Seeing beyond the cover

  Newsletter 03 August 2021  

Dear Friends,

Welcome to November’s MeetPrayLove Newsletter

And so… Advent is upon us. The period of reflective waiting has arrived once again, more quickly than I was expecting it. And perhaps you find, as I do, that our Advent good intentions are rather easily undermined by the demands made on our patience.

As the pressure builds to get ready for Christmas it can be hard to keep looking for the good in those taking the last seat in the restaurant, our place in the queue or seat on the train. To help us keep some proper perspective, last year we asked people to share their thoughts on Christmas from the perspective of mid-summer on our on-line Advent Calendar. And by popular demand, it’s back again for 2014! A new ‘window’ opens each day to play you a short video thought and an instalment of our Angel Christmas story. Perhaps you could use one or two of our mid-summer perspectives as springboards for your own reflections, to share on our Facebook or in your small group.

Also on Facebook, you’ll find posts suggesting other ideas of marking Advent simply, or even “extremely”! And this year, we’ve launched our latest Upside Down Bible studies suitable for Advent, this time drawing their inspiration from the Welsh tradition of Plygain. Plygain is when people gather in their chapel on Christmas Eve to make music and wait for the dawn of Christmas morning. Hard copies are available free of charge by emailing me with your name and postal address. Just let me know how many copies you would like (any number up to 10 available free).

As we journey through this year, inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, we reflect this month on his ability not to judge a book by its cover:

“I have been surprised a great deal sometimes when I see somebody who looks less than ordinary, but when you talk to the person and he (or she) opens his mouth, he is something completely different.”

The former president used to say that even those people who kept him locked up for many years weren’t bad people. A statement from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory makes this point: “Mr Mandela was at pains to point out that not every prison warder or apartheid official was bad. This view was underpinned throughout [his imprisonment] by his assertion that to get along in life one should see the good in all people.”

tattiestampPractical Idea:

During the month, at as many points as possible, make a heart using a simple potato print method. It is meant to represent looking into another person’s heart; taking time to listen and understand for the good. Every time you do it think of a different person – why not try the person who queue-barged you, or pinched your parking spot?


  • Potato (a type called “Desire” make best prints)

  • Dish with water and lemon juice (helps preserve potato once you have carved it)

  • Paints – ready mix is fine

  • Brushes

  • Water in a jar

  • Plain or coloured paper to print on

  • String or ribbon

  • Hole punch


  • Cut potato in half (as straight as you can)

  • Mark design on it with a pencil

  • Carefully cut away parts you DON’T want – until you have your symbol (see image above)

  • If the potato is wet, dry it off

  • Choose your paint colours

  • Choose your paper

  • Paint the potato then press it onto your paper

  • If you want, you can overprint with other colours or shapes – experiment!

  • Punch a hole in one corner

  • Insert ribbon / string

  • Hang your image up to remind you of the person you’ve been thinking of


Others ideas:

Why not invite others to join the MeetPrayLove network and ensure that people who meet in small groups with the aim of supporting each other in changing our communities and world for the better are connected in our endeavours? Let’s look for the good in each other, other communities and the world – even the wicked, horrible, despicable person who takes the very last packet of crackers in the shop.

Instead of joining the crowds, why not donate to our featured ‘charity of the month.’ This month, take a look at the work of ‘Crisis’ – a charity that funds ‘Crisis at Christmas’ centres and provides year round services for homeless people.

All best wishes

Sally Robertson
MeetPrayLove Editor
MeetPrayLove is part of the Methodist Church and is open to all


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