The end of the year has crept upon us and as always I want to take a moment to share with you just some of the highlights of 2023. Often it’s too much to put everything into one place, to find all the pictures that can communicate all that God has done.
Let me begin by sharing or reminding you about what our theme was this year – Green Pastures. I came upon this because I felt quite clearly that God wanted to bring many of us out of a place of what was and into a new place of what could be. Sometimes discovering that takes a journey, sometimes it’s an ongoing journey. You can listen to the monthly nuggets I shared about this year here.
‘He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. Hi tracks take me to an oasis of peace near the quiet brook of bliss.’ Psalm 23:2 TPT
Just because we’ve reached the end of the year doesn’t mean that that journey has finished. The phrase ‘green pastures’ came about predominantly because of the word green. For many people green means new life, new opportunities, new grass, something different to encounter and a new journey to step out in. Pastures, because actually everywhere we go is place that will require work in sharing Jesus. It will need to be invested in, to be fed.
When I set the theme for this year I felt it was important to help others grow in who they are. To see the spaces that God can work in their lives and allow them opportunities to implement and be intentional with how they deepen their faith. Its a privilege to facilitate this to happen and see how God works.
9 Fabulous Christian dance workshops
In 2023 we had two homes for our Christian dance workshops. We began the year in Leverton Hall attached to St Peters Church Wrecclesham. This was a lovely space where some faces showed up and allowed us to grow in community. April saw us move outside at Frimley Lodge Park, since 2020 the peace that moving outside brings is immeasurable. It allows an awakening and strengthening of our conversations with God as we revel in his amazing creation.
In May we returned to the recently refurbished Weydon Christian Centre, that first session back we enjoyed blessing the space and welcoming the new things that were to come from it. It’s been a joy this year dancing with everyone that joined us at a workshop. Our first 2024 workshop is on the 3rd February book your space here.
1 Brilliant Christian dance weekend Going Deeper
It was the second time we returned to the Greenhouse Christian Centre in Bournemouth to deliver our Christian dance weekend. This time we went in May, a stunning time of year to go, the grounds were in bloom, the sun shone and there was much laughter and conversation. Our time on the beach provided a perfectly placed opportunity to move and declare God’s word, responding to the members of the public that asked questions as we did it.
In 2024 we have Dancing Free at Kings Park Conference Centre, Northampton. I can’t wait for it to get underway! Make sure you get on the list for release of all new dates here!
70 Reflective Prayer dance bites sessions
It’s hard to believe that something I began in 2020 as a little way to gather online for a few weeks has turned into a staple part of UC Grace and how it connects, grows and encounters others. We now have people joining from America and Europe. If you’ve not joined us at Prayer Dance Bites yet, we would love for you to come. It’s a 20-30 minute session that takes one Scripture, approaches it with some questions and reflections and then responds with movement. No prior experience is necessary, booking and more information is available here.
In 2023 there were 70 Prayer Dance Bites sessions!
Friends of UC Grace launched!
In August this year ‘Friends of UC Grace launched’. This is an opportunity to support the work of UC Grace as well as receive a little bit extra from me. This might be written resources, special workshops, or discounts on our resources. As you give a little to UC Grace, I give a little bit back to you.
Find out details about becoming a friend here.
Education and Community dance
For over 10 years I have been a visiting teacher and choreographer with a group at The Vyne Centre, Knaphill Woking. It’s a group that always astounds me, everyone is over 50, but most in their 70s. Their willingness to move and explore dance gives me hope that I will be as physically able as they are when I’m that age!
In 2023 I also began to represent Dance Woking in schools. It’s been lovely to get back into the environment of schools, I’ve delivered a dance day based on Plastics and Pollution, worked with a group of year 9 which resulted in a performance in Woking theatre and learned information on different dance styles. It’s bee fun bringing some variety into my teaching and choreography.
4 Opportunities to share dancing at Jubilee church
Jubilee Church has always been supportive of the work of UC Grace and in 2023 it’s a been a privilege to get more involved in sharing dance in the church more. Easter there was a multiage dance to ‘Greater Things’ by Phil Wickham (you can view it here). Regular chances to bring dance and movement to smallest people in church and allow them a chance to interact and express their worship.
In addition working their girls group we shared a dance at the annual church weekend away in lovely tie dyed t-shirts. We finished the year with another multiage dance to the song ‘Oh What a Glorious Night’ by Sidewalk Prophets. Performed at the carol service surround by trees and lights expressing what the angels said.
Not to mention…
Connecting with other dance ministries – Belma from Celebration of Dance in Canada, the Christian Dance Fellowship of Britain and the International Christian Dance Fellowship.
Delivering training and mentoring online and in person including developing a team for Dancing Free 2024, helping Dee realise how amazing she is at leading, encouraging Lizzie in the choreography and leadership skills. Giving space and opportunity for others to learn and grown on their journey of faith (Lent, prayer and prep session, Advent Dance Resources). You can find out more about mentoring opportunities with me here.
It’s been lovely to support organisations and people throughout the year, both through time and financially. With every UC Grace event we set aside money to support others – both in attending a UC Grace activity but also for organisations and places that equally support us. In 2023 some of those have included Jubilee Church, Greenhouse Christian Centre, CDFB, Dance weekend attendees, Purbeck Venture youth camp and ICDF.
This year I invested in some further training for myself and joined Stopgap dance company based in Farnham on an online course called Seedbed – inclusive dance teaching practice. It was a fabulous course aimed at showing ways that you can deepen your dance teaching skills to include others that may struggle to access your sessions normally. It was super useful!
Join us in 2024
Events for 2024 have now been uploaded to the website here and are available for booking. We kick off with Prayer Dance Bites on 2nd January, followed by the dance weekend 19th -21st January. There is then a Friends of UC Grace event 30th January (details of how to become a friend here). The first workshop at the beautiful Weydon Centre in Farnham will be Saturday 3rd February, book here.
Thank you for journeying with me and I look forward to all that will come in 2024!
Watch the Celebrating 2023 Video below!