From a jelly fish to a singing superstar – a wide variety of sources have influenced people’s journeys of faith, judging by their YouCube stories.
The Church in Wales sent 1,000 cubes out to parishioners across Wales ahead of its landmark conference this weekend, asking them to decorate them with items to show their stories of faith.
The completed YouCubes are now being sent in so that they can be used as part of the worship sessions at The Time Is Now conference, which is being held in Llandudno this weekend (November 21-22).
About 40 cubes were brought to a special service at Llandaff Cathedral on Sunday. The 2020 Vision service was held to focus on the Church’s strategy for growth as it prepares for its centenary in 2020 and to pray for the conference which is part of that strategy. It was organised by ordinands from St Michael’s College, Cardiff.
About 150 people came from churches across the Llandaff Diocese. Among the cubes was one from St David’s Church, Neath, which showed a photograph of one of its former choirgirls – the now internationally renowned singer, Katherine Jenkins. The photo was taken of her when she returned to the church last year to perform in a concert to raise money for its restoration appeal.
Canon Stephen Ryan, the Rector of Neath, said Katherine had inspired many of his parishioners. “Katherine is someone who is open and honest about her Christian faith and always remembers with great affection the time she spent as a chorister at St David’s. She comes back when she is home in Neath and finds it a great comfort. Her example inspires others to value their faith and also the people and places that helped lay those foundations. We may not all reach the lofty heights of fame but we can all help and support each other along our the way, wherever it leads.”
Another showed newspaper headlines which quoted a vicar who had been interviewed following a hit-and-run tragedy in Ely, Cardiff, two-years-ago. “Respond with love, not revenge” were the inspiring words of the Revd Jan Gould, vicar of Ely.
Others featured pictures and collages of parish community events, foodbanks, prayers and even a jellyfish.
The YouCubes have been developed at the St Giles’ RE and Faith Development Centre in Wrexham. They take seven themes from the life of Jesus – beginnings, growing, miracles/surprises, new beginnings, healing, farewells and resurrection/hopes for the future. Every person or group is asked to show how these themes are evident in their lives.
Organiser, Revd Mary Stallard, Chaplain of St Joseph’s Anglican and Catholic School, says, “Stories are at the heart of our faith. The themes of 2020 Vision invite us to look at our own faith stories: 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, can help us to do this. Collecting and sharing stories of faith, callings and growth can encourage and inspire us. The cubes 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.
“At the November conference in Llandudno, we hope to use the 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. 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.”