This Lent, the noticeboard at All Saints in Nettleham has been transformed into a place of creativity and welcome as it is covered with artwork, photos, prayers and poems – all of which have been produced as personal responses by members of the congregation and community through their Lent course on prayer.

This year’s Lent course has focussed on prayer, inspired by the idea of leaving words behind in the quest for contemplation, listening, and meditation. Each week there has been a theme to the imagery and prayers on the noticeboard and these have covered silence, contemplation, peace, joy, confidence and love. There are pictures of seascapes, tranquil countryside, flowers and birds, images of the church and a sunlit jump for joy, among others. All invite you to stop, look, connect and be fed.

Revd Judy Shaw, Assistant Priest and Teena Twelves, Curate at All Saints explain: “We are trying to find ways to 'interpret the Gospel' in a public way whilst our attendance at church is strictly limited on numbers or because of individual concerns about attending. We've had a phenomenal response to our themes and have been really moved by the depth and quality of the prayers and artworks that have emerged. We've some truly talented artists out there, clearly. “

The prayer focus would work well at any time of year, so if you would like to use the materials yourself at home, or with your own church community, please contact Judy or Teena via the All Saints Nettleham Facebook page.

 ‘Church in the Porch’ is always open and has become a space for all who pass-by to engage, turning the building inside out. Along with the Lenten art and craft images there are weekly family grab-bags, prayer cairns, ‘Lent in a Bag’ kits, prayer booklets and foodbank donation boxes alongside the usual church information and contact details. Church in the Porch silently shouts out ‘Welcome’, ‘We are open’, ‘This is your space’ and ‘Church is always here for you’.

 It’s been a year of signs, telling us what we can’t do, where we can’t go, what we must do to keep each other safe. Next time you are at your church building, maybe you could have a look at what is on your notice board. Could it be a ‘sign of joy’, a place of encouragement and blessing for others? We’d love to hear your stories and see your ‘Signs of Joy’ too!