St Mary's Church, Ladybrook
50th Anniversary Celebrations
As part of the celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the consecration of our church, St Mary the Virgin, Ladybrook, Mansfield, in 2008, it was decided to make two wall hangings to hang in the chancel.
The idea was that this would be something which could be a combined effort of the congregation, the local school children and the community and, although the banners would mainly stay in the church, it was hoped they would also be taken to different venues in the area to be displayed for a time.
We commissioned a textile artist Carol Marples from Soul Marks (www.soulmarks.co.uk) to help us with this.
Carol came down for a few days from Edinburgh, and talked to us.
She visited the local community and schools, and together we worked on the ideas for two wall hangings.
The themes chosen were water, as the estate is named Ladybrook and the Lady Brook still runs under the main road (something many people are not aware of). The Tree of Life from the book of Revelations [22:1.2]. Bricks, as our church is brick built.
A week of activity
During one week in the summer, Carol came again and we played host to classes from all the schools in the area and we made “tiles” of calico which were either painted or embroidered as drops of water, leaves or bricks.
We had a great time helping the children with their artistic efforts and we also enjoyed painting and sewing ourselves. There was much fun and it was wonderful to welcome children into our church building.
There was some mess at times but the newly installed kitchen sink in our vestry was very well used that week and we felt it was a real blessing.
Carol also taught the children and us some action songs from Fischy Music (www.fischy.com) when we had finished our artistic efforts.
We had a rest until after Christmas and since then a group of us met weekly to sew the “tiles” onto the backing cloth.
We had great times of fellowship, we enjoyed our conversations and have discovered more about each other.
We always start the day with prayer and have often listened to spiritual music or had readings while we worked.
We also conducted our Lent course during this period and some people continued to work on the banners while taking part in the discussions.
We brought lunch to share together and were well refreshed with tea, coffee and biscuits.
Insight to non-church goers
On a personal note, I attend a French Conversation class weekly and we had to think of different topics to speak about.
I told my fellow students about the wall hangings and was able to show them photographs of the church and the people working on them.
This was a new insight to non-church-goers into the sort of things that we get up to!
The dedication of the wall hangings by Rev. Jan Dewhirst took place on Sunday 11th July 2008.
It was a very proud day.
The photographs show the work in progress, starting from the painted leaves, water droplets and bricks painted by children, which were placed on large sheets of paper to dry.
Sewing the leaves etc on to material and adding beadwork.
Close-up’s of some of the work
The finished wall hangings.
Proud contributers in front of ‘The tree of life’ wall hanging in St Mary’s Church.