Kintsugi Hope

St Michael’s is partnering with the charity Kintsugi Hope, to run Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Groups.

Please click here to find out about Kintsugi Hope Wellbeing Groups

Jean is part of our pastoral team here at St Michael’s. She co-ordinates these groups and is an ambassador for Kintsugi Hope. You can get in touch with Jean via our contact page.

Watch a 12 minute talk from Patrick Regan about finding Beauty in Brokenness

What is Kintsugi Hope?

“ We need to get rid of the idea that there are those people who need help and others that help people! We are all broken in some ways and  we can all learn from and help each other!”

The word Kintsugi is the name of the Japanese art form of mending broken pots with golden glue. Rather than using superglue so that the cracks are hidden , the gold makes a feature of the cracks and the item potentially becomes more beautiful …it certainly becomes more unique.

 This analogy can be used for us in our lives. By facing the cracks instead of trying to hide them we can discover treasure in our scars ,find beauty in our brokenness and a hope for the future! In that way we can begin the journey to become the people God intended us to be .

Kintsugi Hope was set up by Patrick Regan OBE and his wife Diane. After personally facing challenges he realised that what helped most was being able to be authentic and honest, sharing his struggles and realising he wasn’t alone. He set up the charity “Kintsugi Hope” not so much as a charity but as a movement where churches across the country could provide safe spaces for this to happen. A 12 week programme has been produced to be run with small groups to provide  safe and supportive spaces committed  to people’s wellbeing and working with an attitude of humility – not to judge, fix or rescue but to come alongside and love one another.

St Michaels was one of the first churches to be involved after running a pilot group  and  has been officially partnering with Kintsugi Hope since September 2019.

Mothering Sunday Message from Vicky

As I write the sun is shining – long may it last!

At this time of year, I love seeing the daffodils coming out (there’s a patch just outside our kitchen window) – the yellowness of them always brings such joy and hope of new life. This is also a time when we are looking forward to Mothering Sunday. Mothers’ Day comes with all sorts of emotions, so let’s take care of one another as we enjoy celebrations, as well as holding some of the difficult things. Let’s take the chance to celebrate all the women in our lives, both past and present; all that they are or have been, and how much of an amazing impact they have, and have had, on us and those around them.

The lovely daffodils also remind us that it’s not long until Easter. The Easter story is such good news for all of us. There are lots of religions out there, all describing different ways to reach God. The brilliant thing about Christianity is that God has already done the reaching, as he came to live among us in the person of Jesus. Jesus didn’t only come and live with us; he has shown that he is stronger than death itself by dying and coming alive again, which is what we celebrate at Easter. He did this so that we can get to know God for ourselves. If you don’t yet know God for yourself (or even if you do!), why not come and join in one of our Easter services and find out more? We have reflections on Good Friday and services and celebrations on Easter Sunday. All the details can be found here

As we continue to hear about all that is going on in Ukraine and Russia, it is sometimes hard to know what to pray. A good place to start is for ourselves not to give up.  We know God is with us, as well as with those facing violence and fear in Ukraine, so let’s pray for hope and for peace, and until that happens let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to bring strength not to give up.

It feels that, 2 years after our first lockdown, things are beginning to return to normalI hope this makes you feel glad, but for those of you for whom this makes you feel anxious, please be assured of our prayers.

God bless and love to you all

Lent Letter from Julie Hobbs

This year seems to be flying by – already we are seeing the first shoots of Spring and, in the shops, batter mixes and lemons prominently displayed to herald the coming of pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) on 1 March. The following day, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of Lent, a period of six weeks leading up to Easter.

In Lent, we focus on Jesus going into the desert to fast and pray before beginning his work for God. Jesus went through a desert experience and it’s something we are all familiar with in one way or another isn’t it? The physical desert is a barren, oppressive place, but the spiritual/emotional desert is pretty difficult to cope with too. The landscape of our interiors can have no flowing water, no colour, no fragrance, no softness or beauty, just barrenness and silence.

It’s easy to be disturbed by this. Who finds it easy to come faithfully to sit with emptiness and offer praise to God in this situation? It’s tempting to be scared and self-pitying, turning inward to lick our wounds. But there is hope, great hope. Jesus has been to the desert. He encountered temptations of evil, yet evil was unmasked and defeated by the absolute sovereignty of God. In all our own desert struggles, the desert can be the place of encounter, as it was for Jesus; to learn not only the deceptions of evil, but to experience the presence of God. Far from being a place of barrenness, the desert is discovered as the place of renewal and strength; the place where we can begin again. As we lean into and accept the stillness, then we are able to hear God’s gentle voice calling us to trust in His goodness.

My prayer for us all is that, when we find ourselves in the desert, we will be able to faithfully follow Jesus through it and, out of our experience, to bear great fruit. I am mindful of the words of Isaiah that bring me comfort and hope:             

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland”, Isaiah 43:19.

May God bless you and keep you in His love and care during the Holy season of Lent

A Letter from Vicky

Hello!


It’s Vicky here – I last wrote to you when I was the ‘new girl’ but I have been working as curate for seven months now. And what a crazy seven months they have been! We have had to cope with situations we never expected, and – while there are now glimpses of hope – things still remain uncertain. Hold on, friends, hold on. . Stories are great, aren’t they? They help us connect, understand one another, learn things and sometimes they are just fun. Your story includes all the things that make up who you are – all your experiences, your family and the people you’ve met. And your story is part of lots of other people’s stories too. There was a film made in 1965 called
‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ which tells the story of Jesus, from his birth to his ascension. As we approach Easter I am reminded that this is, in fact, the greatest story ever told. Jesus loves us, he came to earth to live with us, died and rose again so that we might have life, and have it to the full. Those of us who are regulars in church hear this so often we can forget how wonderful it really is, and maybe some of us haven’t heard the story at all – or at least not in a way that we can understand. In the run up to the joy and celebration of Easter, the season of Lent is a time to reflect and to think about the things that matter to us. So it’s a good time to think about the
story of Jesus again, or even for the first time.

There are some things that might help us with that, and in particular I’d like to recommend ‘God’s story; our story’ produced by the Church of England. There are daily reflections and prayers throughout Lent – one for each day– to help us think about God’s story, which began at creation. The key part of that story is his coming to the world in the person of Jesus. I wonder how might that story have an impact on our own story? The other thing to recommend is the Church of England’s ‘Daily Hope’ prayer line. Particularly if you are struggling with loneliness, this free phone-line can be used each day, for hymns, prayers and reflections, to remind us where our hope lies.
So while we can’t meet in person, please be assured of our prayers for you. There is hope, even if it doesn’t always feel like it, and it won’t stay this way for ever. Looking forward to the day when we can share this all in person, but in the meantime, I am grateful to be able to connect with you at least on paper.
God bless and love to you all
Revd Vicky Wicks
Curate – St Michael’s Church

Message from Tom

Last week my family (plus dog) went up to the ridge at the top of Stoke Park. It was the evening of 5 November and we were hopeful some people might set off some fireworks from their gardens. It was a wonderful view up there: a great sweep of East Bristol glistened yellow and red beneath the night sky.

And then the fireworks started. Dozens of displays, some miles away, popped and fizzled across the city, each one vying for our attention. It was a spectacular moment, a glimpse of something joyful and exuberant in this sobering time of lockdown.

As we stood and watched, I had a real sense of God’s love for Bristol, as if each firework was an expression of his blessing over every household. As if he was saying, ‘can you see – I love this home with an everlasting love, and this one, and this one, and this one – if only they knew’.

Why am I telling you all this? I hope it will serve as an encouragement that whatever our circumstances, God never turns his eyes away from us. I sometimes mistake difficult circumstances as evidence that he has forgotten me or turned away. But there are so many scriptures that say that this is simply not true. I love the verse in Isaiah 49.16, where God reassures his people Israel that he is always with them:

                ‘See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’.

When I want to remember something really important I write it on my hand, so it is there in front of me and the first thing I see. That’s the image here: God is saying to his people, ‘I don’t forget you and I won’t forget you’.

Your name is not written on a sticky note that will end up in the recycling or scribbled in biro that soon washes off. It is engraved on His palms, and there is nothing more permanent than an engraving. What a thought. You are always before him – in his sight, on his mind. Right now. And forever. I hope you find that idea as encouraging as I do. 

A couple of things we’d love you to know about. The Archbishops are calling the wider church to pray for our nation at this challenging time. Perhaps you would like to join us and them as we pray together?  Click here to download  a booklet of prayers to serve as a guide as we pray. I love the thought that millions of Christians across the world will be united in prayer over this time.

Finally, we are holding our annual gift day for resourcing our ministry and mission on Sunday 22 November. If you are interested in contributing towards this then you can find out more here

Be assured that you are regularly in our prayers, and we look forward to the time when we can see each other again face to face. In the meantime, whenever you see your name written down or hear it called out, you may want to remember that this precious name is also written on the palms of God’s hands!