In Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent is a place called Bethesda Methodist Chapel. It has been being restored over several years now. I have visited to sing there in performances with our choir. The building has gone from a crumbling shell to a much more robust structure. It is currently still being restored. One thing I have noticed are the spectacular stained glass windows. Methodist chapels are usually plain and simple. The wooden pews are unadorned. But the glass windows make me smile. It’s just beautiful art.
When we sang at Bethesda Chapel last weekend this brilliant banner that my friend Kate had painted was on display hanging from the balcony.
The banner depicts an octopus, whale, fish, a ship and people. I meant to ask what it was meant to represent because I don’t think it was created for the Animal Apocalypse show, but it certainly was appropriate. It is painted in a lovely style, slightly abstracted. The colours matched in well with the colour scheme of the Chapel. Maybe it will be brought out again if we do another performance. X
I stole this photo from a friend because I forgot to take my phone with me to the performance of Animal Apocalypse at Bethesda Chapel this afternoon.
Imagine the stalls in the bottom of the photo full of between forty or fifty people plus ten or twenty more in the sides of the Chapel. There were twenty or more people in the choir, plus the narrator, our choir leaders, a cornet player and the organist and a person carrying signs to indicate what animals we were singing about in the performance.
We were ably supported by the friends of Bethesda Chapel who are volunteers who are helping to maintain it through its renovation.
We sang various songs about animals and whales and birds and listened to information about extinction and what we can do as ordinary people to try and prevent it, even if it’s just growing a patch of nettles for butterflies. Somewhere we must make a stand to save things. I think it was appreciated by the audience.
This statue stands behind the Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. I think it is Mary and the Baby Jesus. But what do the words painted on the building mean.
Mercia is the old name for the English Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent is in the North Midlands. Rain God? When you drive towards Stoke-on-Trent you realise it is higher than the surrounding area and rain clouds travelling over the Cheshire plain do sometimes dump their rain here… And Laughter? Maybe that’s about the place, the character of the people, or perhaps the writer was imagining the damp, wet people who had been rained on and was laughing at them. Who knows?