Saturday, May 14, 2005


A simple, non techie means of creating a flame or flame effect, for a brief "talk spot" for the youth group tomorrow night...Maggi's experiences have convinced me that a last minute flash of brilliance is unlikely (though of course a literal "flash of brilliance" is almost exactly what I'm after) but I would be very glad of any ideas for some sort of visual focus. The plan is to take the kids through a guided visualisation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, including Peter's use of the Joel passage, give them time to reflect (in the dark, looking at the flames?) and then hope for a discussion or creative response to what God's dreams for the world and the Church might be. I know I ought to have planned this years ago, but I have procrastination down to the finest of arts, and still have a sermon or two to complete as well. Actually, "complete" is a euphemism. Make that "write". Which is of course why I am blogging. The sermon I should write, I do not write, while the blog I should avoid, I visit constantly. Who said that?


B1 said...

I don't have any ideas, but I did want to let you know that your last lines made me laugh out loud.

Gordon said...

I'm using a mpeg of some flames that someone found somewhere on the internet.

Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

If I were in a hurry, I'd look for an animation of a flame from somewhere online (I've seen them before, but don't have URLs handy). If I couldn't find a good animated flame online, I'd get a bunch of good images of flames like this one:

... using Google's advanced image search and I'd make a quick slide show of them (it's incredibly easy in Apple's iPhoto, but not hard in something like PowerPoint either) and project it on a wall, perhaps over the top of a line of candles and such of very different sizes, such that there were flickering flames arranged non-symmetrically. I don't know if that's too technological, but personally, knowing as little about chemistry and such as I do, I'd be far more inclined to do that indoors than to soak something in solution and light it ablaze.

Hope that helps!

Dave Rattigan said...

Yes, very nice paraphrase of Paul there at the end.

My suggestion is lighter fluid and one of those turbo water-pistols. Kind of a DIY flamethrower.

B1 said...

I searched the Internet a little bit for ideas and here is what I found:
Everyone wears red and you have red candles for everyone to light.

Or you have 7 red candles, or 12 for the apostles or 8 for the fruits of the spirit... name them as you light them. or fill the whole room with lit red candles. Or one place suggests a mix of red and orange candles grouped together. Someone suggested that tapered candles have more of a flame.

One place suggests getting a clear flat-bottomed red bowl and putting votive candles inside. Another place suggests using a clear red bowl filled with a little water for use with floating candles.

Someone suggested making "ice candles," which are "iced creations that hold a votive candle" or sometimes they are regular candles that use a technique that uses ice. Here are sites:,2019,DIY_13787_2370346,00.html or or (using water colored with red food coloring?) or or

A couple of places suggested using sparklers. is a site that talks about burning fuel on water. has ice-looking candles for sale. I just threw this in because they're neat-looking.

Humble Secretary said...

No ideas love, sorry. But I would happily send a certain someone right now and have him set light to and be a real live example.

Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest.

I am wondering whether the film projection might be a good idea - as sarah suggested. You could quite easily project something from a computer to a screen. That said, we have no idea what it might have looked like and a simple candle burning might give scope for imagination.

maggi said...

my further experiments show that: a small pumice soaked in meths does work, but doesn't last very long (About 5 mins)

a large size firelighter set in a flower-pot-saucer of sand, and surrounded by flat stones, will burn with a lovely, safe flame for about 15 minutes, but is a bit and produces a fair bit of smoke (might stain the ceiling?) If you are out of doors or in a doesn't-matter building, this one would be my top option, I think...

maggi said...

er.. that was supposed to say "is a bit smelly" (i.e. the lighter fluid)

Kathryn said...

You are all _wonderful_ and I love you dearly :-)
Clearly I will shortly need to ask for guidance about buying a laptop and projector...we don't currently do /any/ of these fantastic things in the backwoods of Charlton Kings, so I did laugh out loud at the (really truly kind and appreciated) suggestions about projecting images. Clearly techie-ness is entirely relative...I'll probably end up with candles though I had wondered about the firelighters on a barbecue or similar...we're in the parish centre, with fairly high ceiling but a good few smoke detectors. I do have a helpful techie friend here at the moment, so we may come up with something reasonable. Do wish I weren't so 11th hour, though.