Quartz Updates

These posts are a collection of news, information, and personal reflections. If you could like to contribute, please get in touch

Thought of the Day


Is holiness the preserve of white gowned angels singing a perfected concert of praise?

Or is that just an artists inpression intended to inspire you to seek out a very ordinary existence, but where things taste right and people are gentle with each other.


Brother Sun Sister Moon

A story of St Francis

Have you seen this film? I was introduced to it recently and thought it was beautiful in so many ways.

It is an artists impression of a life rather than a historians, but for more information about his life you could start here:

#SensingSpirituality Arts

Pancake party!

Mostly a chance to get together, but there will also be ways to artisticly respond to the season.

Please contact us if you need directions.

Forest Church Fresh Expressions

Forest Church Special

February Stargazing

We will gather as usual at 2pm on Sunday the 18th of February outside the Crichton Chapel to practice #SensingSpirituality

We will also have a spring special. Before the clocks change we will have an evening looking at the stars. Thanks to the hospitality of Ann Shuckman we will hold this at Elsieshields just outside Loch Maben.

People are invited to gather at 6.30 and acclimatise to the dark skies.

At 7pm Mark Toner will introduce us to what is going on in the night sky. If the weather is too cloudy and wet we have the technology to go indoors and show what is happening above the clouds using a projector!

We will take a break to reflect, and perhaps walk the illuminated labyrinth in the garden, then head indoors.

After the break Mark will use software to show what the sky would have looked like to the wise men/magi two thousand years ago, and which could have inspired their journey as recorded in Matthew. He will also help us discuss the ways in which religious authority has responded to practices like astrology and astronomy.

As usual, we will adapt to the weather. Please wear stout shoes and warm clothes. Torches, lanterns, and telescopes also encouraged – but please respect other peoples night vision.

There will be accessible activities indoors to compliment the activities which require walking over uneven surfaces in the dark – so plenty for everyone.

Directions to Elsieshields:

Elshieshields Tower DG11 1LY

We are situated a mile and a half outside Lochmaben on the north west side 

Our road  is called

Nethermill road and it starts by the

Mill Loch in Lochmaben.

If you’re coming from Dumfries when you get to Lochmaben on the A709  take the left turning opposite Crown Hotel. This road is signposted to Templand

Carry on through the town over a junction. In half a Mile you will see Nethermill road on your left. Turn down here ,

Carry on for a mile or so.

Entrance to Elshieshields Tower will be on your left. Drive up the bumpy drive and turn into the courtyard. You’ve arrived!

Fresh Expressions


The discovery of Genes has revolutionised the way in which the world is understood and changed using science. Have you heard of “Memes” though?

Pirate radio, being able to buy music on single you could play at home and share with your friends, disposable income at a young age, and a reasonable economy – these things shaped a generation. What will be the impact of the internet and smart phones?


  1. image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.”celebrity gossip and memes often originate on the site”
  2. element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.

Quartz has been exploring the potential and helping contribute Christian Memes to the “DNA” of the internet for many years now.

Here is some recent art that can be downloaded, shared, and generally used anywhere it will be of benefit. Flyers for the swipe generation?

What 30 second visual messages would you create?

Fresh Expressions Thought of the Day


This story might be familiar to you, but what happens if you read it imaginatively ?

Do you imagine yourself as the seed, the sower, or elsewhere in the farming environment?

The story can be found in the collection of books here:

What was the storyteller thinking of when the story was told, or the writer when it was recorded – or what is being revealed to you as you read it today?

#SensingSpirituality Lent

Quartz Lent

Throughout Lent the Quartz group will continue to meet every second week. We are taking time out to think about “Glimmers of Light in Daily Life”.

The next meetup will be on Monday the 29th of Jan. 7.30 at Simon and Kate’s.

We are exploring the theme of #SensingSpirituality in the run up to Easter. If our physical senses inform us about the world we can touch and taste, what senses do we have that can help us experience, explore, and describe all the more than physical experiences which make up being human?

We will also gather to prepare for Lent on shrove Tuesday/Pancake day in the evening, and meet on Easter Sunday on the beach to eat BBQ fish together and tell stories of resurrection.

#SensingSpirituality Thought of the Day


At Christmas we remembered the story of Jesus being born, fully man. Rooted in a particular place and time.

How many of us live in the place we grew up in, or continue the same occupation as our parents? Even if we do, how much of our everyday lives are spent connected with the soil and the living things which surround us. How much with words, news, tastes, customs, and ideas that are new and international?

Here is an insight into one persons experience of rediscovery.

  • The leaves of a tree live in a very different world to it’s roots, but without both how can a tree exist?
  • What does it mean to be rooted?

Here is more about the meaning of the word Pohaku

Arts Creative Worship Forest Church Fresh Expressions

Psalter of the Birds

Here is a discussion about a new book by Author Justin Coutts on YouTube:. The conversation ranges from poetry which was composed in late antiquity to current mysticism online.

So take a moment to slow down and recreate your mind.

It is described as a collection of historical poetry and other texts from Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. The poems have been arranged in such a way that they can be used for reading and for chanting.

Music and instructions for chanting are included. Psalter of the Birds also includes an introduction to the Celtic understanding of bird song as the sacred music of the angels as well as three chapters discussing the Triple Way of the Christian mystics and how it applies to the art of poetry. It is a practical book designed to be used by contemplatives and bards alike.

You can find the book to buy online here:
Forest Church

January Forest Church

21st of January 2024 2pm

Meet outside the Crichton Chapel, Dumfries

We meet outdoors and worship with the weather. Please dress accordingly! and bring a carry chair or anything else you need to make yourself comfortable. We will walk around the grounds of the estate, but save wilderness expeditions for special occasions. Physically, this gathering is a walk in the park.

The plan for the day


We will meet in Christs name as usual, inviting everyone whether they consider themselves to be a close friend or simply curious to join us in peace.


Vene Sancte Spiritus

Lyrics (as sung by Taizé)

Veni Sancte Spiritus (repeating chant).

Come, Holy Spirit, from heaven shine forth with your glorious light.
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Come, Father of the poor, come, generous Spirit, come, light of our hearts.
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, come breath of God; disperse the shadows over us, renew and strengthen your people.
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Most kindly warming light! Enter the inmost depths of our hearts, for we are faithful to you. Without your presence we have nothing worthy, nothing pure.
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

You are only comforter, Peace of the soul. In the heat you shade us; in our labor you refresh us, and in trouble you are our strength.
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

On all who put their trust in you and receive you in faith, shower all your gifts. Grant that they may grow in you and persevere to the end. Give them lasting joy!
     Veni Sancte Spiritus.

We will probably use the repeating chant as a foundation, taking it in turns to read the verses rather than sing them!

Reading from the bible

This week we will be sensitive to the wind.

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’

Reading from Creation

Please bring things to help you become aware of the wind. Kites, windmills, floaty scarves.

Learn to make a windmill here:

Time to respond

We will gather and discuss our experiences, and response to both the readings. Here are some questions that might help you reflect.

What did Jesus have to say about the Spirit and the Wind?

What does it feel like to be moved by an unseen force?

In what ways can we draw power from the wind?

How do we try to control our lives despite the wind?

Describe the presence of Jesus as experienced nowadays, and the experiences people have of the wind. How do they compare and contrast?


We go out today
Through a mighty strength:
God’s power to guide us,
God’s might to uphold us,
God’s eyes to watch over us;
God’s ear to hear us,
God’s word to give me speech,
God’s hand to guard us,
God’s way to lie before us,
God’s shield to shelter us,
God’s host to secure us.

As close as the air we breathe, as vital as oxygen.

Lorica, Patric, adapted.

Sharing refreshment

We will most likely head to the central café to share coffee and cake (or equivalent)


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