Stories are at the heart of our faith. The Bible tells us about God’s love for all of creation and how Jesus lived and shared this message through his life, his ministry, his death and his resurrection.
The themes of “2020 Vision” invite us to look at our own faith stories: The gifts God has given to us as individuals and communities here in Wales. The ways in which we have grown, changed and learned and the hopes God that has given us for the future.
One beautiful way to look at our stories is to record them in some way, and these cross-design story-cube boxes, developed at the St Giles’ RE and Faith Development Centre in Wrexham, can help us to do this.
These cube boxes take 7 themes from the life of Jesus (one for each outside face of the cube and one for the inside of the box.) The seven themes are:
4) New beginnings
7) Resurrection/ hopes for the future.
Every person, or group is asked, “What is your story of nativity/growing/miracles etc.?” “Where has God shown healing or new beginnings in your life story? What have been the important “good-byes” or leave takings that mark your life? What are your hopes for the future? Or, what signs of resurrection are evident in your story?
The cubes can be decorated with words, pictures, photographs or collage to tell your story or the story of your church / school / personal faith-journey etc. The inside face of the cube can be decorated, or symbols of hopes for the future can be placed inside the boxes. The cubes can be decorated by individuals or by groups.
Small, photocopy-able templates of these cubes will be available on the Church in Wales web-site. These work well as an aid to reflection, or for a group activity.
There are 1000 larger boxes being distributed across the Province via each Diocesan Office so that we can collect stories from around Wales, to use at the 2020 Vision conference in Llandudno. Collecting and sharing stories of faith, callings and growth can encourage and inspire us, both locally and as a Province.
These boxes are designed for use with individuals, churches, schools and groups. They can be used in children’s and youth ministries and with adults. They work best with people who enjoy doing something creative and those who like to have visual aids or models for learning.
The boxes not only record individual stories of faith, but, gathered together they can show us our power and potential to use our stories to shape others.
The St Giles’ RE Centre have already used these boxes in worship – building walls, showing how faith stories can divide people. We built a road to illustrate how faith stories can offer direction. Last Advent we built a shelter for a nativity scene, to show how stories can protect people. At Easter we dismantled some of the boxes to reveal the cross-shape in which they are made. In breaking open the boxes, we also revealed the words and images about hopes for the future inside the boxes and this demonstrated a Christian message about the links between brokenness and resurrection.
At the November conference in Llandudno, we hope to use story cubes to build an altar to say something about our desire to continue to share and offer our gifts as part of God’s generous work of love.
What happens now?
Early in September 150 boxes and instruction sheets, will be delivered to each Diocesan Office, these are for use by parishes, schools and church groups.
For the November conference we need each diocese to bring with them 30 completed story cubes from their diocese (that’s one for each delegate).
These will be used in the worship at the conference and then we intend to send the cubes back with the delegates to different parishes, so that the stories on them can be shared across Wales. (* For this reason it is important to let people know that we will not be able to return completed cubes sent to the conference to those who have made them.)
If you are able to help with promoting this idea, encouraging schools or churches to take box templates and to decorate the boxes to send or bring to the conference, then that would be a very great help.
Thank you for reading this. For more information contact Rev’d Mary Stallard or 07779 418007.