is over, Prayers for the City will return every Friday at 1.00pm. We will also be live streaming the service in future so you will be able to join in from home if you are unable to be there in person. Further details will be available on the website: www.discoverdecrypt.org.uk.
Techno-guides and Virtual Tours
Our talented and knowledgeable volunteers have been working hard to create video guides to some of the most interesting features of the buildings with the help of Dave Grange and the Gloucester Looking Up project. It's been a challenge, but also a pleasure. We will be uploading these and more to our YouTube channel in the coming months, so look out for updates!
New Guide Book coming soon...
Some visitors love virtual tours, the app and the talking pen trail, but for others, there is nothing quite like a good old-fashioned book. We have been drawing together the historical, archaeological and architectural material we have, along with some stunning pictures to create the first full-colour guide book to the church and schoolrooms. It will offer a comprehensive tour of the buildings, but also a valuable souvenir of your visit to take away and read in more detail at home. We'll update you on our progress and launch date over the next few months.
Life: Upcoming events and Activities
Filming for Remembrance Day with Alison Summerskill and Gloucester Civic Trust.
Live and livestreaming....our plans for 2021
This past year has seen an unprecedented boom in virtual communication. How many of us had regularly attended 'zoom' meetings or been to a 'virtual' event before this? Now, virtual work and play are part of life and it looks like they are here to stay.
As part of our work to adapt and change in response to the new normal, we have acquired the equipment to play an active part in the virtual future. The Gloucester Looking Up project (funded by Historic England and run by the Gloucester History Festival) has already begun using our cameras to train volunteers from across the city in the technology and skills needed to take history and heritage online. In the coming year we will also be partnering with higher education establishments in Gloucester to deliver a recording and live streaming capability for music, theatre and spoken word events from Discover DeCrypt.
We will be offering a regular programme of events streamed right to your home. At the same time this will support our community of performing artists who have been hit so badly by the pandemic restrictions and provide young and emerging artists and technicians with opportunities to build skills and gain experience.
If you are looking for some child-friendly activities to do at home during lockdown, check out our educational resources and activity packs. They are all available free of charge on the website here: https://discoverdecrypt.org.uk/education/educational-resources/#ed-downloads. Don't forget you can also download the Discover DeCrypt app and take a virtual walk around the buildings plus a sneaky peek into the attics and the crypt itself...
Art and Craft Workshops: Plans for life after lockdown...
We are looking forward to resuming our series of monthly workshops in a range of art and craft activities starting with Wet Felting. We will be fixing a date as soon as it is safe to start group activities again.
This one-day workshop is an introduction to the creative craft of wet felt making suitable for complete beginners or those with a little experience. You will learn how to create a piece of felt from merino wool tops using the wet felting technique. There will be a selection of coloured wools to choose from and the chance to experiment with a number of small projects. In the afternoon we will be making felted soap. Wool is naturally anti-bacterial and is an ideal covering for soap, which lathers well and shrinks with the soap as it is used.
Future workshops will include painting with pastels, introduction to watercolour, beaded jewellery, decoupage candles, mosaic and more. To sign up for advance notice of dates please email us email@example.com
Please note that numbers will be limited to comply with Coronavirus regulations. Participants will be required to wear a face covering and observe strict distancing and hygiene measures.
Support the Churchyard Challenge
Anybody who has walked through the churchyard recently will have seen the transformation that has taken place over the last few months. Discover DeCrypt is not responsible for the churchyard, so we are very grateful to the group of independent volunteers who have got together to take it in hand. Many hours of hard work, weeding, removing rubbish, planting and sowing has made a huge difference.
There is still a great deal to do and they would welcome any help - particularly if you have any spare seeds or seedlings to donate as we move into spring. They would also welcome donations of any tools you might be able to spare. Let's make the churchyard a truly magical green space for all to enjoy this year!
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