We make the road by walking

We make the roadSo last night we started discussing Brian McClaren’s book. We spent much of the evening debating his definition of ‘being spiritual’ as meaning ‘seeking aliveness’. We got a bit lost in it all, arguably, but it wasn’t bad to sit back and ask what it really means if we are aspiring to be ‘really alive’ or as Jesus put it to have ‘life in all its fullness’. We’ve decided to read a chapter a week and when we have an evening dedicated to it we can share anything arising from the previous chapters or that week’s.  We’re going to put a pop-up on the homepage every week to remind us where we’re at – as we’re starting at week 19 this week (His book begins in September). If you’re following us from afar, why don’t you get a copy and join us from a distance. You could post comments on your responses…

Thanks Fi for leading us and to the Gate for the real fire!

Taize meets Soulspace

So last night we hosted our first Taize service with John Phillips and music group. We had a turn-out of around 70 people from a range of Matlock and local churches along with Soulspace regulars. The evening was a great success – with a terrific combination of wonderful Taize songs combined with images on our giant screen. Our theme was ‘Open’ and readings (from The Message from Luke 2:1-35 and selected verses from Ephesians 3:1-19) seemed to speak so powerfully and vividly – I LOVE THAT PARAPHRASE! – Go on – look them up! We also included these readings which were so profound:

‘Although God never stops trying to communicate with us, God never wants to impose anything on us. Often God’s voice comes in a whisper, in a breath of silence. Remaining in silence in God’s presence, open to the Spirit, is already prayer.

It is not a matter of trying to obtain inner silence at all costs by following some method that creates a kind of emptiness within. The important thing is a childlike attitude of trust by which we allow Christ to pray within us silently, and then one day, we will discover that the depths of our being are inhabited by a Presence.’               Brother Roger


Epiphanies are Made for Sharing . . . . . . . . . Father Thomas Rosica, CSB                                                                         Solemnity of the Epiphany, Year A, Dec. 25, 201

“The word ‘epiphany’ means ‘to show forth.’ Epiphanies, both large and small, tend to be private events – yet events with great significance for the public. Trying to share the details with another of an epiphany is fraught with complications. The words are never quite right, and even the most sympathetic listener cannot fully bridge the gap between description and what is was like being there. Most of us keep our personal experiences of the Holy to ourselves. Who would believe it? And who would really understand? The irony is that epiphanies are made for sharing, even as they are impossible to communicate fully.…      “Unlike the poor shepherds, the Magi had to travel a long road; they had to face adversity to reach their goal. It was anything but a romantic, sentimental pilgrimage that we often see in our manger scenes!…      “The experience of the magi reminds us that all who make the tedious journey to the truth will finally encounter it and be changed in the process. They can never go back to a ‘business as usual’ way of life. When we meet Christ and see who he really is, we will never be the same – and only then can we hope to begin to share in his mission.…”

Have a think on that!

Prayers with images attached led to a strong sense of presence and connection and our service ended with John’s fantastic solo over Laudate Dominum – quite stunning!

Thanks to all who came and for the many special and important conversations over wine, hot drinks and home-baking. It was good to see you and we hope you’ll find us again!

Book plug / swap

Only at ThirdSpace could you get such an eclectic range of books on offer! Thanks everyone for such a good evening – for passionate promoting – and the not so passionate (did two of us really bring books with the proviso ‘I can’t really recommend this…’?!!) So here are our recommendations – mostly loved bboks, with a couple of challenging reads!

At the Loch on the Green Corrie – Andrew Craig. Poetic, touching, thought-provoking…

This fragile tent – blog – where it was found recommended and offers a great read in itself.

23 things they didn’t tell you about Capitalism – Ha-Joon Chang. Not easy – but interesting!

A man called Ove – Fredrik Backman. Quirky, Swedish humour about a grumpy old man. Fun!

The labyrinth of Osiris – Paul Sussman. Complex drama set in Jerusalem and Luxor. Compelling!

Do no harm. Stories of life, death and brain surgery – Henry Marsh. Moving and inspiring…

Flatland – Edwin A Abbott. Quirky, funny, brilliant novel set in 2 dimensions. Plato would love it!

Rock the shack – the architecture of cabins, cocoons and hideouts. A coffee table book. Beautiful.

Head on – Ian Botham’s autobiography. Amusing and insightful.

The hen who dreamed she could fly – Sun-Mi Hwang. Touching, unusual… the tale of ‘Sprout’.

From wild man to wise man – Richard Rohr. We love Richard – but is defining what men are helpful?


Join us in enjoying feeding mind and soul… We’re all starting to read bits of Brian McClaren’s We make the road by walking. We’ll post how we get on with that in due course

Opening our sails to the Spirit

Opening our sail to the wind

This morning we met after a pretty stormy few days with a bit of a biting wind which had, mercifully, died down to something more acceptable!

I had stumbled across a very interesting website – www.seekerschurch.org – which led to our focus at the start of this new year (This was our first bandstand gathering of the year). The following is adapted from their liturgy you can find there.

We began with this reflection:

I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam. It is possible, in deep space, to sail on solar wind. Light, be it particle or wave, has force: you rig a giant sail and go. The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff.   Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, First Perennial Classics, HarperPerennial, 1998, page 33

This put us in mind of our ‘patron saint’ Brendan, setting sail and going where the Spirit blew. This seemed highly relevant to us at the start of a new year, not knowing the way ahead, but wanting to go where we are led…


Leader:            The light of God fills all of Creation,

inviting us to shine like the dawn.

People:            We are called to be open,

                         to stretch ourselves out

                         with every movement of the Spirit.

Leader:            The light of God fills us with compassion,

inviting us to pray.

People:            We are called to follow Jesus,

                         to open ourselves to the force

                         of God’s love and justice and peace.

Leader:            The light of God fills every moment,

inviting us to reach out

beyond what we think we know or can do.

All:                    We are called to become the living Word,

                         filled with divine power and light

                         for the healing of the world.


We walked with questions reviewing the last year and thinking ahead to this one, before joining in this prayer of commitment:

Lord God, we come today to claim our relationship with you.

We pray for the commitment to grow together, sharing the gifts you give us with others here and in the wider world.

Forgive us for the hurts we have inflicted and help us forgive those who have hurt us.

Give us strength and discipline to nurture our relationship with you, to care for your creation, to foster justice

and to be in solidarity with those in need

We open ourselves to your light and guidance in this coming year.



We named those known to us and those in Nigeriaa, France and elsewhere who we wanted to be in solidarity with and included them in our sharing of bread and wine, saying:


Leader:   We gather as one body to celebrate God’s presence among us  united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once;

All:          Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,  sinner and forgiven; we make one circle of knowing, believing, rejoicing, being,  as God lights and     rests among us.

 The body of Christ, broken for us

 he blood of Christ, which makes us whole.


Finally, taking one of our banners – made of sail material, we spread our sail to the wind (which unhelpfully, momentarily died!) and used this benediction:

Leader:   So to 2015 as individuals, families and ThirdSpace

Let us open wide our spirits,

that together we are transformed into one broad sail,

propelled by the force of God’s love.

Reaching beyond what we now know,

to answer the call to be God’s light in this broken world.

In the company of God the creator, Jesus the Christ,

and the Holy Spirit shining within us,

All:          Amen.                          


To any readers who weren’t there – join us in stretching yourself wide and seeing where the Spirit blows you this year! Happy New Year!     

Christmas Day at the Bandstand

Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny, no sign of a white Christmas

We met together and celebrated this special morning

May we…

As the light begins to shift and a crack appears in heaven. As stars slide across the darkness and angels clear their throats. As an unborn agitates with the labouring of love

may we…

as incarnation moves from promise into life. As words of prophecy spill into every empty silence. As you, O Love, shift restlessly and begin to let go

may we…

as the world turns and the rumour goes unnoticed. As grandiose words are spoken yet never contain the word. As the longing and waiting and calling are missed

may we…

may we shift restlessly along with heaven at the breath-taking vulnerability of hope, speak justice into the silence of injustice, move towards those, others move away from, may we forgive in order to bring new life to the world, prepare to change as all of heaven changes now, live towards what is right and away from what is wrong.

May we pull on the hope of Advent live on the cusp of incarnation and proclaim with our lives the Good News of promise of hope in a messy world of Emmanuel…..

may we… may you make way for birth

for God with us!

(With thanks to abbotsford.org.uk)

Thinking about Christmas Day 100 years ago in the trenches during the First World War we listened to the music of Silent Night, praying for peace and echoing the words of the angels to the shepherds “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men”


Memorial to the First World War Anniversary. Hall Leys Park, Matlock


It is so cold.
The lines of this poem are sinking
Into the unforgiving mud. No clean sheet.

Dawn on a perishing day. The weapons freeze
In the hands of a flat back four.
The moon hangs in the air like a ball
Skied by a shivering keeper.
All these boys want to do today
Is shoot, and defend, and attack.

Light on a half-raised wave. The trench-faces
Lifted till you see their breath.
A ball flies in the air like a moon
Kicked through the morning mist.
All these boys want to have today
Is a generous amount of extra time.

No strict formations here, this morning;
No 4-4-2 or 3-5-1
No rules, really. Just a kickabout
With nothing to be won
Except respect. We all showed pictures,
I learned his baby’s name.

Now clear the lines of this poem
And let’s get on with the game.

No white penalty spot, this morning,
The players are all unknown.
You can see them in the graveyards
In teams of forgotten stone;
The nets are made of tangled wire,
No Man’s Land is the pitch,
A flare floodlights the moments
Between the dugouts and the ditch.

A hundred winters ago sky opened
To the sunshine of the sun
Shining on these teams of players
And the sounds of this innocent game.
All these boys want to hear today
Is the final whistle. Let them walk away.

It has been so cold. The lines
Of these poems will be found, written
In the unforgotten mud like a team sheet.
Remember them. Read them again.

© Ian McMillan for the Premier League and The Poetry Society


 Sharing bread and wine we used part of Steve’s Christmas Liturgy


It might not have been a white Christmas but here are some views of the park after Boxing Day snow


Band Stand in the Snow


WW1 memorial


Shadows in the Snow


Advent Fuddle

Like our friendship groups and our work places we had a pre Christmas Fuddle in the Band Stand

(Fuddle a Derbyshire term for bringing along something to share – usually food)

This involved each one of us bringing along something inspirational to share for the last Sunday at the Bandstand before Christmas, the last Sunday in Advent.

Advent Calendar

An Advent liturgy

For God to become a baby he had to
Squeeze himself into a small space
Confine himself into a fallible body
Restrict himself to humanity
Reduce himself to limited movements
Become weak and vulnerable
Rely on humans to take care of him
For Christ to become one of us
He had to be born like us
The light was hidden within the womb
The thirst quencher received refreshment from the breast of Mary
The bread of life had to learn how to eat
The one who holds us, first had to be held
The Lover was loved
The way had to learn to walk
The word had to learn to speak
The creator taught how to create
This is our GOD

James Hawes


We think of him as safe beneath the steeple,

Or cosy in a crib beside the font,refugee family

But he is with a million displaced people

On the long road of weariness and want.

For even as we sing our final carol

His family is up and on that road,

Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,

Glancing behind and shouldering their load.

Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower

Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,

The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,

And death squads spread their curse across the world.

But every Herod dies, and comes alone

To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.

From “Sounding of the Seasons” by Malcolm Guite published by Canterbury Press 2013

We reviewed our prayers written for 2014 and renewed prayers for those we know who are in need for 2015, writing them on labels and attaching them to a walking stick which hangs up at Holly House. These hang as a continual reminder to pray.

 The past prayers were symbolically offered up to God as we placed them in flames and watched the smoke rise.

May our prayers be like incense.


In the bleak mid-winter

In the bleak mid-winter come into the places of despair and ignite the flame of hope.

Come into places on Earth where the iron rod oppresses and bring release

Come into hearts of stone and bring healing and warmth

In the gentle fall of snow may wisdom fall upon wisdom

May our past, our present and our future join in the spiral dance of life

May our hearts and lives become home to your coming.

Be born in us a fresh each day, each year, each mid-winter

That we may be able to be with those in death and life

To bless all creation throughout its seasons

And be ourselves those who take up our cross in hope of new life

That the life of God may live in all, bless all, renew all for now and for eternity.



Busy Memorable Times

The month leading up to Christmas is busy time for all of us.


Christmas Pud
We all want some figgy pudding


So here are some of our Third Space memories


Fi talked about generosity


God’s generosity to us


God’s generosity to us abundant, gracious, extravagant, generous gift giving – pay it forward!






Making a prayer paper chain


Writing things that are inspirational, names, places, people on strips of paper we made a huge paper chain as a prayer activity. The paper chain later adorned Holly House for the Advent Meal.




The Advent Meal

Inviting extra guests who come to Soul Space to our community meal, we celebrated the season.


Origami fun challenged many of us


A smile of success

Jon brought along a challenge – making a origami stars.


We used Steve’s fabulous Christmas meal liturgy.


Colin from Clove Kitchen cooked up an a m a z i n g meal.



Success, but only with a little help from friends

Every Blessing to you all in 2015!

Beautiful unanswerable questions

CheeseBertolt Brecht asked the question “What happens to the hole when the cheese has gone?”
According to Einstein, the hole was formed and defined by the cheese around it and disappears when the cheese is eaten. Neils Bohr and quantum theory suggest that the hole may have existed since the beginning of the universe and that the cheese simply happened to form around it for a brief period of time and that the hole will continue to exist after the cheese has been eaten.



ThirdSpace looked at natural theology and the implications of quantum theory for our faith and are now lying down in a darkened room with cold compresses to sooth their fevered brows.
Martin Luther declared “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars”

We are all made of stardust


The Helix Nebula

The Helix Nebula

Be humble for youare made of earth
Be noble for you are made of stars
– Serbian Proverb

To quote John Polkinghorne “We are people of stardust.”








Quantum entanglement demonstrates that we are interconnected to the universe and its origin.
We are connected in deep and mysterious ways at both a sub-atomic and cosmic level.
The Universe is finely tuned for us and we are finely tuned for the Universe.
Our minds and consciousness have gone beyond anything required for everyday survival. We can comprehend the beauty, wonder and intelligibility of the universe.

Sometimes it is good to ask deep questions as Carl Sandburg suggests in “Under the Harvest Moon”
“Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions”

It is possible to infer from studying quantum theory that we are not random and that there is a beauty, order and elegance in the design of the Universe in which we live, which reflects the attributes of the one who made it. Strong indications exist that God created this Universe and fine tuned it for the specific purpose of creating and sustaining life. We have been given the capacity to be able to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the Universe and this is a wider human reality which goes beyond evolutionary biology.


Messier 78 Nebula

The Messier 78 Nebula

William Blake put it this way in “Auguries of innocence”
“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour”






Or to quote John Polkinghorne again “Something of lasting significance is glimpsed in the beauty of the natural world and the beauty of the fruits of human creativity”

Maybe Virginia Woolf was right, both in a wider physical and emotional sense when she wrote:
“I see you everywhere,
in the stars, in the river;
to me you’re everything that exists;
the reality of everything.”

Raphael Hefti & Agnieszka Polska at Nottingham Contemporary

ThirdSpace went on tour to the Nottingham Contemporary on Sunday. Good art allows us to make sense of the world, our place in it, how we feel about ourselves and our relationships to others.

Subtraction as AdditionRaphael Hefti finds beauty in materials and how they are transformed by industrial processes which he uses as an artistic medium.

Raphael made his “Subtraction as Addition” panels by repeatedly intensifying the anti-reflective layer on the glass he makes the invisible become visible. We view the world through many layers such as: physical, emotional, context, personal history and spirituality. Which layers influence our view of the world? Do we like the reflected view which contains the world and an image of ourselves within it or would we rather quickly pass on by?






Agnieszka Polska sees the archive as a living organism “alive and subject to incessant change”. She often explores this idea by creating imagined mythologies based on some true facts in order to explore how the past is integral to the way in which the present is constructed and understood. The video pieces are often slow and measured in order to create time for the viewer to think.
“The Garden” develops a mythology around a real artist who stopped making art in the 1970 in order to create a garden. Spiritual metaphors abound.
What would be contained within our own memory box, real or imagined? Each of us has a unique perspective of our shared experiences and relationship to God. How will we view our current experiences in 5 years time?

PolesThe title of Raphael’s “In Various Threaded Poles of Determinant Length Potentially Alerting their Determinacy” alludes to the possibility that the poles can continue to transform and influence their own future or at the very least bear the marks of the processes or circumstances which have brought them into existence. This artwork can be viewed at both a macro scale and a micro scale.



Pole DetailEach individual pole displays a history of beautiful marks which provide a narrative of how they were formed and transformed by the person who made them. Do our lives bear the marks of the forces which have shaped us and forged our existence? Do we recognise that each of us is beautiful and that together we are greater than the sum of each of our individual parts? Do the columns rise up, rain down or are they an artificial construct which is the equivalent of a “Tower of Babel” made by the hands of men?








PhotogramHefti produces photograms which are monumental in scale by using something which is very small, Lycopodium are flammable moss spores that combust when they are lit. Raphael has to work in the dark with the photosensitive paper which records the image, thus he can influence the direction of the artwork but it inherently contains a degree of unpredictability. As one material combusts it transforms another: in the same way our life experiences mark us, hopefully in positive ways. When we work on collaborative processes such as Soulspace, perhaps we can never be certain of the outcome but have the opportunity to explore new and intriguing possibilities?

3 Panels

The artwork “Into Deep” consists of three panels made of copper, zinc and aluminium which have been cast and the rate of cooling controlled in order to determine the size of the crystalline structure. Further milling and etching reveals the organic forms within each of the metal panels. The panels have undergone a shared common experience which has marked them beautifully in different ways, depending on their own inherent properties. We respond collectively with thanksgiving to God’s love which is poured out to each one of us, our own unique personal narrative reveals a different facet of God’s grace towards us.

Bread and WineThe simplicity of bread and water.

We bless you, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer,
which earth has given and human hands have made.
As we bring this bread to You,we offer:
our energies and creating;our relationships and achieving;
the sap of life rising;
the seeds of life flowering;
the resources of life acquiring;
the fun of life and enjoying;
the raw materials of life building;
the intelligence of life organising;
feelings of life communicating.

The bread of life

We pour out this wine and offer to You:

red wine to share

the woes of life outpouring;
the waning powers of life;
the diseases and disappointments;
the hurts and the handicaps;
failures caused by our stupidity or by circumstances beyond our control.
As grapes are crushed to make the wine,
so we offer all who are crushed by hunger or loneliness.

Take all this and transform it into the deep, rich wine of everlasting life.

The wine of transformation


A new place to share bread and wine. Nottingham Contemporary Coffee Bar





When the weather man says it’s raining

It was one of those wet mornings when we used the weather conditions to enhance our worship, just like the Celtic saint of old as they sat in their isolated places and saw God in the power of the elements.


Refreshed by the rain 


Lord God the source of all good things we pause in your presence and hold our day before you.  Still us, calm us, guide us as we enter this day

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

Pause and use your senses to listen, smell, see how the park feels on a wet morning.

(The sound of the bird song was beautiful this morning. The birds were obviously excited by the prospect of worms attracted to the surface of the soil by the rain. YUM!)


Leader – May Jesus the Son inspire you with new energies each day.

May you find his peace to give you rest each night.

May the rain symbolise the cleansing forgiveness of the Father

And the refreshment of the Holy Spirit pouring new strength into your being

So that today we may walk as Jesus through the world and carry the beauty of his



Puddles – look for a puddle and stand and study it for a few minutes

Puddles show similarities to us all:  Light, dark, surface and depths.

Look at the light reflected on the surface of the puddle. Even on the darkest days light shines on the puddle surface.

  • Thank Jesus that He is the Light of the World and that his Light can still shine in the darkest of places.

Look on the surface of the puddle – can you see you see your reflection?

  • Remember you can reflect the light and love of Jesus.
  • Think of ways you have been light in dark places.
  • Are there ways you could be light in a dark place now.

Look at the detritus at the bottom of the puddle

  • Pray for people we know who may be in a dark place because of illness, bereavement, circumstances or relationships.
  • Pray for those in the world who live in a dark place because of disease, strife, hunger, poverty and disasters.

Look again at the light reflected on the surface of the puddle

  • Pray for the Light of Christ to be in all the situations you have prayed for.
  • Pray that you may be the Light of Christ in the coming week.
  • Thank God for His Light in the darkness.
Stunning reflections

We shared bread and wine

 Closing prayer

Lord God the source of all good things may you shelter us wherever we go and whatever we do until we meet again.

May you guide us through challenges, protect us when in need and inspire us with your love.

May we acknowledge you in all the human goodness we will see and may you bring us back rejoicing to our place of rest this night.

Loving God, we now go into this day in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.