Michele is our “bag lady”. She painted the picture of our patchwork bag in response to a competition for a new logo for the Vineyard Community Centre.

Michelle says: “My mind went back to my time spent with young people in care. One of my strongest memories was of the children coming to our home with all their worldly belongings stuffed in black bin bags. It was heartbreaking to see that they weren’t valued enough to have their own bag to keep their things safe, dry & looked after.”

This rung a chord with us here at the Vineyard as we often receive people whose entire life’s possessions are stuffed into a bag.  It could be a prison issue bag, a holdall or a rucksack, a plastic bag or the simple black bin bag. Bags come in all shapes and sizes and they all have meaning. Michelle accompanied her drawing with these words:

“Bags of love… pack your bags, bag lady, rubbish bag, hand bag, man bag, bag boy, money bags, paper bag, plastic bag, time for tea bags, shopping bags and designer bags. Empty bags, school bags, party bags and punch bags. Bags for life. Leather bag, lunch bag, hoover bag, nappy bag, grocery bag, bin bag, bags of energy, beach bags, bags under your eyes, sleeping bags, make up bag, gift bag. I bag this bag… bags of love.”

Patchwork:a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into larger design. Bringing the old and the new together to make something stronger. Used to bring communities of people together to socialise and relax whilst making something practical and functional. Each piece is unique but part of something wonderful and strong.”

“I thought about bags as something that could help protect our things, and make carrying a load that little bit easier. I thought about a mother who has a bag full of plasters, wipes, tissues, pens, paper, medicine. The bag containing everything needed for cuts & scrapes to make you feel better, to help you on your way.

The patchwork bag represents the old and new coming together & working as a community; like a group of people who would gather to make a beautiful & useful patchwork quilt. The many different pieces of fabric represent the diversity of people stitched together to make community.”

Similar thoughts are expressed in the bible, using the body as an example of  a ‘patchwork.’ Here the body represents God’s people, individually and corporately intended to be a ‘patchwork bag’ containing Him.

God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. 

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. 1 Corinthians 12: 18-26

This is how a community should be, and this is what we pray for the Vineyard Community Centre.