Purls of wisdom

Matilda George and Frankie Alexandrou outside St Andrew's Uniting Church

Matilda George and Frankie Alexandrou

The Uniting Church Chelsea parish is engaging its local community in conversations about climate change through a series of colourful yarn art installations.

The public displays are part of the 2015 Longbeach Storybook Yarn Art Trail, a community project involving local schools, community centres, nursing homes and churches.

Every October, yarn art is installed at various locations in the Chelsea and Frankston area to coincide with Seniors’ Month.

The Chelsea Parish, consisting of St Andrew’s, Carrum and Edithvale Uniting Churches, first became involved in the art trail in 2014. This year, the congregations have adopted an environmental theme with a focus on ‘a message of hope’.

Visitors to St Andrew’s Uniting Church will encounter a Noah’s Ark installation outside the church. Pairs of yarn animals are placed inside the ark while a rainbow, symbolising God’s promise of hope after the flood, overlooks the installation. In keeping with the theme, all yarn materials were donated or recycled from previous projects.

The visual exhibitions encourage passers-by to reflect on the environmental consequences of human-induced climate change. The Chelsea congregations have also run eco-theology bible studies, environmental ethics discussions with their new young adult group and climate change workshops with playgroup children.

Rev Clare Dawe, minister of the Chelsea parish, said the art installations are a collective effort and praised the hard work and passion of congregation members.

“I knew craft was a way to connect to people but I never realised how far this would go,” Ms Dawe said.

“We are blessed with talented people in this parish including a young girl who came up with the original design of Noah’s Ark and our yarn artist developed it.”

The ark design was developed by Jasmine Pole, one of the children of the parish. Elizabeth Alexandrou, a professional yarn artist and a member of the congregation, used her skills to transform the churches into evocative displays of art.  Ms Alexandrou, also coordinator of the project, ran yarn skills workshops for children, church and community members.

Many groups within the church community have contributed to the project, including playgroups, youth groups and UCAF members. The parish also worked closely with Cornish College, who are participating in the art trail for the first time this year.

The yarn art installations will be displayed outside St Andrew’s, Carrum and Edithvale Uniting Church until Advent.

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