Janet's 2020 vision comes to life

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 19 October 2020

A lovingly hand-crafted banner which illustrates the poignant story of Saddleworth's 2020 lockdown has taken pride of place in the parish church.

The colourful mosaic squares vividly capture the often painful thoughts and feelings of parishioners across the community at the beginning of the unfolding coronavirus drama in March.

It was the brainchild of Janet Iles from Kilngreen Church, Diggle, who suggested people make either a 20cm or 10cm decorated square which would be fashioned into a banner and circulated around all the team churches.

The Kilngreen All Stars theatre group and the Piecemakers, a community quilting and textile group from Delph, also joined the scheme.

Many of the squares depict intimate personal thoughts and feelings while others focus on the area’s beauty and the importance of gardens and green spaces.

In all, 42 enthusiasts took up the challenge and some sent comments to accompany their artwork which in turn have been turned into a booklet.

Said Janet: “I hope these words and images will serve as a memory of the unusual and unprecedented time we have lived through in 2020, and leave a lasting impression on all who see them.”

The Saddleworth team rector, Rev Canon Sharon Jones, said: “Living through Covid. Forty-two squares... Forty-two stories from across Saddleworth. 

“This is an historic banner to inform generations to come.

"Church congregations were invited to contribute their experience through words and pictures. 

“Painting, embroidery, knitting, tatting, poetry and appliqué; often emotional accounts of grief, the pain of separation.

"There were the restrictions and anxieties, mingled with the beauty of spring and the privilege of living somewhere beautiful. 

“The title of the banner ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God’, is an expression of hope and faith in challenging times, and of faith in God who comforts and strengthen us.”

And she praised Janet for “the idea and vision of the banner” and it’s construction.

Janet added: “I’m honoured and deeply touched we’ve created a memory that will last a lifetime and become part of the rich fabric of our community.

“The banner will make a tour of all the churches when restrictions allow and a booklet will be produced in a laminated form to adhere to the Covid requirements.” 

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