Bishop Graham visits St Michael’s Workshop, Bowthorpe
9 December 2021
As a Patron of St Michael’s Workshop in Bowthorpe, Bishop Graham visited this remarkable place on Wednesday 8 December and was welcomed by Chair of Trustees, the Revd Mark Elvin.
The Bishop saw the wonderful work that is done by the adults with learning difficulties and physical disabilities in making items for customers of Godly Play. He witnessed sets of Bethlehem being oiled by Glen, wooden people of God being stained by Simon, and sets of animals being cut on the fretsaw by Johnny and Wayne. He also saw David painting in bronze, and Paul sanding. These finished items are sent around the world and the trainees are rightly very proud of what they do.
Bishop Graham also chatted to members of staff, including Bob the manager, who has skilfully steadied the ship through the pandemic. Bishop Graham took particular interest in the machinery used by skilled woodworker Tom, who demonstrated how the laser cutter works. He also met Mandy and Catherine, who are responsible for the trainees and their work. He heard from them how important the Workshop is to the trainees as a place of support. Mandy informed Graham that as a Godly Play storyteller she tells the Godly Play stories to the trainees so they can see their work in action.
“It was both a joy and a delight to pay an Advent visit to the St Michael’s Workshop at Bowthorpe in Norwich,” said Bishop Graham. “The workshop is a world leader in making items for Godly Play telling of Bible stories and it was fun to join in with making some of the wooden figures. The trainees live with Down Syndrome or learning difficulties and many have had a really tough time during Covid, with some not able to leave their accommodation. The Workshop is a place of joy and creativity, and I left feeling very blessed by being with them.”
Revd Mark said: “The Bishop’s visit was enjoyed by everyone and the trainees will talk about his visit for many months to come. His visit showed he values people who are often not valued by society.
“Ways you can support St Michael’s Workshop are: prayer for the trainees and staff, for steady sales of Godly Play items, and prayer for more trainees as some have had to retire.”