Recycling at its best

Every once in a while I teach a seminar entitled “refreshment for preachers”, and one of the things I recommend is that every preacher who seeks to be creative must be inspired by the creativity of others. Whether they do that through theatre, film, novels or painting – it must be done. Seeking to follow my own advice, I am reading an intriguing book by  novelist Kirsten McKenzie : The Chapel at the edge of the world.

The book is a novel based around the inspiring story of a group of Italian prisoners of war who arrived on the tiny island of Lamb Holm, off Orkney, in 1942.  After some initial turbulence with their captors, they settled into their lives in this windswept place.  Eventually two Nissen huts were joined together and the prisoners set about converting them into a chapel. Using their considerable skills, and whatever materials they could find, they turned these ugly corrugated iron huts into a chapel of extraordinary beauty. The principal craftsman, Domenico Chiocchetti, even stayed on after the war was over to complete this work of devotion.  Today many visitors from Italy and around the world come to see this extraordinary building, where ordinary things have been transformed into a work of sacred beauty.

Image: treasured places


Looking at these images, I am reminded of Barbara Brown Taylor’s words: ‘Preaching is finally more than art or science. It is alchemy, in which tin becomes gold and yard rocks become diamonds under the influence of the Holy Spirit’.

Image: visitorkney

Preaching in adverse circumstances, or with meagre raw materials today?  Remember the little chapel at Lamb Holm…and pray for alchemy!