A 'quick response' to the gospel in Hanley? (Simon Sutcliffe)

Tuesday, 18 October, 2011

Simon SutcliffeSimon Sutcliffe explores a 'quick response' to the gospel in Hanley.

As many of you will know from my previous blog, I now work part time with Venture FX (vfxhanley) and spend the other half of my week in Birmingham teaching at The Queen's Foundation. By cutting back on my time, I have been able to free up some financial resources which will help to develop the project further.

This now means (drum roll) that I have a companion on The Way. Ron Willoughby, employed for one day a week with vfxhanley, has always been on the edges of this project and I am thrilled that he is now at the heart of it. Ron has arrived at just the right time. Amongst other things, we are developing a small community - a group of people who for one reason or another either don't attend church, can't attend a church or don't want to attend a (particular) church, BUT, they are curious and sometimes compelled by this enigmatic first century Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth. So we are going to get together and see what happens.

Exciting times!

Some of that excitement is also down to a project I'm working on.

Have you ever heard of the Stations of the Cross?

Or geocaching?

And how about Quick Response (QR) codes?

Well, I got to thinking, what would happen if you combined all three? The result is the (digital) Stations of the Cross hidden in a city centre (Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent to be precise), that can only be accessed digitally.

This is how it works:

  • Around the city centre there are 14 QR codes hidden.
  • Each QR code leads to a password protected post on the vfxhanley blog - the password can be found with each QR code.
  • Each post has a picture (Station of the Cross), a short meditation and the co-ordinates of the next QR code.
  • The first blog page that introduces the idea will not be password protected but will have a QR code that can be made into postcards (left in shops with all the nightclub fliers, etc), put on church notices in the city and, hopefully, printed in the local newspaper.
  • The first blog post will be the beginning of the journey.
  • People will be invited to journey through a physical/digital pilgrimage centred around the Stations of the Cross.
  • Once you have found one and reflected on the Station, you use the co-ordinates to find the next.
  • You can do it in a day, or a take a few months.
  • You can either use a smartphone or a good old-fashioned map and compass.
  • When you’ve found one, you can leave a comment on the relevant Station blog post!
  • The idea is that other artists will want to contribute to the art that is on each blog page (please get in touch if you would; I've already had a couple of interested folk), and that people can either use their smartphones or take pictures and use a QR code reader when they get home (and then go off to find another on another day).

Watch this space to find out how it goes.

About the author: 

Simon Sutcliffe is a Methodist minister working as a pioneer mission leader for Venture FX in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The aim of Venture FX is to pioneer new Christian communities among 20- to 35-year-olds.


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