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'A refuge for refuse': Cornwall's Cross of Rubbish for the G7 summit

by Donna Birrell

Christians in St Ives are hoping a controversial depiction of the Cross will help start conversations around faith during this week's G7 summit.

Locals have decorated crosses in the area with rubbish to symbolise Christ taking away our sins and they're handing out leaflets to the thousands of visitors in the area.

Local preacher, William Thomas, tells Premier some people may be shocked at the image:

"The cross is a refuge for refuse. And Christians recognise that each of us have items of refuse in our lives. You know, the parts that we cannot dispose of like fear, anxiety, jealousy, unforgiveness, hatred, bitterness, selfishness, all these kinds of rubbish that turn our lives to waste. And so, as we look at the cross, the cross we normally look at is empty, because Christ has taken our rubbish - he has borne it, he has buried it forever."

The G7 comprises of the largest advanced economies and regards itself as a "community of values" and is meeting in Cornwall between 11th and 13th of June.

The leaders will set out to deliver on three key areas; COVID-19 pandemic recovery; tackling climate change; and prosperity through free and fair trade. 

William Thomas says the cross of rubbish will also symbolise the importance of tackling these issues:

"We all know the devastating worldwide impact of COVID-19 and inequality. We are also aware of climate change and the effect it's having on our world. Here on the coast, we feel the impact of rubbish and landfill washing up on our shores." 

Speaking to Premier, he says looking at a cross covered in rubbish is difficult:

"We struggled with this at first, the cross for us is a symbol of forgiveness, it's a symbol of hope. It's just a symbol of sacrifice of repentance, and to nail rubbish to it seemed to contradict all that we stood for. But it was a place of sacrifice."

Along with other local preachers and churches in St Ives and Carbis Bay, William hopes the Cross of Rubbish will encourage conversations about Christianity: 

"Real Hope is found at the Cross of Rubbish. This cross symbolises us being able to give our rubbish to Jesus, who lovingly takes away our unwanted burdens. He is like the ultimate dustman. In the place of our rubbish, He heals and restores to bring life in all its fullness. During this G7 year the church of Carbis Bay and St Ives would not only like people to experience the beauty of God's creation but also share in the new hope found in Jesus Christ."

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