The Knitted Christmas Tree

20 December 2013

Knitted Christmas Tree
Here is a great "wet feet" story in which boundaries are crossed and friendships developed.

Liz Feely writes,

In the last 18 months the Craft and Fellowship Group from the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) in Monkstown have been developing their talents at knitting little people in order to create some of the characters for stories from the Bible. However, in the process, Joan, the group leader, came across an article about a knitted Christmas tree. So in the early spring of this year, eventually organised with a pattern, Joan and the ladies from COGS set about knitting green squares.

The folks from COGS had already over recent years, establish some links with Fr Martin Magill and the parish of St Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon; by attending events during the West Belfast Festival, as well as the recent Four Corner Prayer event and a joint retreat to Rostrevor. During a chance conversation at one of the more recent visits, Joan shared her hope of knitting a Christmas tree. Some of the ladies from St Oliver Plunkett's were excited by the project and asked if they could help by knitting squares. While Joan knew the size of the squares required, she admits she had no idea just how many squares would be actually needed. Not one to refuse such an offer of help, Joan was invited to attend Mass at St Oliver Plunkett's one Sunday to share her vision with the congregation of her goal, to produce not just one tree for COGS in Monkstown but to now make 2 trees, one for each church.

Over the summer months members from St Oliver Plunkett's and COGS Knit & Natter group made exchange visits; the squares, in forty shades of green, grew in number as did the lovely knitted decorations that would be needed to adorn both trees.

In recent weeks the timber structure for the trees was purchased and has been put together. In the last few days Joan's dream has come to life in the Heartspace of COGS, Monkstown; for there stands a 7' tree of knitted green squares and decorations and at the same time our friends in St Oliver Plunkett's are in the process of completing their tree, to be ready in good time as we enter our Advent celebrations.

This year we have seen some 'troubles' re-develop in areas of Belfast, however Joan and her merry band of 'knits' at COGS have discovered through our meetings together that in spite of our differences, our 2 parishes have much more in common

  • Both are situated in working class housing estates with defined paramilitary links
  • Our stories have revealed what can only be described as 'a mirror-like image' of each other's experience
  • We have lots to learn about each other and ourselves
  • Probably the most important thing is that we worship Jesus Christ as Lord

As we celebrate this Christmas season may the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be claimed by us all.

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