Creating something with Living Stones

An outstanding work produced during the Living Stones event,
‘Drawing Iffley Church’

Artists Sally Levell and Phil Whiting, together with eighteen eager learners, spent the last Saturday in May drawing Iffley Church. This was the second time Living Stones has offered a day-long opportunity for people to come together and devote themselves to looking at and reflecting on the building, and attempting to convey their impressions onto paper. Their efforts were thrilling. Phil said they should all be very proud of what they had achieved. One of them wrote afterwards to say, ‘Thanks for a wonderful day yesterday –  so wonderful to spend time creating something in the quiet beauty of the church’.  

Living Stones aims to reach out to people of all ages, abilities and beliefs through exploring the history and purpose of St Mary’s Church, Iffley. Those of us who know and love the Church are aware that the experience of spending time in and around the building evokes awe and reverence. It also provokes our curiosity and demands a thoughtful and creative response. Such depth of involvement in the ‘quiet beauty’ engages our sense of responsibility for the continuing care of the ancient and the living stones (the building and the worshippers, past, present and future). So thank you, Sally and Phil and everyone who came that day. Your pencils and sketch books were put to great use, your skill was impressive, and your energy and enthusiasm infectious. It really was a memorable day. Let’s do it again!

Our ventures with the Rose Hill community are involving more and more people. 24 children from the school have been exploring a farm this term and a Living Stones volunteer has helped them on four of their trips. Members of the Junior Youth Club have been immersed in the Mystery Play on various fronts: creating animal masks to crowd Noah’s Ark, joining the cast in the Ark, enjoying a special preview of the Play at the Community Centre, and providing the catering for the two performances in Iffley on 29 and 30 June. All very exciting. We wish the very best of luck to all who are involved in The Creation and Deluge. 

As soon as the Play is over, the next Living Stones adventure will begin. Drop by and find out about stones on 6 and 7 July between 12 and 4pm when the Mobile Heritage Lab will be parked by the church gate. On-board scientists will be sharing their research (and the amazing equipment they use including ground penetrating radar and hyperspectral cameras) to analyse the various threats to our stone and how it can be preserved and protected. Your appetite will be whetted for the STONES OF IFFLEY weekend on 27-29 September!

The volunteer rota has lots of gaps from 21 July through to the end of September. Pease don’t miss out on the pleasure of spending a weekend afternoon meeting our visitors and sharing your passion for the church with them. Just let me know when you would like to help.

Penny Tyack

07813 692866