A somewhat delayed blog post about my Jelly Church talk from Yellow Braces as I was off poorly last week (nothing to do with eating jelly I promise!)
So what is the Jelly Church anyway?
Well I was looking for a way to explain to a group of young people what being part of the church fels like and what church is like and I wanted a way to demonstrate that people who go to church ARE the church, are made of the same STUFF as the church and are in fact little pieces of the church out in the world. For some reason I thought about the way that Jelly Babies are made of jelly and the idea just popped in there: Why not make a Jelly church full of jelly babies?
The idea grew - Jelly church is a place which no matter what it looks like has a certain kind of feel. It needs a firm foundation (FAITH) and which is exciting and comforting. Jelly church is somewhere which lets the light shine through and the people of Jelly Church are open about their faith and their lives living with honesty and according to the the teachings of their church.
I got the young people to use some jelly babies to create their own image of what the church should be like and they were pretty creative!
The group we worked with seemed to engage well with the idea and the challenge of course is to be that little bit of the church in the world no matter what your personal shape of faith might be. We're not all the same (just like jelly babies) and the way we express our faith will not be the same but we can all do our part as long as we stay in touch with the church and other people of faith so that we continue to be energised. I managed to find some fabulous jelly baby shaped beads which we got the young people to write a message on for someone else in the group to remind them of their calling to be that little me-shaped piece of the church in the world.
In practical terms, I'm guessing you might be wondering how it was made!
After some initial trials, the final method ended up fairly simple. I got a
plastic garden trough and 13 packets of lemon jelly (yes - THIRTEEN!) You need to make it not long before you use the jelly church as the jelly babies do grow (something to do with sugar densities so I'm told by an eminent biologist called KT!). You make it in three basic stages.
Stage one: Melt 8 packets of lemon jelly and make up to 3.6 litres (which is less than the packet tells you - this is to make it more solid) and leave to set
Stage two: Melt the remaining 5 packets and make up to 1.25 litres and leave in a jug until cool but not set. Meanwhile poke some litte jelly baby head sized holes in the set jelly and insert the jelly babies HEAD FIRST until half set in to secure them. Be sure to leave one end (about a THIRD of the trough) clear of jelly babies. Then when the jelly in the jug is COLD pour it in and it should cover the feet of the jelly babies with about 3cm clear jelly above their feet. Leave to set.
Stage three: Now you need to construct your church. Loosen the jelly in the trough bu sitting it in a sink of warm water until it appears to come away from the sides easily. Then place a large wooden board on top and flip it over. remove the trough to reveal your now upright jelly babies in their church. Slice of the clear third and set aside. Now carefully cut DOWN and ACROSS to remove two thirds of the remaining of the top to create a tower and nave. Using the pieces you have taken off you can create a porch and even an apse or side aisles plus turrets for the tower.
Please note: Transporting the jelly pre construction can be nerve racking but the tray can be used as a lid to the trough to make it more secure from damage!