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Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Dance of Love

Here is my sermon from St Stephen Walbrook today:

Explaining the idea of the Trinity - three persons, one God - has always been a challenge to priests and preachers. The shamrock is one favourite illustration - three leaves, one stem - as is water - two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen forming one entity which can be a liquid, a solid and a gas.

My favourite image, though, is not of the form of the Trinity but of its dynamism and dynamic. That image is of a dance as the Greek word for the relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit - perichoresis - means ‘to dance around one another in relationship’ ('peri meaning around, and choreio to dance' - Touching the Sacred, Chris Thorpe and Jake Lever, Canterbury Press). As those who have danced with others regularly will know, dance partners interact “within a rhythm which remains the same but in a continuous variety of movements.” At its best, you have people totally in tune with one another for the period of that dance.

This is what the united relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is thought to be in the Christian faith and it means that at the very heart of God is a dynamic relationship in which a constant exchange of love is underway. It has been called it the dance of love.

At several points in John’s Gospel we hear Jesus speaking about his relationship with God the Father and with God the Holy Spirit. When he speaks in this way it is as though Jesus is pulling back the veil which prevents us from seeing God and giving us, thereby, a glimpse of God as Trinity. He says in John 16: 5-15 that God the Spirit takes what belongs to God the Son and declares it to us. All that belongs to God the Son, he says, also belongs to God the Father. So, all that Jesus has belongs equally to the Spirit and the Father. Therefore, we have a picture of God the Father giving to God the Son who gives to God the Holy Spirit who gives to us. What is being pictured is an exchange of love.

Stephen Verney, a former Bishop of Repton, has explored this idea in several of his books (The Dance of Love, Stephen Verney, Fount): “The Son can do nothing of himself”, he says, “but only what he sees the Father doing” (5. 19). That is one side of the equation (of this so-called equality) – the emptiness of the Son. He looks, and what he sees his Father doing, that he does; he listens, and what he hears his Father saying, that he says. The other side of the equation – of the choreography – is the generosity of the Father. “The Father loves the Son, and reveals to him everything which he is doing” (5. 20), and furthermore, he gives him authority to do “out of himself” all that the Father does, and can never cease to do because it flows “out of himself”. In that dance of love between them, says Jesus, “I and the Father are one.” The Son cries, “Abba! Father!” and the Father cries “my beloved Son”, and the love which leaps between them is Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God, God himself, for God is Spirit and God is Love.”

This is a relationship of love at the heart of the Godhead where love is constantly being shared and exchanged between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is out of this relationship of love that Jesus comes into our world to open up a way for us to participate in the relationship of love that is constantly being shared between Father, Son and Spirit.

That is the incredible truth that Jesus’ words reveal to us. The Spirit takes what belongs to Father, Son and Spirit and gives it to us. We are invited in to the relationship of love which exists in the Godhead. Verney says that the eternal dance of the Trinity in heaven is reflected in the creation and we are invited to join in. Our relationship with God means that we are always being invited to be drawn further into this constant, eternal exchange or dance of love. Jesus describes this when he says that he is in the Father and the Father in him. He then extends that same relationship to others too - I am in you and you are in me. To really know love, Christianity suggests, we must be drawn into the dance of love which Father, Son and Holy Spirit share and which is at the very heart of God.

We are familiar with the idea that God’s love for us is shown in Jesus’ sacrifice of himself for us by becoming human and then dying for us on the cross. We are less familiar with the idea that we can be part of the constant exchange of love in God of which we have been speaking and which Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice enables us to experience. If we live in God, we live in love and love lives in us. We become included in the constant exchange of love which exists in the Godhead and are, therefore, constantly loved no matter what else is going on in our lives. The dance of love is the glory in God’s heart, the pattern by which we are loved and the pattern by which we are called to live.

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Madeleine Peyroux - Dance Me To The End Of Love.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

New (and old) music

Bill Fay's 'beautifully hymnal fourth studio album' Who is the Sender? 'contains sublime, heartfelt ruminations on nature and the world.' With less light and shade than Life is People but with a more consistently meditative tone, With profound simplicity, like that of Chance in Being There, Fay mourns the inhumanity of our warlike impulses while prayerfully calling for a new world to be manifest.

Carrie and Lowell is a meditation on grief observed that channels the emotional honesty of C. S. Lewis' reflection on his time in the shadowlands. 'I saw intimacy pass by while going about it's business, like something sung and felt by Sufjan Stevens on his new beautiful solitary and rich record filled with faith and disbelief and the resurrection of trust and dreams.'

To mark the 50th anniversary of the freedom marches as well as the Staple Singers’ performance at the New Nazareth Church on Chicago’s South Side, their concert has been remastered and restored to its original setlist and runtime. Pops Staples, patriarch, bandleader and musical visionary, had written a song about the freedom marchers called ‘Freedom Highway’ which was debuted at this concert and which became the family’s biggest hit to that date, a pivotal record, connecting gospel music with the struggle for civil rights, that inched them toward the pop mainstream without sacrificing their gospel message for a secular audience.

'The Staple Singers have left an imprint of soulful voices, social activism, religious conviction and danceable “message music.”' 'Pops and the family were rooted in gospel, blues, and "message music" traditions. He sang about darkness, and he sang about light. He's done it again [on 'Somebody Was Watching' from Don't Lose This], and while the song's arrival might be belated by over 15 years, it's a total gift to hear one of the greats completely owning his lane.'

I'm also currently discovering the music of Krzysztof Penderecki: 'naturally vibrant, sensual and with a very personal sense of architecture': 'If you simplified the last 100 years of music as a war between the forces of the atonal and the lyrical, Penderecki would be on the front lines of battle. He found fame, around 1960, as a forward-thinking avant-gardist, but later defected to the other side, looking back at the Romantics and even Bach for inspiration ... Much of his music is not for the faint of heart. With its viscerally intense drama (even in his non-stage works), this music occupies a sound world that can often be described as terrifying.' 

'The St. Luke Passion, completed in 1966, was a breakthrough piece for Penderecki, proving he was much more than a trendy avant-gardist ... It was also a major religious statement at a time when, under Soviet rule, the church was officially frowned upon.' 'In his music, Penderecki has approached politics, religion, social injustice and the plight of the common man, both in general terms and by considering specific individuals and events.' 

Arun Rath writes: 'Penderecki is not Jewish — he's not a survivor — but he is Polish. Auschwitz is basically in his backyard. A devout Christian writing authentically liturgical music, Penderecki seems to be wrestling directly with the question of how you can make peace with God after such horrors.'

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The Staple Singers - Freedom Highway.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Update: Sophia Hub Seven Kings

Ros Southern writes:

'Hi there - news of interest to start-ups and others see below!

The City Business Library is coming to the enterprise club on Tuesday 28 April. An invaluable free resource for start-ups. Info here.

The Timebank skills swap was fabulous - see some videos, photos and comments here.

The Redbridge Chambers breakfast meeting is Tuesday morning at 7.30. You are welcome to attend - I'm going. Info here.

Advance notice of the Redbridge College business networking evening 20 May. Put it in your diary. Info here.

There are some office desks needing a home from the Treasurer of the Chambers. Oooh, could be lucky! Info here.

The enterprise club last week was deep and meaningful and we are thinking of organising a Redbridge wide meeting on sacred economics. Click here for more info.

The Work Redbridge self employment fair last week was very good and it was nice to meet and get more contacts. Hope to see some of you Tuesday.

Lastly, here's an interesting article on the rapid rise of the sharing economy - faster than Google, Facebook and Yahoo combined! Here's the link.

Best wishes,

Ros Southern, Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Seven Kings
M: 07707 460309 T: 0208 590 2568
ros.southern@sophiahubs.com
T: @sophiahubs7k FB: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings blog: https://sophiahubs7k.wordpress.com/
c/o St Johns Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, IG2 7BB'

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Woody Allen And His New Orleans Jazz Band - Hear Me Talkin' To Ya.

Windows on the world (339)


Yad Vashem, 2014

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Sufjan Stevens - Fourth Of July.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Consuming Christ

Here is my homily from the lunchtime Eucharist at which I presided today at St Lawrence Jewry (John 6. 52 - 59):

“We hear that you are all cannibals.” That statement comes from a document written in the late 2nd century A.D. called The Octavius of Minicius Felix which describes a debate between a Christian and a pagan at the Roman port of Ostia. The Early Church was fairly consistently accused of cannibalism. While this wasn’t an unusual accusation made against groups that were in some sense alien in the society of the time and therefore perceived as being a threat, we can also see how the celebration of the Eucharist - a meal in which Christians consume the body and blood of Christ – may have contributed to this accusation.

The idea that, through bread and wine, we consume the body and blood of Christ is, of course, central to the Eucharist and our faith. Much of that centrality derives from the association of this act with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ: “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11. 23 – 26)

However, we can also think of the significance of the Eucharist in terms of the benefits to our bodies of eating and drinking. When we consume food and drink it is broken down into simple molecules and carried around our bodies in order to provide the energy we need for life. In a similar way, Jesus is the food and drink – the bread of life and water of life – which gives us the energy we need to live the Christian life. Just as our bodies need a regular supply of food and drink, so we need to regularly consume Jesus - taking him into our lives through the Eucharist, bible study, prayer and social action – in order that we are fed by him and have all we need to live out the Christian life. May we feed fully on him today. Amen.

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Adrian Snell - The Last Supper.

still small voice: creating sacred space

My latest exhibition review for the Church Times is of still small voice at The Wilson in Cheltenham. The collection of British biblical art currently on show there 'begins with the Nazarene and Pre-Raphaelite styles of William Dobson and William Bell Scott, and continues, with Eric Gill as the bridge between Modernism and the earlier Arts and Crafts movement, through the inter-war period of the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War, the post-war era, and the later 20th century, into the early 21st century.'

Included is a stunning Craigie Aitchison piece: 'Completed just a year before his death, Body of Christ (Red Background) is an example of the spiritual depths of modern art, with its full-on expressive use of colour combined with the stripped-back minimalism of its imagery. Christ is the cross, the cross is the wound at the heart of the canvas, and this gash in the blood-red background is the point at which light enters the space ...

this is art that creates sacred space by taking you "somewhere beyond yourself and outside of your own little world".'

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Krzysztof Penderecki - St. Luke's Passion.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Tony Gant: evocations of landscape and distance



Tony Gant has been making his highly recognizable, glazed domestic stoneware since 1961. He was a student of the late Gwilym Thomas at Hammersmith School of Art and is a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association

Tony's pieces are made using Devon ball clays, which are used to create his own clay bodies. The glazes applied, which give the iconic blue, yellow, green and brown finishes, are made from basic raw materials. They are then fired in a gas kiln of Tony's own design, and cooled for two days.

The designs applied to his well balanced, taller vessels are simple, but evoke a sense of landscape and distance through the intersection of unglazed clay across the blue, yellow or brown glazes.

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Rosanne Cash - Wildwood Flower.

We are concerned with Christ and nothing else

‘“A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me” … I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy … So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’ (John 16:16 – 22)

Jesus was speaking about his crucifixion and resurrection. He was to be taken from his disciples through his death and burial. As a result they would no longer see him and would weep and mourn. But he then rose from death and was restored to them and their pain turned into joy. Jesus, and his presence with them, was central to their emotional state. When he was with them they rejoiced, when they no longer saw him they mourned. This reality speaks to us of a simple but profound central truth of Christianity; that it is all about Jesus.

In his song ‘Heart of Worship’, the worship leader Matt Redman encourages us to sing:

‘I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about you, it's all about you Jesus
I'm sorry Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about you, it's all about you Jesus.’

Redman may express this truth in a slightly clumsy and sentimental fashion but he is essentially making the same point that the German theologian, pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer made as he outlined his Christology: ‘Christianity for Bonhoeffer was not a religion, but a person, Jesus Christ, who made difficult demands of His followers.’ ‘Bonhoeffer states, “He did not go to the cross to ornament and embellish our life. If we wish to have him, then he demands the right to say something decisive about our entire life.” “Let no one,” adds Bonhoeffer, “think that we are concerned with our own cause, with a particular view of the world, a definite theology or even with the honour of the church. We are concerned with Christ and nothing else.”’ (https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/2008/11/bonhoeffer-a-christology-for-today.html)

We come together to hear Christ, Bonhoeffer says, but then he questions whether we have actually heard him. Today’s church, he suggests, ‘suffers from a divided loyalty to Christ and the world, and it has diluted our effectiveness.’

We know of the command for peace, Bonhoeffer says, and yet with the open eyes which are given to the church we see reality dominated by hate, enmity, and power: ‘It is as though all the powers of the world had conspired together against peace; money, business, the lust for power, indeed even love for the fatherland have been pressed into the service of hate. Hate of nations, hate of people against their own countrymen … Events are coming to a head more terribly than ever before - millions hungry, people with cruelly deferred and unfulfilled wishes, desperate men who have nothing to lose but their lives and will lose nothing in losing them - humiliated and degraded nations who cannot get over their shame - political extreme against political extreme, fanatic against fanatic, idol against idol, and behind it all a world which bristles with weapons as never before, a world which feverishly arms to guarantee peace through arming, a world whose idol has become the word security-a world without sacrifice, full of mistrust and suspicion, because past fears are still with it - a humanity which trembles at itself, a humanity which is not sure of itself and is ready at any time to lay violent hands on itself - how can one close one’s eyes at the fact that the demons themselves have taken over the rule of the world, that it is the powers of darkness who have here made an awful conspiracy and could break out at any moment?’

As a result, he states, Christ must become present to us in preaching and in the sacraments just as in being the crucified one he has made peace with God and with humanity. The crucified Christ is our peace. He alone exorcizes the idols and the demons. The world trembles only before the cross, not before us (https://winnowing.wordpress.com/the-church-is-dead-dietrich-bonhoeffer-1932/). Christ encounters us in our brother and sister, in the English, the French, the German . . . in those who seek, those who are hungry, those who wait, those who are in need, those who hope.

Every generation must decide what they must do with Christ. As Bonhoeffer notes, “Christ goes through the ages, questioned anew, misunderstood anew, and again and again put to death.” The church is only good insofar as when it “humbly confesses its sins, allows itself to be forgiven, and confesses its Lord. [It must] daily . . . receive the will of God from Christ anew. Therefore, Bonhoeffer admonishes the church to keep its gaze always on and only on the humbled Christ. To be concerned with Christ and nothing else.

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Matt Redman - Heart Of Worship.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Bridge: an East-West travelling art exhibition



The Bridge is an East-West travelling art exhibition organised and curated by CARAVAN, an inter-religious and intercultural peacebuilding NGO. It showcases the work of 47 premier contemporary visual artists from 15 countries. Each artist has submitted one original work (created specifically for the exhibition) addressing the theme. The Bridge is an unparalleled gathering of international artists focusing on what they hold in common through their cultures and creeds: Christian, Muslim and Jewish.

The Bridge serves as a common starting point on which to build, towards seeing the development of a world that inherently respects and honours cultural and religious diversity, living and working together in harmony.

The exhibition showcases the work of 47 visionary contemporary artists who focus on what they hold in common through their cultures and creeds, illustrating their ideas of how to build bridges between us all. The Bridge will be at St Martin-in-the-Fields from June 1 - July 31.

Find out more about the exhibition - http://www.oncaravan.org/#!2015-about-the-bridge/cl8n.

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Rickie Lee Jones - I Was There.

St John the Baptist Hoxton








Completed in 1826, St John the Baptist Hoxton is a Georgian church in the Classical style and is the only one built to the design of Francis Edwards, Sir John Soane's foremost pupil. The building is a large example of a Commissioners' church, retaining its floor plan intact as well as its galleries and its décor is notable, particularly for its spectacular painted ceiling. It was executed by the prominent architect Joseph Arthur Reeve in the early 20th century.

The urban landscape has been a source of fascination, inspiration and a recurring theme throughout the work of Caroline Nina Phillips. She contemplates what can be seen and the possibilities of what remains unseen. Phillips has loaned the church two of her paintings which have been installed on the east wall of the church. ‘Liminality’ evokes a light drawing us through the darkness of an urban landscape - making us think perhaps of the kingdom of God and the dawning brightness of Christ dispelling all darkness. ‘Occupy’, depicts St Paul’s Cathedral, but you can also make out the murky dome tents of the Occupy protest of 2011 - reminding us of the poor, the marginalised, and that Christ also ‘became flesh and pitched his tent among us’.

After two years studying with men from the Dorset limestone quarries, Mike Chapman opened his own studio in the summer of 1996 and in 2004 held his first solo exhibition at St Martins-in-the-Fields. His work is now in the collections of a number of institutions throughout the UK and in private collections both here and in America. His memorial at St John's Hoxton, located in the Garden of Remembrance, is a hand drawn monolith, carved in an enormous Welsh slate, weighing over a tonne. It marks the site where ashes are placed in the churchyard.

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Mumford and Sons - The Wolf.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Newsletter - St Stephen Walbrook

A copy of the latest newsletter from St Stephen Walbrook can be viewed by clicking here. Highlights include: 
  • Start:Stop – Start your day by stopping to reflect for 10 minutes. Every Tuesday morning there will be a rolling programme of work- based reflections at St Stephen Walbrook from 28th April onwards.
  • Discover & explore – Discover & explore is a service series of musical discovery exploring themes of beauty, faith, home, imagination, leisure, love and work with the Choral Scholars of St Martin- in-the-Fields and Revd Jonathan Evens.
  • Partnership development – Details of an exciting new partnership with St Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Music at St Stephen Walbrook – Details of the services and recitals at St Stephen's
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Olivier Messiaen - L'Ascension.

Start:Stop



Start your day by stopping to reflect for 10 minutes.

Every Tuesday morning there will be a rolling programme of work-based reflections at St Stephen Walbrook from 28th April onwards.

Every 15 minutes between 7.30am and 9.15am, a 10 minute session of reflection will begin. These sessions will include bible passages, meditations, music, prayers, readings and silence.

Drop in on your way into work to start your day by stopping to reflect for 10 minutes.

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Arvo Pärt - The Beatitudes.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Modern art in City churches



Death Mask of Jesus Christ by Enzo Plazzotta can be seen at St Mary Abchurch.

"Plazzotta was born in Mestre, near Venice and died aged sixty after having worked in London as a sculptor for more than half his life. He always maintained his links with Italy and had a studio at Pietrasanta in Tuscany from 1967.

He studied at the Accademia di Brera in Milan under Giacomo Manzù, among others. His studies were interrupted by World War II in which he became a Partisan leader near Lago Maggiore.

After the war Plazzotta took up sculpture again and following a commission from the Italian Committee of Liberation to commemorate their successful collaboration with the British Special Forces, he came to London to present the statuette personally to the Special Forces club. This proved to be a major turning point in his career as a sculptor for, liking the English and the freedom of political thought, he decided to make London his home.

He gradually established himself as a portrait sculptor but found this field rather limiting and preferred to experiment with his growing fascination for movement, developing techniques for conveying it in such diverse subjects as dance, horses and the human form.

There was also a stronger, more deeply expressive and less immediately appealing side to his work. Through his studies and adaptations of mythology and classical/Christian themes he was able to convey great power and emotion encompassing the frequent vain striving of mankind."

"In 1976 Plazzotta was knighted by the Italian government and was awarded the title of Cavaliere for his services to art. The artist died in 1981. His work can be seen today in several public spaces throughout London, such as the Barbican Centre, the College Gardens of Westminster Abbey and the Royal Opera House."

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Ben Harper - Picture of Jesus.

Parameter 2012 - Mark Francis


If you're visiting St Martin-in-the-Fields in the coming weeks, do pop down to the Dick Sheppard Chapel where we have just had a beautiful new piece of art installed above the entrance - Parameter 2012 by painter Mark Francis.

Over the past thirty years, Mark Francis has made paintings of singular optical intensity powerful, apparently abstract combinations of concentrated patterning that explore scientific data and imagery.

Recent paintings use a grid structure as a subtle, compositional device; this may explicitly allude to cartographic formations, sound graphs and astronomical diagrams.

Always acknowledging his interest in physical forces: the natural or man-­‐made trajectories of particles, matter, data orlight, Francis positions himself, and the viewer, amidst myriad ‘mapscapes’ of invisible spaces and networks.

“Parameter is one of a series of paintings created between 2011 and 2014. The main concern of this series revolves around the use of the grid in relation to different types of networks. Earlier paintings focused on more organic and fluid forms with more chaotic connections. The grid has been an important form throughout my painting practice as it presents a structure within which more ‘random’ incidents can occur. Amongst other influences, the internet, cartography, circuit boards and transport systems provide a stimulus to make the paintings.” Mark Francis

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Blondie - Picture This.

Beautiful scars

This is the first sermon that I have preached in the 10.00am service at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

Jesus said, “Look at my hands and feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see …” (Luke 24. 36 - 49)

I have a friend called Mandy whose arms are a web of scars from having self-harmed for fourteen years from the age of fourteen. At one point she needed 300 internal and external stitches. Her scars, as you can imagine, are so extensive that there is no way she can completely hide or cover them up. Now that she no longer self-harms, she is encouraged and helped by the realisation that Jesus also bears scars on his resurrected body.

When Jesus says to his disciples, “Look at my hands and feet … Touch me and see”, it is the scars (from the nails that were driven into his hands and feet while on the cross and the spear that was thrust into his side) that he is asking his disciples to look at and touch. These scars are part of Christ’s resurrected body.

Why was this important to Mandy? For her this was about identification. She and Jesus are similar because both bear scars. She need not feel different or unusual or excluded because the marks that mark her out as being different from many other people are also borne by Jesus. She feels at one with him, included and accepted by him, because he bears similar marks on his body to those she also bears.

She has expressed it like this: “Having Jesus in my life now has made me look at things in a very different light. You see, to be an anybody, anywhere is to look into the eyes of someone who matters to you and know that they don't care what or who you are, where you have been or what you have achieved. To be an anybody, anywhere is to look into those eyes and know that if you see love there, then you have earned it. Not for being a walking achievement or an interesting case or a social inspiration or a charity case, but just for being you. That is the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ; a loving and understanding heart. Not someone that is looking at what you did, instead he looks at what you will become. I have now found the best friendship and a sense of belonging and the love that I have always longed for. The mask that I had hidden behind for so long has now gone and I am no longer a label but a child of God.”

Roy McCloughry writes that Jesus “has taken up the marks of disability into himself” and that “his body, in showing how he suffered, offers solidarity with all who remain disabled.” Similarly, Nancy Eiesland says, “Resurrection is not about the negation or erasure of our disabled bodies in hopes of perfect images, untouched by physical disability; rather Christ’s resurrection offers hope that our nonconventional, and sometimes difficult, bodies participate fully in the imago Dei …”

In some ways this is a surprising realisation because we tend to think of resurrection as being our entry into whatever we imagine perfection to be; including, perhaps, the thought that supposed imperfections, like our scars, are healed and removed. The kind of state, perhaps, which was described in our reading from Acts where Peter stated that the man who had been healed had been given perfect health (Acts 3. 13 - 21).

That, however, would be to overlook the fact that this man, though healed at that moment, remained, as is each one of us, on a continuum between illness and wellness which will eventually end in his death. His healing did not remove him from the continuum of illness and wellness but simply placed him at a different point on it. That is reality for all of us, we are all on this same continuum whether or not we have some form of diagnosis through the medical profession, or not. The perfect health that Peter spoke about was an experience for that moment; it did not mean that this man would not later become unwell or grow old or at, some stage, die.

This realisation is, I think, of help to us in thinking about the resurrection as it calls into question of our ideas of the resurrection life and of what our resurrected bodies may be like. Reflecting on some of the reasons why Jesus’ risen body shows the scars of his crucifixion may help us to revise our ideas about resurrection.

Scars are about healing. The formation of a scar is a part of the healing process and where they remain on our bodies they are signs that significant healing has taken place. Christ’s resurrection is only achieved by way of the wounds he gained from the crucifixion. He is for us the risen Christ because he was firstly for us the crucified Christ. In a similar way our wounds inevitably form and shape us. We would not be who we are as we now are without having gone through or having endured those wounding experiences.

Jungian therapy suggests that it is only by being willing to face, consciously experience and go through our wounds that we will receive a blessing from them: ‘To go through our wound is to embrace, assent, and say “yes” to the mysteriously painful new place in ourselves where the wound is leading us. Going through our wound, we can allow ourselves to be re-created by the wound. Our wound is not a static entity, but rather a continually unfolding dynamic process that manifests, reveals and incarnates itself through us, which is to say that our wound is teaching us something about ourselves. Going through our wound means realizing we will never again be the same when we get to the other side of this initiatory process. Going through our wound is a genuine death experience, as our old self “dies” in the process, while a new, more expansive and empowered part of ourselves is potentially born’.

Scars are also about wounds. In Isaiah 53 we read: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering … and by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus saves us through his wounds. Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples at the last supper. Henri Nouwen, who is perhaps best known for applying Jungian thinking on the wounded healer to pastoral ministry, “interprets these acts as symbolising the way in which Jesus was taken by his father, blessed at his baptism, broken on the cross and then given to the world and that the same can be said of people (God’s beloved children according to Nouwen). This means that God reveals to people their chosenness and the blessing of being His beloved children; they are broken by life’s sorrows and the result of their brokenness is to be given to the world as a gift” (Philip Nolte).

This was Mandy’s experience as she shared her story with others and set up support groups which aimed to cut out the pain for those taking part. Mandy’s experience of acceptance in Christ in time led her to a place where she can talk openly about her experiences, particularly if by doing so she can help others cope with their traumas or move beyond the urge to self-harm. Those who are wounded often become wounded healers, with their experience of living with their wounds shaping their ministry to others facing similar experiences and circumstances.

Mandy’s wounds at one time were signs of harm but now are signs of care for others. That change seems to me to be a profoundly resurrection experience. What was once harmful and destructive in Mandy’s life has become life-giving for her and others. If that is so, how could our resurrection lives and bodies not include what is both formative and loving in us, of us and about us?

Steven Curtis Chapman and Madonna both have songs entitled ‘Beautiful Scars’ which between them sum up something of what I have been trying to say. Curtis Chapman sings of Jesus:

“Beautiful scars, Your beautiful scars
Reminders of the wounded love
That had carried us this far
Beautiful scars
Turning the marks of our pain
Into beautiful scars …

Our wounded Healer
Suffered to set us free”

Madonna asks:

“Take me with all of my beautiful scars …
I come to you with all my flaws
With all my beautiful scars …

Accept me, although I'm incomplete
My imperfections make me unique”

We are all wounded and scarred, that is reality for all of us, but the marks of our pain can be turned into beautiful scars if we view the wounds we bear as being embraced by Christ, as formative in our lives and as opportunities which create potential in us to minister in future to others. On Easter Day our Eucharistic Prayer included these words, ‘make our scars beautiful like your scars’. May it be so for each one of us. Amen.

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Steven Curtis Chapman - Beautiful Scars.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

ArtWay meditation: 'Word' by Maciej Hoffman

In my latest meditation for ArtWay I reflect on 'Word' by Maciej Hoffman where 'we can see many connections between breath, inspiration and words':

'Inspiration is free just as breathing is free. Such freedom is vital as, when breathing becomes constrained, death quickly follows. Hoffman believes deeply in artistic creation as the one real margin of freedom we can use.'

My other ArtWay meditations include work by Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, Christopher Clack, Marlene Dumas, Antoni Gaudi, Maurice Novarina, John Piper, and Henry Shelton.

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Sufjan Stevens - The Only Thing.

Windows on the world (338)


Acco, 2014

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Patti Smith - Amerigo.

Cotton to Gold

Cotton to Gold, which ends tomorrow, is the fourth exhibition in the hugely successful Winter Exhibition Programme at Two Temple Place.

The magnificent and eccentric mansion has been transformed into a casket for the exquisite treasures of an extraordinary group of Lancashire magnates. As the cotton mills boomed, bringing development and deprivation hand in hand, this group of prominent industrialists privately, and sometimes secretively, poured their wealth into some of the finest and most astonishing collections in the country. Exceedingly rare Roman coins, priceless medieval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass, Japanese prints, Byzantine icons, ivory sculptures and even preserved beetles and a Peruvian mummy.

For me, the highlights were the Books of Hours, the collection of icons, works by Blake, Hokusai, Millais and Turner.

As Claudia Pritchard notes in her review in The Independent:

'Religion was as much a driving force as mechanisation for some collectors, who engaged in posthumous philanthropy, perhaps storing up treasures in heaven by dispersing their treasures on earth. [Robert Edward] Hart, however, valued printed and handwritten books important to many faiths, demonstrating a perhaps unexpected religious inclusiveness and tolerance. So, as well as his Christian Book of Hours, with its jewel-like illuminations, the exhibition will include his precious copies of the Koran, a Jewish Torah scroll and other sacred texts. Hart’s own religious convictions were put into practice with the establishment of an orphanage in Blackburn that was the foundation of today’s Child Action Northwest, a charity caring for vulnerable children in the Blackburn area.'
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Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - Dreaming My Dreams.


Why the Bible is box office

The Guardian has a useful summary of twentieth century religious drama as a result of several new productions which suggest that the Bible is currently box office:

'Temple by Steve Waters opens next month at the Donmar Warehouse in London ...  a fictionalised version of the clash between clergy and anti-capitalist protesters during the occupation of the piazza outside St Paul’s in 2011-12.

And, last week, Temple Church in London became a temporary stage for performances of a new production by director James Dacre of Shakespeare’s King John, in which the English monarch faces inquisition and excommunication by a cardinal sent from Pope Innocent III ...

Two recent openings at the National Theatre – a revival of Shaw’s Man and Superman and Tom Stoppard’s new play The Hard Problem – feature debates, Shavian and neo-Shavian respectively, about the likelihood of God. And the West End has just staged a revival of Peter Barnes’s 1969 comedy The Ruling Class, with James McAvoy as an English aristocrat who shocks his Anglican, Tory family by announcing that he is the Risen Christ.'

It is also interesting to compare and contrast this article with a 2012 Guardian article claiming that, 'despite its roots in ritual, religion gets barely a look-in on stage these days.'

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Pops Staples - Somebody Was Watching.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Sophia Hub Seven Kings update

Ros Southern writes:

"Updates that you will hopefully find useful are as follows!

This week's Tuesday's enterprise club to help your business thrive is on 'sacred economics' led by Clive. Info here

Alternatively there is a Work Redbridge fair/workshops for people looking for support in self employment on the same day in Ilford Library. Info here.

Surjit discovers her yoga USP at Tahir's SWOT session at last week's enteprise. Read her guest blog here.

There's a great new Redbridge venue available for hire for workshops, meetings etc. Read about it here

The Timebank has a request from businesss man for help with reading plus other Timebank news. click here

Please do think about attending the skills swap on Friday 24th April 11-1.30. It's fun, a chance to learn and we want to widen the experience of this community event. Info/flyer on above link.

Have a good weekend,

Best wishes,

Ros Southern, Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Seven Kings
M: 07707 460309 T: 0208 590 2568
ros.southern@sophiahubs.com
T: @sophiahubs7k FB: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings blog: https://sophiahubs7k.wordpress.com/
c/o St Johns Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, IG2 7BB

Commemorating the founding of Samaritans




The Lord Mayor of London, Lady Mayoress, members of Chad Varah’s family, representatives of Samaritans and the Grocer’s Company all visited St Stephen Walbrook today for the unveiling of a memorial plaque commemorating the founding of the Samaritans. 

The Lord Mayor unveiled the memorial plaque and the Lady Mayoress cut the ribbon to re-open the Vestry following its restoration. The Grocers Company generously provided funding towards the memorial plaque and the restoration of the Vestry. 

In dedicating the plaque, I said:

Thanks to Chad Varah's vision, Samaritans now have 21,200 volunteers, 201 branches and receive around 5,100,000 calls for help per year. Samaritan volunteers are available round the clock to offer the unique emotional support service that he initiated.


Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has given us the Holy Spirit that we might live lives worthy of your great sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. We thank you for your interest in each one of us and your promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, remembering especially today all who need and use the services of the Samaritans. We fondly dedicate this special memorial plaque honouring Chad Varah and his work in starting and developing the Samaritans.  As we do so, we give thanks for his ministry at St Stephen Walbrook and for the unique emotional support service that he initiated through the Samaritans. Though he has left our midst, the memory of these ministries endures as a blessing to us and an inspiration to future generations. We pray in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Vasari Singers - Give Us This Day.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Bread for the Work: Living sacrifices


The weekly Bread for the World evening Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields is an opportunity for us to gather as a community to share together in prayer, music, word and reflection. At last night's service I was interviewed about my journey to St Martins and St Stephen Walbrook and about the partnership development role with both churches. My comments were made in relation to Romans 12. 1 - 8:

One of the reasons why I am here at St Martins in the partnership development role is because I have an interest in supporting people in living out their faith in their workplaces. In other words, doing what St Paul talks about in his letter to the church in Rome; offering the whole of your life to God as an act of worship, which includes your work whatever or wherever that may be, paid or voluntary. Or as Eugene Peterson puts it in his paraphrase of this passage: “Here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”

This was an important passage for me when I worked in the Civil Service for 18 years prior to ordination. What did it mean to offer the work that I was doing then – which involved seeking various ways to assist disabled people to find and keep jobs – to God as an act of worship? For me, it meant doing my work as well as I could – bringing all my experience, skills and understanding to the role – and doing my best for those I was seeking to assist – by offering as holistic a service as I could within the constraints of the role instead of going through the motions by doing the basics of the role but no more. I also explored opportunities to make connections between the work I was involved in and the social action that churches and other faith groups were engaged in. This led to a project which demonstrated the value to Jobcentre staff of engaging with their local faith communities and provided them with resources to enable that engagement to happen effectively.

When I was ordained this continued to be a focus of my ministry. So I have provided working people with weekly work-based reflections and prayers, written resources on being a Christian at work, led a network on Faiths in London’s Economy and have set up ESOL courses and social enterprise projects in parishes. As a result, when the shared partnership development role with St Martins and St Stephen Walbrook was advertised providing the opportunity to minister to working people in Central London and set up partnerships between churches and the organisations around them, it seemed too good an opportunity and too close a fit with my interests to overlook.

St Stephen Walbrook is in the heart of the City of London. It is the parish church for the London Mayor of London, as it is located just behind the Mansion House where the Lord Mayor lives. As with all the City churches, St Stephen Walbrook has a relationship with the Livery Companies – the trade associations and guilds - that have operated in the City of London in some cases since Medieval times. Walbrook, itself, is the street which runs between Bank Station and Cannon Street Station. As a result, every weekday morning and evening thousands of people working in the City pass by St Stephen Walbrook on their way to and from work. Like most City churches, St Stephen Walbrook has a ministry primarily to those who work in the City and this has generally involved lunchtime services and recitals plus special services linked to Livery Companies and businesses.

As part of the partnership between St Stephen and St Martin we are shortly going to add to this mix three new initiatives. The first we are calling Start:Stop because we hope it will enable working people to start their day by stopping to reflect for 10 minutes. St Stephen Walbrook will be open on Tuesdays from 7.30am and every 15 minutes up till 9.30am, we will begin 10 minutes of reflection using a bible reading, meditation, music, prayers and silence. In time, it may also be possible to make these reflections available online for working people who are unable to get to Walbrook. The second new service will bring the Choral Scholars of St Martins to St Stephen Walbrook and enable us to build a partnership with the Guildhall Art Gallery and the City of London Corporation while offering Christian reflection on key life issues. The Guildhall Art Gallery has recently rehung its collection thematically using themes such as Faith, Family, Work, Leisure and Imagination. Our new service on Monday lunchtimes will explore these same themes through music and liturgy. Our third new initiative has been to invite the Lord Mayor of London to St Stephen Walbrook at the end of his year in office to enable him to give thanks to God for the achievements of that year. This service of thanksgiving in November will focus on the themes of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal Charity which are creating wealth, giving time and supporting people.

In the longer term, we would also like to build a network of people able to offer support and consultancy services which could enable businesses to address issues of diversity, ethics, faith literacy, relationships, social enterprise, social responsibility and spirituality as they affect customers, employees and suppliers in workplaces and the markets.

We often think of worship as being about the services which are held in church but, when St Paul says offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is your true and proper worship, he is saying that what we do outside church in our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life is our real act of worship. Time spent gathered together as we are tonight should resource and re-energise us to live as Christian people in our homes, communities and workplaces, wherever those may be.

St Paul seems to be saying here that our natural inclination as human beings is to be focused on our own self interest. Our thinking needs to be transformed by our faith in order to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who was focused on the needs of others. It is when we are transformed by the renewal of our minds – so that we think and act, to some extent, in Christ-like ways – that we can then live lives, which through service of others, are an act of worship to God.

This has, I think, always been a key focus of St Martin-in-the-Fields as it helps people explore the Christian faith and the big issues of our times and involves people in caring deeply about building a more just and sustainable world. The new focus that is now being given to partnership development here - through the partnership with St Stephen Walbrook in particular, but also through many other existing partnerships - can provide an opportunity for St Martins and its’ people to share experience and resources with others but will also enable us to learn from the example and ideas of others so that our understanding and practice can also be challenged and changed. As we do so, we will be putting into practice other aspects of what St Paul says here about offering ourselves as living sacrifices. Being a living sacrifice means using our gifts and talents in God’s service but in such a way that we don’t end up thinking we are in some way better than others or better than other churches as a result.

As we reflect on what it means to be a living sacrifice, we can pray: Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my intellect, and use ev'ry pow'r as thou shalt choose. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee. Amen.

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Take O Take Me As I Am.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Towards a Politics for the Common Good

Towards a Politics for the Common Good was a Pre-Election Debate at St Martin-in-the-Fields tonight.

In the run-up to the General Election a panel of eminent parliamentarians from different political parties and denominations discussed their approaches to key election issues in the light of Christian social and ethical teaching. They explored how we can, as we exercise our democratic right to vote, best serve the Christian principles we believe in. Is it possible to see the issues of our time through a different lens? Can we work together to cultivate a politics for the common good?

Rather than a hustings, the guest parliamentarians responded to questions posed by theologians Dr Sam Wells (St Martin-in-the-Fields) and Dr Anna Rowlands (Durham University), and audience members from all political persuasions. The event was organised by St Martin-in-the-Fields in partnership with Together for the Common Good:

"We need the associations and collaborations of civil society" Sam Wells

"Local churches are witnesses on the ground in every local community" Anna Rowlands

"The common good in a human fallible society faces the challenge of agreeing on what that is and how to achieve it." Dominic Grieve

"How do we cope with choice when we can't always decide what the common good is?" Alistair Burt

"We are hooked on home ownership in this country - makes solving housing problem harder." Alistair Burt

"The biggest challenge to common good is hyper individualism and Christians should care passionately about this." David Lammy

"It's hard to achieve common good in a culture of bad faith and there is lots of bad faith at the moment." David Lammy

"If we assume bad faith - common ground, is hard to achieve." David Lammy

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Bill Fay - Order Of The Day.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The poet’s eloquently passionate struggle at the junction of doubt and devotion

Mary Karr says, "From a very early age, when I read a poem, it was as if the poet's burning taper touched some charred filament in my rib cage to set me alight."

"My idea of art is, you write something that makes people feel so strongly that they get some conviction about who they want to be or what they want to do. It’s morally useful not in a political way, but it makes your heart bigger; it’s emotionally and spiritually empowering.”

Like her prose, Karr’s poetry treats events from her past. Sinners Welcome, like the memoir Lit, includes meditative poems on Karr’s recovery from alcoholism and her new found, perhaps surprising, sense of faith. Reviewing the collection for the New York Times, David Kirby found in Karr a careful, tough religious poet: “Images rather than wishful abstractions abound,” Kirby noted. “So much trickery has been got up to in religion's name that it's natural to get nervous when a writer starts talking about salvation, but Karr never tries to substitute faith for sound poetic practices. If anything, by adding prayer, she just makes the poems that much stronger.”

"Like poetry, prayer often begins in torment, until the intensity of language forges a shape worthy of both labels: “true” and “beautiful.” (Only in my deepest prayers does language evaporate, and a wide and wordless silence takes over.)"

“Fans of the smart-mouthed hell-raiser need not fear. Karr brings the same unstinting truth-telling sensibility to her spiritual concerns as she has to her earthly struggles.” — Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer on Sinners Welcome

"Theology takes on a kind of earthy insight… As Karr knows, her endeavor is ages old. It may be that all lyric poetry aspires to prayer. What gives Sinners Welcome its sharp edge is the poet’s eloquently passionate struggle at the junction of doubt and devotion.”
— Judith Kitchen, Washington Post

"'I was not separated from people, grief and pity joined us.
We forget—I kept saying—that we are all children of the King.'

That’s why I pray and poetize: to be able to see my brothers and sisters despite my own (often petty) agonies, to partake of the majesty that’s every Judas’s birthright."

See: Descending Theology: Christ Human, Descending Theology: The Garden and Descending Theology: The Resurrection.

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Rosanne Cash - Sister O Sister.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Is There a Return of the Religious in Contemporary Art?

As well as significant series of posts on the engagement between Christianity and the Arts (see Airbrushed from Art History and Sabbatical Art Pilgrimage), this blog has tried to highlight places where discussion about faith and art has been occurring (see, for example, here, here, here, here and here).

A 2013 ArtMag article, as well as featuring some positive views, highlights some of the mindsets in the mainstream art world which continue to limit the engagement of faiths and arts:

Anselm Franke writes: 'There is an important movement of engaging with religious topics, but there is not a wave of religious or sacral art in contemporary art. That is an important difference ... The historical break with religion continues. We would not think of hanging something that someone prays to in a museum ... Faith is incompatible with art end even destroys the sovereignty of art and the kinds of experiences we are looking for when we frequent art spaces.'

Silvia Henke argues that 'Religious art is taboo! Religious art exists in churches, in historical museums, at most in museums for non-European art, or in the vicinity of mentally confused artists, but not in the white cubes of major art temples.'

While Beat Wyss suggests that 'artistic activity depends on the achievements of society, which I term the “four virtues of the art system”: 1) respect for the individual; 2) a valuing of work within society; 3) open practices in relation to exchange and trade; and 4) freedom of speech in the public realm.
If only one of these aspects is missing, then art is endangered or even rendered completely impossible. These societal achievements have evolved over centuries as the philosophy of Humanism developed into bourgeois economic ethics, the politics of legally constituted forms of democracy and onwards to colonial liberation movements.'

On this basis, modernism requires a complete break with religion because it is only humanism that can guarantee the freedom which art needs in order to genuinely be itself as opposed to dogmatic religiosity. 

Silvia Henke is constructive when she suggests that 'contemporary art to accept the long-standing diagnosis of Western society put forth by philosophers and sociologists of religion, namely: That it finds itself in a “post-secular” phase, a term which allows for critical self-reflection through religious thought, while considering the ubiquity of the religious in its various manifestations within the secularization process, through secular thought (Jürgen Habermas).'

She notes that in this context: 'Artistic works which precisely deal with religious form and meaning have the ability to mediate between blind faith and rational knowledge; they belong neither to a dogmatic religiosity that confuses belief with conviction, nor to a totally individualized “who cares how or what” religiousness, in which faith is an utterly private thing. When artistic works successfully translate sacred symbols into the language of secular art (masterfully done by Mark Wallinger), it happens not as blasphemy or a deconstruction of the religious but rather, in Jean-Luc Nancy’s sense, as “redeeming deconstruction.”'

All this means that research, such as that being undertaken or initiated by Ben Quash and Angus Pryor, is of real significance in understanding the complexities of the current relationship between faith and art.

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Oh My Lord.

Windows on the world (337)


Acco, 2014

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Sophia Hub Seven Kings update

Ros Southern writes:

"Hi there - here's the news and updates for this coming week or so...

Enterprise club on Tuesday will be with Tahir Mahmud on a SWOT analysis of your business (he's been helping me to do a SWOT of the enterprise club!) click here for info.

Please vote for Keith Young of Ilford Recycles for Guardian sustainable business award - unsung hero. Click here for the link and how we helped him with this nomination!

There's ongoing fabulous workshops and support for businesses through the ECHO Timbank. You pay with your ECHOs to join in (no cost, only your hours). Info here.

For East London Small Business workshops in April/May click here and for the latest East London Radio business programme too.

For info on grants currently available for social/community/environmental businesses, click here.

The next Timebank skills swap in on Friday 24th April, day-time. We are working on the programme this week. Please let us know what you want to offer or help that you want. Info here.

Thanks to Clive for leading a deep enterprise club last week - write up by Stephanie is here.

Please do keep in touch and I hope to see many of you this week,

Best wishes,

Ros Southern, Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Seven Kings

M: 07707 460309 T: 0208 590 2568
ros.southern@sophiahubs.com
T: @sophiahubs7k FB: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings blog: https://sophiahubs7k.wordpress.com/
c/o St Johns Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, IG2 7BB."

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Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Old Crow Medicine Show - This Train Is Bound For Glory.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Research and exhibitions about ecclesiastical art

While visiting the excellent still small voice exhibition at The Wilson in Cheltenham today, I was interested to find out that it forms part of a series of international exhibitions focusing on ecclesiastical art which The Wilson is organising in conjunction with the University of Gloucestershire over the next two years. This programme will include a touring exhibition in Spring 2016 featuring the ecclesiastical works of Arts and Crafts designers.

The Schools of Humanities and the School of Art and Design at the University of Gloucestershire, in Cheltenham, have begun a new initiative aimed at integrating biblical interpretation and new artistic representations of scenes and narratives from the Bible, and other expressions of religious belief, in paintings, sculpture and other media. The particular aim of the initiative is the production of new artistic works focused on biblical material and other expressions of religious belief in a self-reflexive and research-focused way.

To this end, the University of Gloucestershire is now offering a scholarship in this area to be jointly supervised by Philip Esler (biblical critic) and Angus Pryor (artist) with the output to consist of discursive textual material and an artistic work or works focused on biblical material or some other expression of religious belief.

Angus Pryor, Head of Fine Art & Design at the University, also provides his unique response to the still small voice exhibition with an ambitious wall-length artwork entitled ‘God’s Wrath’. The playful and macabre piece is displayed on the ground floor of the gallery. Pryor's interest in this painting and indeed in the entire show,  began with the Stanley Spencer painting, Angels of the Apocalypse (1949).

All works in this exhibition are transcriptions from biblical texts. Angels of the Apocalypse is derived from the Book of Revelations. Pryor wanted to explore the idea of this “taken text” in a manner that was more secular in its intention and therefore looked closely at and researched Spencer’s work to see how a parody of this painting could be made, bearing in mind the original words within the text and how Spencer had transcribed them.

Angus Pryor’s large, tactile works are based around narratives of imagination. They represent his attempt to recycle the “ready-made” object popular in much modern art “back into the made” through the “visceral practice of painting”. He says, “The finished paintings sustain discursive narratives, which explore atomisation and fragmentation within the contemporary art world and its diminishing sense of social responsibility.”

Pryor relies heavily on religious imagery and narrative for his work and through his object impressions reinvents the object thus challenging the process of objectification in conceptual art.

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - God Is In The House.

Beverley Barr: iconographer, illustrator and artist

Today I spoke to Beverley Barr, iconographer, illustrator and artist, who trained at Bath Academy of Art. During this time, she undertook commissions, mainly portraits, and painted her first liturgical artwork.

She is a member of the Association of Illustrators and is familiar with making illustrations for church publications of different denominations, and icons for private devotional, and liturgical purposes, as well as portraiture and other artwork, and works to commissions.

Beverley gives talks about the Stations of the Cross and/or conducts liturgies using them as aids to worship. She has produced a booklet of her Stations of the Cross images combined with Bible readings, prayers, meditations and other information.

Beverley has spent a good many years researching medieval artwork, eleven of these years exclusively in manuscripts, and often works by illuminating on vellum.

She will be exhibiting at All Saints Kings Heath from 28th June – 30th August.
 


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Daniel Buchanan - O Rubor Sanguinis.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Modern art in City churches












All Hallows by the Tower is the oldest church in the City of London. However, the church suffered extensive bomb damage during World War II and only the tower and the walls remained. The church was rebuilt after the war and was rededicated in 1957. The vicar at the time was the Rev'd "Tubby" Clayton, founder of the Toc H movement whose lamp of maintenance still shines in the Lady Chapel.

The effigy of Tubby Clayton is one of the last works by Cecil Thomas, the ‘soldier sculptor’, who also made the Forster Memorial in the south aisle of the church.

Beneath the great east window is the mural of the Last Supper by Brian Thomas. It depicts, through the variety of dress worn by the figures, the truth that the Last Supper is a continuing act throughout the centuries.

The modern stained glass in the Baptistry was designed by Keith New, and is dedicated to the memory of the de Selincourt family.

The Tower Hill Madonna by Jacquie Binns is a Mother and Child Sculpture for All Hallows by the Tower in white patinated bronze. Binns has also created a Phoenix Altar Frontal for All Hallows by the Tower.

Sculptor John Robinson made a career with sculptures of children at play and rest, lovers, mother and child, and sports men as if captured in motion. First Steps expresses the spiritual dynamic of maternal love, self-giving and protection for the child taking its first uncertain steps on the path of life.

The Bishop Fisher Icon Triptych is by Michael Coles. Coles has also created stained glass for the church.

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Herbert Howells - Nunc Dimittis.