Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The 3 Mothers


Our current exhibition The Divine Image continues until Friday 20 January, with an evening opening until 7.00pm on Thursday 19 January. Then the exhibition's themes of welcome and hospitality will continue as the 3 Mothers will visit St Stephen Walbrook from Monday 23 January – Friday 3 February. See the 3 Mothers here: Mon – Fri, 10.00am – 4.00pm (Weds 11.00am – 3.00pm).

In 2007 the Bishop of London commissioned Revd Regan O’Callaghan to paint a triptych on the theme of hospitality and the 3 Mothers was the result.

They were blessed by the Bishop and installed in the reception of Diocesan House, London where they resided for a few years. After this they have been on the move and have been installed in different places including the Jewish Museum London, St James’s Piccadilly, St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne and Lambeth Palace.

They are 35 cm x 40 cm each, painted in egg tempera, gold leaf on gesso with a dark wooden frame. This triptych written by Revd Regan O’Callaghan depicts three smiling women from the congregation of St John on Bethnal Green Church, seated around a table. The women reflect the diverse nature of the congregation at St John’s as well as the local East End community. Each woman is a wife, mother, and grandmother, a person of faith and a committed hard working member of their church, something the artist wanted to celebrate. The three women also symbolise in part the important role of women – particularly older women – in the Church of England. The opened hand of Mother Pearl is held out to greet the viewer to the table, a place of fellowship and hospitality while Mother Becky and Mother Miriam look on. What offering do you the viewer bring to the table? The stars on the table cloth symbolise the many descendants of Abraham. The colours the three women wear represent the Christian liturgical seasons and the gold leaf a belief in the ‘sainthood of all believers and divine light.’

The triptych is understood as a contemporary religious icon which functions to instruct the faithful, theologically, spiritually and liturgically. An icon is believed a portal into the heavenly realm where the eternal light of God permeates all things and where no shadow is cast. The 3 Mothers thus represent the divine spark within all of us.


Regan O'Callaghan will be leading an icon painting course starting January 2017. It will be held in the recently renovated Emmanuel Church West Hampstead. The class begins the 28th January 2017 and is for adults with any artistic ability or none! Cost is £250 with all materials included.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pink Floyd - Mother.

Discover & explore: Sir Christopher Wren (Architecture)



Yesterday's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, led by Revd Sally Muggeridge, explored architecture and the achievements of Sir Christopher Wren. The service featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Blessed is the man by Stainer, Cantate domino by Monteverdi, Locus iste by Bruckner and Nolo mortem peccatoris by Morley.

Next week's Discover & explore service is on Monday 23 January at 1.10pm when I, together with the Choral Scholars, will explore the theme of preaching through the teachings of the Puritan cleric, Thomas Watson.

Sally introduced yesterday's service by saying:

'It is perhaps understandable that buildings, and indeed cities, play a prominent role in the Bible. Indeed they play an important part in human development. Long before the industrial revolution, the invention of the internal combustion and jet engine, the motor car, the airplane and space travel building was the principal focus of man’s creativity. And not just two thousand years ago at the time of Jesus Christ, but right back in the book of Genesis we read ‘come let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly’. Even today a badly baked brick has no durability and strength. And buildings by their nature need careful planning, and must adhere to certain principles to ensure the safety of their occupants, and they must resist the extremes and variations of weather. So architecture, the planning and specification of buildings, is perhaps as old as man’s wish to build. But we also know we cannot look to any building, however majestic, for permanence. Buildings are by nature, like us, transitory, here today and gone tomorrow. In the search for true permanence and stability, in wishing to build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land, we must look to God.'

The Service included a bible reading from 1 Kings 6:

Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. The porch in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits in length, corresponding to the width of the house, and its depth along the front of the house was ten cubits. Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for building the house of God. The length in cubits, according to the old standard was sixty cubits, and the width twenty cubits. The width of the entrance was ten cubits and the sides of the entrance were five cubits on each side. And he measured the length of the nave, forty cubits, and the width, twenty cubits. And the house which King Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was three score cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.

and the following extract from the acceptance speech of Thom Mayne as winner of the PritzkerPrize for Architecture:

'Architecture is a way of seeing, thinking and questioning our world and our place in it. It requires a natural inquisitiveness, an openess in our observations, and a will to act in affirmation. Like life, it is evolutionary, adapting, transforming, growing out of, but not enslaved by an over-investment in history.

The City is the most profound creation of humanity, continuously changing, evolving, mysterious and therefore in important ways unknowable - in its lack of fixity; in the unthinkable number of its random interactions, exchanges, encounters… in the sheer magnitude of the variety of intelligences. Here rests the potential of a true creativity where serendipity and spontaneous combustion take place. Our cities are the location of continuous regeneration, places of infinite possibilities, demanding from us an attitude of expansiveness. Yet we seem to find ourselves in this twenty-first century, infused by fear, immobilised by the complexity of the realities that come with living in the present… the now ... insisting instead on seeing our diverse society through a simplistic lens ... resistive to reality, demanding uniformity in the face of diversity.

And the refuge, as it has always been within these cycles, is in nostalgia—a desire for an illusion of order, consistency and safety, qualities we last enjoyed in childhood. But this is temporary. I’ve felt the intoxication that happens when an entire generation decides to stop looking backward for its direction. One needs to look to artists to remind us that we are all moving forward, empowered and able. I’m chasing an architecture that engages and demands inquiry. Architecture is not passive, not decorative. It is essential, it affects us directly and profoundly—it has the potential to impact behaviour and the quality of our everyday life.'

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Locus iste - Anton Bruckner.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Christian Science Connection Within The British Modern Art Movement

My latest article for Artlyst is entitled 'The Christian Science Connection Within The British Modern Art Movement' and highlights the influence of Christian Science on the work of Paul Nash and Barbara Hepworth:

'Christian Science does not explain the work of Nash and Hepworth just as surely as their work does not illustrate Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Yet Christian Science and religion more broadly is a factor in their work and one, which if overlooked or disregarded, diminishes our understanding of and appreciation for their actual achievements. This is not the case simply for the religious beliefs of British Modernists, however, but also holds true whether it is, for example, the art of Rothko, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Thek, Serrano, Hirst, Ofili, Wallinger or de Waal that we are exploring.

Religion is a factor in the work of each of these artists; one which needs to be explored more than has often been the case in the past and which should be given substantive weight in understanding their work whilst also recognising that its significance does not exhaust the ways in which their work can be understood and appreciated.'

My other Artlyst articles are:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Switchfoot - When We Come Alive.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Spring Newsletter: St Stephen Walbrook


The latest newsletter from St Stephen Walbrook can be viewed by clicking here. This newsletter includes the following:
  • The Three Mothers
  • Discover & explore / Start:Stop
  • The Divine Image
  • A Grateful Heart
  • +plus
  • Advent, Carols & Christmas 2016 events
  • Lent & Easter
  • London Internet Church / Using St Stephen Walbrook / Music at St Stephen Walbrook
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Dunstable - Veni Creator Spiritus.

Christmas/Epiphany family-friendly session

Today we held our second family-friendly session at St Stephen Walbrook for families with young children.

Our theme was Christmas and Epiphany. We began with a star-themed Treasure Hunt exploring 'The Divine Image' exhibition and ending at our Crib. Then we enjoyed star-led craft activities including DIY constellation viewers and planispheres. Some lunch followed and we ended by telling the nativity and epiphany stories using our crib figures, singing 'Away in a manger' and praying the following prayer:

Loving Jesus, we come to you today because you came to us. God become human as a baby boy to share your love with us and know what our lives are like. We thank you for loving us enough to be one of us and we want to be one with you as a result. Amen.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anaïs Mitchell - Song of the Magi.

Windows on the world (327)


Colchester, 2016

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

George Harrison - Beware Of Darkness.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Subversion in the Cathedral?

My latest exhibition review for Church Times explores some of the reasons for the engagement with religious themes found in the work of Roger Hiorns, as well as paying particular attention to Untitled (a retrospective view of the pathway), 2016, his site-specific work with Birmingham Cathedral in June 2016, when the choir lay on the cathedral floor to sing evensong:

'Hiorns recognises that faith continues to have power and authority in many lives, and he seeks to explore and deconstruct aspects of this in his work. He does something similar in relation to the power of propulsion, symbolised by the jet engine. He has undertaken through his work a sustained assault on jet engines, adding to them brain matter and anti-depressants, having them prayed for by prayer groups, atomising them, mixing the engine with altar dust, and burying the aircraft that carried the engines. His aircraft pieces often become mementi mori for humanity: reminders of the ultimate end of us and our achievements, as in his final project for the Ikon Gallery, the burial of a Boeing 737 in Ladywood, Birmingham. Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.'

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ikon Gallery - Roger Hiorns Interview.