The Mighty Canary

It’s funny how slow activities can feel frivolous, indulgent even. I often think that about writing or preparing a service: some things need time to percolate. Perhaps that’s why I relate to #craftivism ‘the art of gentle protest’: https://craftivist-collective.com/.

 It is a form of activism that seeks to draw in those who may be quieter in nature, seeking a creative way of engaging with the politicized issue of the day, such as climate change. So it is, that I find myself in a pub in Sidmouth on a sunny afternoon in a time slot squeezed between school pick up and the start of the England v Germany match. A collection of women all chatting and sharing our eco-lifestyle tips whilst quietly practicing our particular form of activism alongside the football fans.

Did anybody seem remotely bothered – not at all.

Our self-conscious being often tries to steer us away from things that might make us look or feel different. Out in the sunshine, sipping our herbal tea and tonic water we fit right in. Why? Because we are being our authentic selves. Craftivism can be perceived as a middle-class leisure activity: I would counter that by offering the sincerity and strength of feeling I have witnessed amongst these groups. With picnic benches laden with the contents of an entire charity shop haberdashery aisle, ranging from yellow buttons meticulously sorted and sewn onto faded card, to balls of wool in varied (and sometimes dubious) shades of canary yellow, all spilling out of bulging cloth bags, waiting to be examined.

Everything is yellow for the latest #CanaryCraftivism project. I see plenty of action, but it is slow… thoughtful, purposeful, and unassuming. It seeks to engage on an individual level and will never force itself. I am reminded of another bird image, that of the Holy Spirit. The work of the spirit is as gentle as a ‘dove’ but that does not negate its power! The breeze catches my scruffy bun, blowing it yet more out of place and I look at the yellow scraps of felt in my hands:

Creator God
Use these hands-
to raise up my sister, the sea
raise up my brother, the land
let my life be an intentional devotion to you.
As I find you manifest in the sky,
radiant on the forest floor
and joyous in June’s rose-sweet winds-
teach me to advocate
for your planet.

May I abide in her,
as you abide in me.

If you would like to get involved in this project which runs until the end of August, do get in touch, whatever your level of crafting ability! From knitting to embroidery there is something for everyone and together we have a powerful voice. For more info email me at: minister@heavitree-pinhoe-urc.org and visit:

 https://craftivist-collective.com/blog/2021/06/canarycraftivists/ for free patterns and ideas of how to be a climate activist!

As we see the roses bloom and then fade, may we thank God for the changing of the seasons. With the dawning of each new day the possibility to connect with one another, our environment and the divine. Let us continue to pray unceasingly for the protection of our planet and consider what action we might take to reduce global warming.

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