Diocese of Portsmouth

    Mosaic cross dedicated in churchyard

    3 April 2023

    CREATIVE villagers designed a mosaic cross that will stand in their churchyard after being unveiled on Palm Sunday.

    The Celtic-style mosaic cross outside St Mary’s Church, Brighstone, has been created using a wooden structure and coloured glass. A group of 20 or so residents worked on it inside the church for three months as part of a community art project.

    It was unveiled and dedicated by the Rev Jackie Maw, West Wight team rector, at a Palm Sunday event attended by more than 50 people. Jackie, who is a trained classical singer, sang ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' and prayed a prayer of dedication. Those who attended then enjoyed hot cross buns,

    Worshipper Ali Mascarenhas has led the Brighstone mosaic group that has been working on the project since January. The cross will stand in the busy churchyard for several weeks before being installed in the church’s side chapel.

    She said: “The churchyard at Brighstone is a thoroughfare for people walking through the village and we wanted people to have something to interact with. Various different parts of the cross tell different stories, so there is plenty to engage with.

    “We had a core group of around 20 people working on this. We did the work inside the church, so that visitors could see what we were doing and chat about it. And we wanted it to be ready by Palm Sunday, so that people could see it during Holy Week.

    “We’ll encourage people to take a stone and place it at the foot of the cross, as a symbol of their prayers.”

    The cross is dedicated by the Rev Jackie Maw, team rector of West Wight
    A close-up of the segment of the cross that shows the sea creatures
    You can see the reflection of St Mary’s Church in some of the coloured glass on the cross

    The cross is set in a circle, as a reminder of God’s endless love. At the centre of the cross is a dove, which symbolises peace and the Holy Spirit. The risen light of Jesus radiates from it.

    At the bottom of the cross are downs with sheep, reminding people of the Biblical references to Jesus as a shepherd and his followers as sheep. The ring around the cross depicts the sea and sky, recalling the importance of God as Creator.

    And there are four segments with other stories. One includes a rainbow, which is a sign of hope given to God’s people. Another includes puffins, which still inhabit the coastlines of some of Britain’s Celtic communities, but are declining because of over-fishing and climate change. That image was inspired by  David Attenborough’s current Wild Isles programme.

    Inspired by Wild Isles

    A third segment shows a boat and some sea creatures, as a tribute to the Irish sailor St Brendan. And a fourth includes otters, fish and eider ducks, as a tribute to St Cuthbert of Northumbria. He sought solitude and prayed at night on the beach. He took care of eider ducks and otters were said to have dried his feet.

    The Celtic mosaic cross complements the Olive Garden and Tree of Life mosaic that are already in the St Mary’s churchyard. They were dedicated to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last year, and provide a reflective space and a venue for quiet worship and prayer.

    St Mary the Virgin, Brighstone

    Main Road, Brighstone, PO30 4BB

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