Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming of Christ.
During Advent, two hand-crafted sculptures of Mary and Joseph, made in Uganda, are travelling on an 'Advent Journey' across the Diocese, stopping at churches in each deanery along the way.
The Story of the Sculptures
The two sculptures were carved by Peter Kasamba. Peter is a founding member of the Anglican Youth Fellowship Choir - known to many of us in the Diocese as the Uganda Fire Choir. He is a profession artist, musician and sculptor.
The sculptures began life as wood destined for the fire. As Peter began the process of carving the wood, he described how he had to work with it rather than forcing it to bend to his vision. As he carved he had to incorporate the faults and knots in the logs into the overall design, modifying what he had planned in response to the demands of the wood.
Mary and Joseph are carved with the features of a Ugandan tribesman; a reminder that, while we are all liable to remake Jesus in our own image, he is much more than that. He is the Messiah for all nations and all are made in the image of God.
In the sculpture depicting their journey, Peter has sought to capture something of the fatigue and challenge that Mary must have felt, both in the expression on her face and in the way Joseph is physically having to support her on the donkey.
The History of the Bristol-Uganda Link
The Link began in 1969 through the friendship of two people, the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Erica Sabiti, and the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Oliver Tomkins, whose son Stephen was then teaching in Uganda.