Monday, 5 June 2017

Closer by Jane Clamp

For a while now at our church, there has been an extension of a house-group into a monthly whole-church meeting called Closer. Encouragingly, it attracts a good number - folk eager to press in and experience God more deeply. Typically, members of the band play an extended time of worship while people pray, speak out God's words or simply stay quiet. In a corner, a few ladies paint beautiful works of art, which in turn add to the prophetic tone of the meeting.

Recently, I was invited to take part in a bigger Closer event, scheduled for the Spring Bank Holiday. The organisers wanted to offer a variety of creative opportunities, and they suggested I lead one on Creative Writing. I jumped at the chance, seeing it as a new way of engaging in worship after years of playing music; and I'm happy to report the afternoon a success.

I set up my table with a variety of objects to use as writing prompts. The attendees were mostly first-time writers, and I wanted their imaginations to be easily sparked. My first "customer" was a lady from another church and we fell into easy conversation, realising quickly that our life experiences were similar. From the other side of the hall came hoots of laughter as her friend tried her hand at throwing a pot on the potter's wheel, momentarily drowning out the worship music playing in the background. It sounded like healing laughter to me, later confirmed when I spoke to the lady. Even in fun creative pursuits, God is still at work.

We began to write together, me choosing an oval-shaped piece of card which I filled with words by circling into the middle. We read to each other, and again found connection as our words touched each other's hearts. More people joined our table as the afternoon wore on, some clearly nervous and feeling they didn't know where to start. I showed them some quotes I had found about writing, including this absolute cracker from William Wordsworth: Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. As each person let an object roll around their palm, the words began to come. One lady was holding a pretty semi-precious stone, commenting on how it made her feel and all the time declaring that she didn't know what to write down. I practically shoved a pen into her hand and urged her, "Quick! Just write everything you're saying!"

The afternoon was a reminder to me of how simple writing is, at its core. Its very simplicity is often the thing that allows God to speak into our hearts, and from our hearts to others'. If you've let yourself get a bit bogged down by it lately, why not make yourself a brew, pick up an object that catches your eye, and start writing?

Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show of BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She is Groups' Coordinator for ACW and runs Brecks, Fens and Pens, based in West Norfolk.


  1. Sounds like great fun - wish I could have been there!

  2. This sounds great Janey, and I've forwarded the link to our Worship Leader because he is focusing on creativity in worship at the moment. Your post is very timely! x

  3. Hello Jane. How are you?

    My name is Charles Ativie. I domicile in Lagos with my family. I’m a Christian writer. I just want to say that I appreciate this blog site and the good things you are doing through this blog towards raising competent Christian writers.
    I just wrote a book titled Heaven In Your Heart. I’ll like to reach a wider audience with this book through this blog site, if you’ll allow me. Heaven In Your Heart is about being able to unlock the door of joy and contentment within irrespective of life’s challenges and the circumstances we find ourselves. Heaven In Your Heart is an eye-opener and a most-read. I have no doubt this book will be a blessing to this community.
    If you’ll give me your e-mail address, I’ll send you a mock-up cover page of the book and some reviews plus a link that’ll re-direct people to the portal where they can download the soft-copy of the book. Thank you.
    Best regards.
    Charles Ativie

  4. Hello Jane. This is Charles Ativie. Sorry, I forgot to include an email add to the message I sent to you. You can reach me on

    Thank you.