Inspired by Creation postcards

The winning photographs from the Inspired by Creation 2010 competition, which asked people to share through a photograph or poem the place where they find inspiration and a connection with God, are now available as a pack of six postcards (see photos below).

The packs of postcards are available priced at £1.50 per pack, or £6.50 for 5 packs and £11.50 for 10 packs (includes postage and VAT).

Order online: Click here to order online (online orders are managed via by the Diocese of Oxford website).

Order by Post: Send a cheque, made payable to ‘Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance, to: Inspired by Creation Postcards, Environment Desk, Dept of Mission, Diocese of Oxford, North Hinksey, Oxford, OX2 0NB.

First prize – Anne Shaw with Sunrise at Port Meadow, Oxford

And the Inspired by Creation 2010 winners are…

The results

For the Inspired by Creation 2010 competition we asked you to share the place where you find inspiration and a connection with God. Many of you entered a photograph you had taken or poem you had written that captured your special place.

The competition ran during creation-tide in September 2010 and we had a great number of entries, giving the judges a difficult task selecting the three winners for each category. The judges included professional photographer KT Bruce, Canon Edmund Newell of Christ Church Cathedral, and the Rt Revd Alan Wilson the Bishop of Buckingham.

There could only be three winners for each category, and so without further a do here they are…

Photo category

First prize – Anne Shaw with Sunrise at Port Meadow, Oxford

First prize - Anne Shaw with Sunrise at Port Meadow, Oxford

First prize – Anne Shaw with Sunrise at Port Meadow, Oxford

Anne said of here photo: “At sunrise, in the quiet of the early dawn, I walk by the riverside and witness the glory of light after dark, in glorious shades of yellows, orange, pinks and reds. I catch my breath at the beauty. I am daily inspired by creation and I thank God for all these wonders as I am filled with peace.”

Second prize – Kate Evans with Barbed wire by the Thames

Second prize – Kate Evans with Barbed wire by the Thames

Second prize – Kate Evans with Barbed wire by the Thames

Kate said her, “…photograph of the barbed wire was taken in Oxfordshire by the Thames on a morning when there was a marvellous Hoare Frost in January 2010. It reminds me that something as vicious as barbed wire can be transformed into something beautiful through an act of God – how much more then might I be transformed?”

Third prize – Rob Cowper with Autumn seat at Danesfield (Marlow)

Third prize – Rob Cowper with Autumn seat at Danesfield (Marlow)

Third prize – Rob Cowper with Autumn seat at Danesfield (Marlow)

Rob said, “Whenever nature splashes us with colour it declares aloud the manifold splendour of the Lord. I always look forward to my quiet times in the gardens of Danesfield. For all its architectural magnificence the wild gardens to the side will captivate any visitor.

Commended entries

The judges also commended entries by Ian Peacock – Light of World, Gordon Cooper with Spriggs Alley and Iain Strachan – Leaves.

Poetry category

First prize – Cobweb, Morning Dew by Antonia Cretney

I am

the Maker

ripped in two

by the beauty I have born.

Lion, gazelle,

eagle, lamb,

spider, fly:

my heart beats for each hunter,

for each prey.

My will is life, but the way,

death.

O do not ask me why,

but love me as I die

and do not look away.

O stay.

© Antonia Cretney

Antonia explained that, “The place of inspiration was my garden and, as the title suggests, the sight of a spider catching her breakfast.”

Second prize – Garden Sunday at Gravelly Close, Radnage

Hot sun, cool breeze, green shade

and meditative silence

Held in an exuberance of bird song.

In this secluded corner of creation

Nothing stirs

No rustling in the hedges,

All is still.

Until the red kites fly in, dip and dart

In elegance arabesques;

high above them the restless travellers

sign off in vapour trails as they depart.

So many garden poems,

pastorals

rustic idylls,

innocence remembered.

Perhaps it must be so, we must all visit Eden as we may.

© Ena Jenkins

Ena explained she wrote it on Garden Sunday, which in Radnage, “… begins in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, continues with garden visits, refreshments, conversation. For me it ended here in my daughter’s garden (a large grassy area surrounded by trees and filled with bird song) in an hour of quiet reflection”

Third prize – Epiphany Snow by Claire Alcock

I had not thought it could be so white.

Ice white under frost white

Long shadows blue white.

The cold bite in a winter street,

Houses squat,

Stiff walls, safe as a knot.

The ground as a sheet

Unyielding,

Hard as a promise is to keep.

The everyday suspended.

Sitting in its place,

Silence, like a great white cat

Air thick with weight,

Pregnant.

Soon the anointing,

Trees to be dressed in it,

Blessed in it,

Caressed, as a mother

Did the child.

© Claire Alcock

Clare explained that she, “… wrote this after walking in the heavy snow in Shiplake, South Oxfordshire, at the beginning of Jan 2010. It was Epiphany and I wondered if the excessive snowfall, which disrupted schools and stopped all normal activity for a while, could be seen as a blessing or a gift in any way. It was so prodigious – it made me think of the generosity of God; but also soft and silent in falling, which brought to mind at that time the gentle love of Mary for the new born King, Jesus. So snow and Epiphany became strangely wedded in my mind.”

Commended entries

The judges also commended the following entries, which you can read in full here:

Inspired by Volcano Ash, by Iain Strachan

Down by the Sea, by Karen Brown

Creation, Sourced or Accidental, by Dorothy Stoddart-Watson

Poet at Prayer, by Margaret Moakes

Presence, by Clare Bryden

Thank you to everyone who entered – and to the competition supporters.

Supported by

Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Inspired by the places we dislike as well as like

With just over a week left to enter the Inspired by Creation competition (the deadline for entries is 30th September) we continue our series of reflections with another of the judges Ed Newell, the Sub-Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, sharing how he is inspired by creation.

Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Photo by TreetopMom on Flickr

Do you find yourself returning time and time again to a ‘special’ place? Over the years, I’ve been drawn back to a part of the north Devon coast. It’s there that I often go to think, reflect and pray. Looking out to sea speaks of the eternal. Standing on the cliff grounds me in my daily life. It’s a boundary, and a place where I sometimes feel closest to God. Seasonality and changes in the weather help as well. The sea’s changing moods might reflect my own or challenge me.

Yet there are also places where I feel spiritually alienated and uncomfortable. These are also important, because they have taught me to search for God in new and different ways. I find this most especially in drab towns and cities. Here, perhaps more than anywhere else, I’ve felt the importance of community, and of how small things – maybe a patch of wild flowers amongst rubble – can be uplifting. So place matters, and it’s good to experience places we dislike as well as like – and to search for God in both.

Canon Ed Newell, Sub-Dean of Christ Church Cathedral

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Inspired Wastwater – A favourite piece of holy ground

To mark Creation Tide we are running the Inspired by Creation competition. During September we have asked a few people to share their reflections. Here the Bishop of  Oxford – the Rt Rev John Pritchard shares his special place of inspiration.

When we asked Bishop John about where he was inspired by creation he immediately said Wastwater in the Lake District.

Photo: Wastwater – Lake District by +John

“Many people have a favourite piece of holy ground, somewhere where the veil between heaven and earth seems very thin. Mine is in the Lake District where you look down Wastwater to the great mountains of Yewbarrow, Great Gable and the flanks of Scafell Pike. This is where time stands still for me and I am put gently but firmly in my place before the beauty and scale of God.

The view of Wasdale is iconic. It’s often used by those who want to advertise or promote the Lake District, but for me it speaks of majesty, adventure, refreshment, innocence – a whole host of profound emotions tied up with some life-long values.

I’ve loved the Lake District all my life, since I went up there year after year from Blackpool, with friends and family. The excitement of the first glimpse we would get of these sleeping giants goes through me still: life was about to become infinitely richer, the colours sharper, the wind more bracing; everything was about to feel ‘right’.

Three of us once stayed in a National Trust cottage just here, from where this photo was taken. I could look at that view forever, watching the ever-changing play of light and shade, feeling deeply at one with every element before me. Indeed it wasn’t a scene to stick in the photo album; it was a place to ponder the vicissitudes of life, to ask big, unanswerable questions. It was a place to dream, to make resolutions, to imagine a better world. It was a gateway to something so beautiful you spoke in hushed tones; you almost wanted to cry.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God:

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;

The rest sit around it, and pluck blackberries.

I’m dying to get back to the Lake District sometime next year. It’s a place I ‘take off my shoes’. The mountains and lakes, the colours and sounds, the feel of the wind caressing or blasting my face – it’s all profoundly renewing. And it takes me under the surface of our personal and social superficiality and into the mystery of the God who ‘wrote’ nature before he ‘wrote’ the Bible.”

Bishop of Oxford – the Rt Rev John Pritchard

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Inspired seashore walk

We asked Oxford based photographer KT Bruce – who is one of the judges of the Inspired by Creation competition – to share a reflection about how she is inspired by creation.

“Each day the sun rises and the sun sets and it doesn’t wait for applause.

I love walking along the seashore and thinking about the world I live in and counting my blessings.

Nature is so calming and a good walk can often give you time to work out problems that have been troubling you and you feel God is not very far away.

The colours of nature inspire me to capture images which remind me of places which have very strong affection in my heart.”

KT Bruce

Where are you inspired by creation? For full details and to enter the competition visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Inspired garden

Inspired garden

Photo by mattfreer

This is the little patch of earth that inspires me – my garden. With the chickens pecking about, the vegetables growing, the sunflowers shining down, and the apples and pears leaning down from above, it is a place of abundance in the summer. It is a place of joy shared with family and friends – and yet is also where I can spend time alone. As the seasons roll-by the plants die back, leaving their seeds, which miraculously bring life in the following seasons. No where else have I been able to experience the mystery of resurrection in such a deep way. In short, working this patch of earth brings me a connection to our Creator I can struggle to find elsewhere.

So where are you inspired by creation?

Today we launch Inspired by Creation – a competition to mark the season of Creation Tide and opportunity for people to share the place where they find inspiration and a connection with God. You can enter the competition by sharing a photograph or a poem/prayer that captures your special place of inspiration. There are three prizes for each category, which include wireless energy monitors, books and hampers!

You’ve got until the 30th September to enter the competition – so get inspired and share your special place.

For full details and to enter visit: www.earthingfaith.org/inspired.

Tell your friends about the Inspired by Creation competition. Email them, Tweet and share on Facebook.

Promote the competition with posters and fliers – order here.

Get ready for Inspired by Creation

A little patch of earth. A quiet spot to reflect. A view that stops you in your tracks.

Where do you encounter God through creation?

During September the Diocese of Oxford will be running Inspired by Creation. A chance to share with others how creation inspires you.

Inspired by Creation will give you the opportunity to win prizes by entering a photograph and/or a poem/prayer that captures the place where you encounter God through creation.

Get a head start!

Whether it’s an image or words, they need to be original and taken/written by you, so you might want to get a head start and use the summer to get ready.

Register now by filling in the form here. Then use the summer to take a photograph or write a poem/prayer that is inspired by the place where you encounter God through creation. In September you will get a reminder to come back to the Earthing Faith website, when you will be able to enter your photograph and/or words into the competition.

Tell your friends

Tell your friends to get creative too. Email them, tweet and share on Facebook.

Include details of the competition in your newsletter – the flier can be downloaded here. For high res or paper copies of the flier contact us.

Get creative. Enjoy the summer. And get ready for Inspired by Creation!