Saturday, 12 November 2011

Biblical horror

This gathering followed shortly after Halloween, or All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead, or any of the many other incarnations of a celebration at the end of October/Autumn. We met at Stephens house to share spooky stories around a lovely, cozy fireside, eat ghoulish treats and discuss horror in the bible (there's quite a lot). There was interesting discussion touching on some big topics, such as miracles and modern skepticism and the personal implications of taking a life in service of your country.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Greenbelt 2011

"Transcending Realms Divine"

This month Sub was even more exciting (483Kb) than usual, taking place at the Greenbelt Festival (455Kb). Around 150 people came to watch and participate in our gothic/metal communion. Although the main aim was to bring sub-cultures together to worship in unity, the underlying theme was one of moving from an impure earth to a heavenly home-on-earth. The idea of thin places inspired the thought that a spiritual veil separating us from heaven would be made thin by our worship, allowing us to step through and into a holy place, right in the same room. We used the metaphor of a toxic monk - a spiritual being wearing a gas mask to protect it from the earthly toxicity (much like a plague doctor of olden times). Even the congregation wore (paper) masks until the sacrifice Jesus made at Golgotha was re-told, cleansing the atmosphere and making it safe to remove our masks, bringing us one step closer to heaven.

We then held communion, which used a more literal visual aesthetic to make the act we were participating in more real. Don’t worry, we didn’t use actual blood, but we did put wine into a blood bag over the ‘body’ of Jesus (covered in white cloths, as if ready to be operated on). Our minister, Al, was dressed in lab coat and gloves, ready to perform the surgery, as he administered communion. Organ transplant boxes were used to transfer the sacraments (including wine in test tubes) to communion stations for people to come and receive.

We spent some time in reflection of this act and its meaning before coming to a final moment of joy in the holy presence. We handed out glow sticks to both represent a cultural light and to have some fun together. The service concluded with a blessing and one last song. I think for those experiencing it, there was a lot to take in, with lots of visual stimulus (from both images and film to the actions of performers interacting with congregation). However, it seems to have been well received and is a strong opening statement from this new group, given to Greenbelt about the possibilities of worship. Who knows what the future holds, whether Sub will return to Greenbelt and if so, in what guise. But on the strength of this reception, there is appetite for more. I have included a song and film list (49Kb) for those interested.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Manchester dérive

Psychogeography is an interesting idea thought up in the 1950's and could be decribed as "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape". Although it has morphed over time, it essentially revolves around the principle of a dérive (or drift) through a city to see it from a different perspective - taking an unusual route, finding links and themes not ordinarily seen and generally being inspired by an alternative look at that part of the city.

For this Sub, we will conduct a dérive through a part of Manchester city centre to find a new spiritual inspiration and wend our way to a public house for further reflection on that journey and also on the Sub presence at Greenbelt 2011. We will meet at 2pm by the cash machines inside Printworks (near Norwegian Blue).

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The dinner party

This month we returned to Sacred Trinity, to share food and drink together. Thanks to Effie for arranging a wonderful Greek Meze inspired lunch. It was a good time to relax together, share stories and thoughts, reflect on the past 6 months at Sub and eat cake :)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Surveillance, legacy, memento mori

We met at Manchester Art Gallery and spent time with the Recorders exhibition, investigating the artworks and listening to Steve Reich (New York Counterpoint: Fast) in the Pulse Room. After these we went down to Studio 2 for drinks and biscuits over which to pull out many themes, such as surveillance, legacy and memento mori. You can read up on what we discussed here (46Kb).