Christmas shopping and the January sales will bring many into Norwich this winter. In a time of financial crisis people will be looking for value for money while trying to stay within budget. It can be quite trying! For Christian shoppers there are other considerations, not least The Reason for the Season. How can we celebrate the Christ in Christmas with the cards and presents we give?
The Norwich Christian Resources Centre, in St. Michael at Plea Church on the corner of Redwell Street and Queen Street, is one place where you might find that special gift. While there take advantage of the in-house café. It’s an oasis where a shopper can relax and re-fuel. There are similar Christian cafes dotted around the city: at the Kings Church in King Street, the Salvation Army in St.Giles, the All Saints Centre in Westlegate (opposite John Lewis) and the ever popular Octagon at St. Peter Mancroft.
Wisdom in the Market Place is a striking picture on the way into the Octagon Cafe. It draws on Proverbs Chapter 1 where Holy Wisdom offers her wares – free to those who seek! The artist – Juliet Wimhurst – has imagined a motherly, much sought after, lady, next door to the Guildhall. In reality St. Peter Mancroft Church has set its stall out at the other end of the market.
Above the steamy warmth of the café, in the still prayerfulness of high arched church, a steady stream of people quietly come and go and light floods in through clerestory windows. Here the shop-weary can find sanctuary from retails restless rat race and allow themselves time to respond to Wisdom’s bumper bargain.