Church turns to earthly journeys

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The Independent Online
INSTEAD OF looking to the life beyond during Sunday's sermon, the congregation of Birmingham Cathedral could be forgiven for contemplating a more earthly journey.

The clergy has just unveiled its new vestments and instead of cherubim and seraphim, they are adorned with views of Spaghetti Junction. The designs form part of a pounds 12,000 scheme to replace the old robes and feature designs based on the history of the city.

One set incorporates traditional Birmingham landmarks on the stole - Spaghetti Junction, a Land Rover, views of the city's Jewellery Quarter, Sandwell Town Hall and the International Convention Centre. The altar fall shows one of Birmingham's many canals flowing around the Symphony Hall, the National Indoor Arena, Cadbury's World and the HP Sauce Factory.

The Ven John Barton, spokesman for St Philip's cathedral, said it was decided to create sets which would reflect the diversity of the city although he was initially rather cautious.

"But the more we showed them to people, the more convinced I was that we were doing the right thing."

The vestments were created by Southampton designer Yvonne Bell, who said traditional designs were "boring". One set was traditionally covered in angels.

"But I have done angels from all over the world including Africa, Asia and Sweden because that reflects the make-up of Birmingham more accurately," she said.

"The ideas just evolved from driving around Birmingham and having a look at the city. Then I found an aerial photograph of Spaghetti Junction which looked wonderful once I had removed all the cars and I decided to use that and it went on from there."