Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Monday, 27 February 2017

Georg Mayer-Marton: work in churches has considerable religious significance

George Mayer-Marton (1897-1960) was born in Gyor, Hungary and served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War. From 1919 to 1924 he studied art in Vienna and Munich. He immigrated to England in 1938 to escape the threat of Nazi Germany.

Mayer-Marton studied the art of Byzantine (face) mosaic at Ravenna between the wars. Following his appointment at Liverpool College of Art in 1952, he received commissions from the Roman Catholic Church to carry out mosaic works at a number of churches in the area, as well as a commission for a font at the Anglican Church of St Michael and All Angels in Tettenhall, West Midlands. 

His abiding interest in music was reflected in his painting and mosaics, not only in subject matter but also in the chromatic use of colour, and the feeling for structure and form which characterize his landscapes. In 1957 all the different strands came together with the Pentecost Mosaic, amongst his finest work, now displayed at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

The Pentecost mosaic was originally installed at the Church of the Holy Ghost in Ford, Liverpool and when the church was faced with demolition, a campaign was undertaken by the artist’s niece, Johanna Braithwaite, Robin Riley, Gordon Millar, Brian Drury and Sister Anthony Wilson of the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral to save it. The process, supervised by Robin Riley, was technically challenging. The mosaic was transferred to the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in 1989.

The mosaic at the Church of the Holy Rosary is currently under threat following the decision of the Diocese of Salford to close the church. Catherine Pepinster, writing in The Observer, says, 'The arts heritage body, the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, has warned the bishop, the Right Rev John Arnold, that the mosaic’s destruction would be “a very regrettable loss, if not an act of iconoclasm”.

According to the association’s chairman, John Lewis, the émigré artists of postwar Britain, of whom Mayer-Marton was a leading figure, are only now being appreciated by art historians. In a letter to Arnold, Lewis cited the Oldham mosaic as “an unusual commission … which must be preserved. Mayer-Marton’s work in churches during this period has considerable historic and religious significance.”

The eight-metre-high mosaic was installed in the church in the 1950s and is made of natural stone and glass tesserae, giving it a striking sheen, typical of Byzantine work. The original piece had frescoes depicting St John to Jesus’s left and his mother Mary to his right, but these were covered over with white emulsion in 1980.'

His great-nephew, Nick Braithwaite, who is campaigning to save the Oldham mosaic, said: “The mosaic is inspiring and beautiful and it dominates the church. It would be disastrous if it were lost, and would signal a dreadful failure to understand its unique value. We are urging the diocese to think again.

“My great-uncle, who was of Hungarian-Jewish descent, worked on this mosaic just 10 years after the war and losing his parents and brother in the Holocaust. It must have been very poignant for him to work on an image of the suffering Jesus.”'

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

Woven Hand - The Speaking Hands.

Discover & explore - George Griffin Stonestreet



Yesterday's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored poetry through the writings of George Griffin Stonestreet. The service featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Salvator mundi by Tallis, Remember not, Lord by Purcell, the woman with the alabaster box by Pärt and The Lord bless you and keep you by Rutter. 

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 6 March at 1.10pm when, together with the Choral Scholars, I will explore the theme of sport through the life of Robert Stuart de Courcy Laffan.

In today's reflection I said:

One of the interesting tasks it is possible to give to children when they visit St Stephen Walbrook is to ask them to find the fire engine in the church. I wonder if you would be able to find it yourself. I’ll give you a clue, as it can be found on the memorial to George Griffin Stonestreet who died in1802.

Stonestreet was the Managing Director or Secretary of the Phoenix and Pelican Companies, whose London Headquarters were at 70b Lombard Street, and whose memorial was erected here by proprietors of those two offices. This white marble monument is centred on a worn, high relief figure of a young, fair woman leaning on a pot, holding a scroll in her free hand. The Pelican feeding her young is carved on the plinth above, a tiny fire engine is bottom right, ship and parcels to the left, and
above all is a pot with winged cherub head handles, wreath of flowers, and at its top, a phoenix, thus covering both institutions. The monument is signed by the highly accomplished sculptor John Bacon Junior, and dated 1803.

The company Stonestreet directed was established as the Phoenix Fire Office in 1782 by London sugar refiners discontented with the rates of premium charged by the established fire insurance offices. By 1783 it had 58 agencies, and the early success of the company meant that by 1790 it was able to establish minimum rates for insuring London riverside wharves and warehouses against fire. From 1782 the company started to insure overseas properties belonging to English merchants. Agents were appointed in France, Germany and Portugal in 1786-1787, and in New York and Montreal in 1804.

The Phoenix’s survival and growth depended upon the energy and intelligence of its senior management. Notable in this respect were George Griffin Stonestreet, secretary from 1786 to 1802, and his successor Jenkin Jones, secretary from 1802 to 1837. Under their guidance the Phoenix weathered the depression in the insurance industry in the late 18th century and early decades of the 19th century. By 1815 the Phoenix had overtaken the Sun in premium income.

This period also saw the Phoenix establish the Pelican Life Assurance in 1797, acquire several large provincial operations, set up agencies across Britain, and, perhaps most importantly, penetrate the European market from the Baltic Sea to the Iberian Peninsula. Simultaneously the Phoenix established itself in Canada—in Montreal in 1804—although the War of 1812 and the burning of Washington, D.C., by British troops put an end to its first operation in the United States. These early foreign ventures are indicative of the Phoenix’s foremost place in the overseas expansion of British insurance companies.

In 1797 trustees of Phoenix Assurance established the Pelican Life Office. The firm became the Pelican Life Assurance Company, before merging with British Empire Mutual Life Assurance in 1903 to become the Pelican and British Empire Life Office. Pelican dealt in life assurance, annuities and (from 1847) group schemes, in the U.K., North America (from 1807) and overseas, operating through the country agencies of Phoenix Assurance. Over time Pelican acquired the business of Life Star (1818-1822) and Manchester Fire and Life (1824-1847). By the 1820s it had agents in France, Sweden, Germany and North America, and by the 1840s it had invested in the railways and offered short-term loans to docks and canals. The company also began to invest in foreign railways during the 1850s. Pelican amalgamated with Phoenix Assurance in 1907. Today these companies are part of the Sun Alliance Group.

George Griffin Stonestreet’s business is part of humanity's search for ways to guard against the potentially catastrophic consequences of loss. Paul Mills notes that a 'theme running throughout the book of Proverbs is that prudence and foresight characterise the wise. A mark of such wisdom is abstinence and saving: In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. (Proverbs 21:20)'

'The ability to subjugate current desires in favour of future needs is one that the ungodly often lack – ‘let us eat and drink … for tomorrow we die’ (Isaiah 22:13). Consequently, the adjunct to the Christian suspicion of debt is the prudent saving up for necessary purchases. The most dramatic example of God’s advocacy of prudential provision was in the prompting of Joseph to store the surplus from seven Egyptian harvests (Genesis 41), for these not only enabled Egypt to survive the ensuing famine, but preserved the descendants of Abraham. Truly, saving saved the people of God.'

'Scripture is adamant that the fulfilment of extended family responsibilities is the Christian’s paramount practical religious duty. This is primarily effected through the earning of daily income.
However, there are some circumstances, such as one’s death, where it is hard to envisage how one’s dependents could be provided for without the prior accumulation of wealth or insurance against such risks. Although trust in God’s provision on a hand-to-mouth basis is possible, even admirable, as a single person, the task becomes much more difficult when one has dependants. Indeed, not saving when required by such circumstances could be construed as presuming upon God. Freedom from such concerns is one of the reasons for Paul’s commendation of Christian celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:32-3).'

'While mutual dependence in times of trial among Christians is to be welcomed, it is irresponsible for the spendthrift deliberately to place him- or herself in a position of vulnerability. It runs contrary to the teaching in Paul’s letters that the Christian should work diligently in order to avoid dependence on others and be in a position to assist the needy.'

'In numerous areas of Christian experience (e.g. evangelism, healing) God has chosen to act mainly through, and in response to, the prayerful actions and efforts of his people. Hence, exercising foresight and acting in response does not necessarily betray a lack of trust in Providential oversight.'

'Conversely, however, protecting oneself from every contingency through high levels of savings and insurance, under the guise of ‘prudence’ and ‘self-reliance’, is indistinguishable in practice from resorting to wealth as the ultimate source of one’s security. We must examine our hearts before God. For the Christian is required not only to hold to doctrines in theory, but to embody them in the way he or she lives (e.g. James 2:17).'

Intercessions:

Heavenly Father, your word promises that you know all the material things that we need to live but we find it hard to trust. We pray now for all those who struggle with the burden of personal debt: for those too frightened to face the problem, for couples who cannot talk about it, for children who cannot understand but live with the worry. We pray also for those who are consumed by money worries, anxious about jobs or homes or the future; those who feel they have lost control of money and cannot cope. We pray especially for those we know or love who are struggling. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, on TV, in magazines, in shops and on billboards we are surrounded with adverts telling us how we should look, what we should wear or own, drive or desire. We pray that you will make us aware of these pressures so that we are free to think and feel and act in a godly way around money. Make us wise in our decisions to spend and to save, to borrow and to give, that you may be Lord in all parts of our lives. We pray especially for our children and young people who experience pressures to own and to spend which most of us never knew. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, you want us to be a generous people offering our time, our skills and abilities and our money to your service. In our personal finances, Lord, give us wisdom to manage money well and to practice heartfelt generosity. Guard us, Lord, from holding tight when we should be letting go and honouring you as Lord of all we have. Help us to remember that you are the Giver of all we have and to relinquish pride of ownership and be truly free. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Blessing

May Christ who for our sake became poor make us rich in everything – in faith, speech, knowledge, giving and love. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

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

The Dixie Hummingbirds (feat. Vickie Winans) - Lead Me, Guide Me.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Windows on the world (333)


Margate, 2016

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

Sacred Geometries and Circling the Square


St Stephen Walbrook features in two exhibitions during March. Sacred Geometries at Anise Gallery features the first time screening of Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe's latest film of St Stephen Walbrook, while, for Circling the Square, we have loaned our architectural model of St Stephen Walbrook to a RIBA exhibition exploring Mies van der Rohe's unrealised Mansion House Square project, alongside its built successor James Stirling Michael Wilford & Associates' No. 1 Poultry.

Inspired by trends in contemporary photography and the diverse writings of Plato, author Robert Lawlor and architectural historian Peg Rawes, Anise Gallery is marking its fifth birthday with an exhibition of photography based on themes found in the sacred geometries.

Geometry in aesthetics are unavoidable when traversing through the city, whether this is in grand scale such as skyscraper architecture, to the tiny backs of ladybirds. Intricate design can be located in both complex, constructed design patterns and in the minute details in nature. Aesthetics and mathematics come together in geometry, and have done since ancient Egypt, where geometrics were viewed as a visual manifestation of law and order. Later in ancient Greece, they had sacred and scientific properties in helping to solve earthly mysteries.

Through the curation of an exhibition of film from Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe, and photography by Dennis Gilbert, Doublespace, Fernando Guerra, Hélène Binet, Hufton and Crow and Jim Stephenson, Anise Gallery hope to inspire and instigate a conversation surrounding Sacred Geometries (9 March - 15 April). In collaboration with Miniclick an evening of short talks and discussion will take place on 6 April 2017.

Mies Van Der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square is at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) from March 8 – June 25 2017. The exhibition is open Monday - Sunday 10am to 5pm and Tuesdays 10am to 8pm.

The exhibition sees the projects presented together for the first time, offering a unique opportunity to trace the continuity in purpose and approach that unites two seemingly dissimilar architectural creations.

Commissioned by architectural patron and developer Lord Peter Palumbo, Mies van der Rohe designed his proposal for Mansion House Square at the very end of his career, between 1962 and his death in 1969. After a protracted planning process, the scheme was finally rejected in 1985. Lord Palumbo then approached James Stirling, to conceive an alternative vision for the site. James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates' No. 1 Poultry was completed in 1997, two years after Stirling’s untimely death. It is often cited as a masterpiece of the post-international style and has recently been awarded Grade II* listed status; while it still divides opinion, the building was designed with an acute understanding of both its historic surroundings and Mies's earlier design.

The exhibition features newly restored models and materials about the Mies' scheme on loan to the RIBA by Lord Palumbo, along with significant items from the No. 1 Poultry archive.

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

Pierce Pettis - Gravity & Grace.

At the heart. On the edge.


 











‘At the heart. On the edge.’ was a day exploring mission by sharing ideas, uncovering solutions and finding support held on 8 February 2017 at St Stephen Walbrook, London. This conference which launched HeartEdge was hosted by Revd Dr Sam Wells.

Following the event, Sam said, ‘I was so delighted to see so many energised and engaged faces at the HeartEdge launch as we spoke about structures, configurations, approaches, insights – but most of all of renewal of vocation, vision and common exploration. That left me full of hope for the emergence of HeartEdge – a movement as yet of many different words but one purposeful spirit. I hope you will sign up and encourage others to do so.’

Find out more or apply to join by downloading the HeartEdge Membership Pack.

For more information contact Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar for Partnerships on 02077661127 or jonathan.evens@smitf.org.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Corinne Bailey Rae - The Skies Will Break.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge

Ros Southern writes:

Coming up this week (Mon 27 Feb- Sun 5 March)
  • Monday Entrepreneurs' club 6.45 with Razwan Malik - (cyber security, network marketing and beauty salon) - shares his tips. York room, Ilford library. info here
  • Tuesday 7.30am Redbridge Chamber Networking Breakfast - open to non members speaker Anagat Pathik on digital marketing info here
  • Tuesday New! Barkingside business network meeting 12-2 Chequers pub. Read about this new intiative of Emma Jones here
  • Tuesday 5-7 Barking Enterprise Centre first birthday party info here Really worth seeing the support and services on offer just down the road!
The following week (Mon 6 March - Sun 12 March)
  • Mon 6 March 10-12.30 free workshop at Barking Enterprise Centre on stress reduction when running a business info here
  • Tues 7 March 6.30-8.30 Entrepreneurs club at Redbridge Institute. speaker to be advised
  • Saturday 11th 10-2, Ilford Green Pop Up market info here
  • Saturday 11 9.45-1.30 Womens business event run by Redbridge business consultancy Brandstad Ltd info here 
Other news on our blog
  • Our membership scheme starting 1st March - we are diversifying our income to ensure our longevity. Hope you will get involved and support us! info here
Other interesting articles we've found for you
With best wishes,

Ros Southern
Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Redbridge

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

Stormzy - Blinded By Your Grace Pt.1.

Chaim Stephenson: Between Myth and Reality

Between Myth and Reality


Wednesday 1 March –Wednesday 10 May
Chaim Stephenson
Between Myth and Reality


A sculpture exhibition in the Foyer of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Chaim Stephenson worked for over sixty years to produce a wide range of sculpture, of which this exhibition shows but a small part – pieces inspired by the stories in the Old Testament, and those that came out of his lifelong concern for people driven from their homes. Among the former, every sculpture tells a story, familiar and built into our culture and traditions. The refugee statues speak of a universal and contemporary reality that not only mattered profoundly to the artist but affects us all.

Chaim Stephenson was born in Liverpool to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. He served in the mines as a ‘Bevin boy’ before joining a group of young Jews who emigrated to Palestine. After fighting through the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 he joined a kibbutz in western Galilee where he worked as a shepherd, sculpting in his limited free time. After a year in England studying and sculpting, he went back to Israel, and married writer Lynne Reid Banks. They returned to the UK in 1971 with their three sons. He spent the rest of his life as a working artist, dying last year aged 89.

The Living South Africa Memorial by Chaim Stephenson is on permanent display in church and St Martin’s is pleased to display a full exhibition of the work of this remarkable artist.

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

Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill.

Concert - Claudio Crismani


ST. STEPHEN WALBROOK
Wednesday 29 March 2017, 7.00pm. Free, with a retiring collection for St Stephen Walbrook

THE PROMETHEUS PROJECT
CLAUDIO CRISMANI
Homage to Francis Bacon

PROGRAMME

Béla Bartók
(1881 - 1945) 

Suite from “The Bluebeard Castle”
“In style of a Legend”

1 - Introduction
2 - The Magic Garden
3 - The first room
4 - The Forbidden Room
5 - Nightmare

- - - - -

Fryderyk Chopin 
(1810 - 1849) 

6 Préludes op. 28
2 Nocturnes op. 9 n.1
op. 37 n.1
2 Polonaises op. 26
Marche Funèbre op. 35
6 Mazurkas op. 7 n.2
op. 17 n.4
op. 33 n.1
op. 41 n.2
op. 67 n.2
op. 67 n.3

Polonaise op. 40 n.2

Biography of Claudio Crismani

"Claudio Crismani is an amazing, daring and magnetic artist.”

With these words American critic John Maxim concludes his review on Music Life about Claudio Crismani’s concert dedicated to Scriabin’s music. The music by Russian composer Alexander Scriabin has always been at the centre of Crismani’s artistic interests.

Crismani was born in Trieste and he began studying music with Andrea Giorgi as a young boy. Between Andro and Claudio a solid, lifelong fraternal friendship was built in time. He continued studying piano with Alessandro Costantinides and composition with Mario Bugamelli, graduating with full marks at the Bolzano Conservatory. He then perfected his technique studying with Marguerite Kazuro in Warsaw for five years.

His international career began in Paris in 1979 with a recital at the "Salle Pleyel" and a series of radio and tv recordings for "France Musique". Since then he has performed all over Europe, Russia, Israel, USA, Japan and Australia and in the most distinguished concert halls. He has worked with directors such as James Lawrence Levine, Cristoph von Dohnányi and Thomas Sanderling and performed with internationally renowned orchestras, among which: The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Philharmonia Orchestra, The European Community Chamber Orchestra, Les Solistes de Moscou, The Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1986 Claudio Crismani was invited to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Liszt’s death by performing twelve concerts in England and playing the complete “Années de Pèlerinage" and the transcriptions of Wagner’s operas. In 1987, UNESCO named him "European Artist" and invited him to perform at the "International Music Soiree" at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. That same year he was appointed "Guest Artist" of the Van Leer Foundation in Jerusalem and under this aegis he became co-founder of the Horowitz Festival.

In the Nineties, he staged a three-evening performance of the complete Poems and Sonatas for piano by Scriabin, which was repeated several times in different countries. He had an exclusive record contract with RS for twelve years and won two Discographic Awards. This period was marked by an important collaboration and friendship with the great Russian pianist Lazar Berman. His performance of Scriabin’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra together with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Sanderling and recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, was a true publishing success story.

After a concert tour in 2002/2003 marking his thirtieth year of artistic activity (he was described as one of the major artists of his generation), Claudio Crismani decided to retire from the concert scene and devote himself exclusively to a long period of study.

In 2014, he returned on the musical scene – among others - with “The Prometheus Project”, which is a transposition of Alexander Scriabin’s “Promethean” dream, designed to be a literary, artistic and (of course) musical experience. He rewrote it together with his friend Edward Lucie-Smith as a synesthetic blend, suspended between visual art and music, literature and history.

Here, Pasternak and Scriabin intersect with contemporary traits, tracing a hitherto undescribed randomness of real- life moments spanning from Russia to Trieste and present and future human relations developing between Trieste and London.

In 2015, Claudio Crismani returned on the international scene at the exhibition on Boris Pasternak: “la Genesi del Sogno” (The Genesis of the Dream). The event highlighted artworks by Oleg Kudryashov, photographs by Moisei Nappelbaum and Crismani’s concert (performed strictly on a Fazioli piano) at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, and repeated in 2016 in Cividale del Friuli with a tribute to Boulez, and in London, at St. Stephen Walbrook, playing Boulez, Liszt and Scriabin.

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

Thursday, 23 February 2017

St Martin-in-the-Fields Lent Programme 2017 – Abraham: A Journey Through Lent


This year at St Martin-in-the-Fields, using Dr Meg Warner as our guide, we will be journeying with Abraham, through his challenges, doubts, false turns and unbelievable promises. Our Lent Study will begin on Wednesday 8 March with an informal Eucharist in which Meg Warner will be joining us to introduce her book, Abraham: A Journey through Lent, followed by simple Lenten supper and study groups.
The cost of the course is £15 which includes a copy of the book and the study materials (or £8 if you already have the book). Join us for the 6 week programme: March 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12.

Week one – An Introduction with Meg Warner
8 March: The Call: Genesis 12.1-18 (Chapter 1)

Week two
15 March: The Promise: Genesis 15 (Chapter 2)

Week three
22 March: The Visitors: Genesis 18.1-15 (Chapter 3)

Week four
29 March: The ‘Other': Genesis 21.1-21 (Chapter 4)

Week five
5 April: The Choice: Genesis 22.1-19 (Chapter 5)

Week six
12 April: The Legacy: Genesis 26 (Chapter 6)

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

John Coltrane - Spiritual.

Bank Churches Lent Course




Is money wealth? Bank Churches Lent Course
Join us we discuss the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2017
Every Tuesday in March
6pm (45mins)
Hosted by: Bank Churches at St Margaret, Lothbury, EC2R 7HH

07/03 - Session 1: What we see we value (Jeremy Crossley)

14/03 - Session 2: What we measure controls us (David Parrott)

21/03 - Session 3: What we receive we treat as ours (George Bush)

28/03 - Session 4: What we master brings us joy (Sally Muggeridge)

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

Writz - Luxury.

Lent & Easter at St Stephen Walbrook





All are most welcome to the Lent & Easter Services and Events at St Stephen Walbrook. These include:
  • Ash Wednesday (1st March) - 12.45pm Choral Eucharist with the imposition of ashes, with St Stephen’s Voices & organist Joe Sentance. Settings - Emendemus in melius by Byrd, Missa Brevis by Berkeley and A Litany by Walton;
  • Monday 6 March - 5.00pm Lectures on 'Francis Bacon & the Crucifixion' by Edward Lucie-Smith & Jonathan Evens followed by opening night reception for Crucifixions: Francis Bacon exhibition from 6.30pm;
  • Crucifixions: Francis Bacon exhibition from 6 - 31 March, Mon - Fri, 10am - 4pm (Weds, 11am-3pm); 
  • Wednesday 8th March – Resurrection in art from new annual Bible in art themed series. Walbrook Art Society lecture by Dharshan Thenuwara (1.00pm). Free to all.
  • Monday 13 March - 6.30pm 'The crucifixion in modern art,' a lecture by Jonathan Evens & poetry reading by Rupert Loydell (readings from Dear Mary plus poems inspired by Francis Bacon’s art);
  • Wednesday 15th March - Arthur Liberty. Arts and crafts pioneer. A special two part lecture to celebrate the Centenary of his death, 1917. £5.00. Walbrook Art Society lecture by Dharshan Thenuwara (1.00pm).
  • Wednesday 22nd March - Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy. Anniversary lecture to celebrate the life and work of this English/Sri Lankan author and curator. £5.00. Walbrook Art Society lecture by Dharshan Thenuwara (1.00pm).
  • Wednesday 29th March - William de Morgan. Centenary lecture to celebrate the death of this important Pre-Raphaelite ceramicist and author. £5.00. Walbrook Art Society lecture by Dharshan Thenuwara (1.00pm).
  • Wednesday 29 March - 7.00pm, concert by Italian pianist Claudio Crismani. Free, with a retiring collection for the work of St Stephen Walbrook;
  • Maundy Thursday (13 April) - 12.45pm Choral Eucharist, with St Stephen’s Voices. Settings - Christus factus est by Anerio, Missa pro defunctis a 4 by Victoria and Tantum ergo by Duruflé;
  • Holy Saturday (15 April) - 6.00pm Easter Vigil Service, with St Stephen’s Voices & organist Joe Sentance and including the lighting of the Paschal Candle, renewal of Baptismal Vows and the first Eucharist of Easter. Setting - Mass in G by Schubert; and
  • Holy Saturday/Easter Day (15-16 April), 10.00pm – 6.00am - 'The Stations of the Cross', a series of 14 videos by Mark Dean projected at an all-night vigil.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Claudio Crismani - Friss-Lassan.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

HeartEdge launches on 8 February 2017 at St Stephen Walbrook



HeartEdge is a network of initiated by St Martin-in-the-Fields for churches working at the heart of culture, community and commerce with those at the margins and on the edge. HeartEdge aims to build association, learning, development and resource.

February 8 saw the launch of HeartEdge with a day exploring mission by sharing ideas, uncovering solutions and finding support held at St Stephen Walbrook, London and hosted by Revd Dr Sam Wells. 80+ attendees heard a wide range of contributions from Jonathan Evens (Priest for Partnership Development, St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Stephen Walbrook), Jessica Foster (Curate, St Peter's Hall Green Birmingham), Ruth Gouldbornne (Minister at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church), James Hutchings (Team Rector, Holy Trinity Exmouth), Ali Lyon (Consultant and member of St Martin-in-the-Fields), Rosemarie Mallett (Rector of St John’s Angell Town, Brixton), Sally Muggeridge (Curate, St Stephen Walbrook), Andy Turner (Project Co-ordinator, HeartEdge), Dan Tyndall (Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol), Tim Vreugdenhil (Pastor of CityKirk Amsterdam), and Lucy Winkett (Rector, St James’s Church, Piccadilly).

Following the event Sam Wells said, 'I was so delighted to see so many energised and engaged faces at the HeartEdge launch as we spoke about structures, configurations, approaches, insights – but most of all of renewal of vocation, vision and common exploration. That left me full of hope for the emergence of HeartEdge – a movement as yet of many different words but one purposeful spirit. I hope you will sign up and encourage others to do so.'

HeartEdge supports churches in blending their mission around four key areas:
  • Congregation – Inclusive approaches to liturgy, worship and day-to-day communal life
  • Community – models of outreach serving local need and addressing social justice
  • Culture – art, music and ideas to re-imagine the Christian narrative for the present moment
  • Commerce – Commercial activities that generate finance, creatively extending and enhancing mission and ministry through social enterprise
HeartEdge works with its members in finding their stories, sharing resources and connecting effectively with others developing their church and community. We create spaces where members give from their experience and take from others – an exchange that’s often inspiring, always compelling, and mutually useful for all participants. We want HeartEdge to be an essential resource and a valuable community, as members develop their church and neighbourhood.

When churches join HeartEdge they receive:
  • Connections: Access to all kinds of useful contacts and connections to help their church develop cultural, commercial and community activity
  • Information: Grow knowledge and insight to help in their work via the lived experience of others
  • Visits: Opportunity to meet those most relevant to them in situ, gaining understanding of their work and experience
  • Mentors: Via phone calls and meetings, appropriate learning and support from others
  • Events: Programmed with bespoke content useful for their context
  • Publications: An emerging range of resources based on approaches to ministry used by HeartEdge members
  • Projects: Support and resources to begin specific social justice initiatives
  • Emails and Online: a monthly email with links to useful resources
HeartEdge is fuelled by its members. Members are people and churches who are makers and takers – people and churches that both give to the network and take from it.

For more information contact Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar for Partnerships on 020 7766 1127 or jonathan.evens@smitf.org or visit www.smitf.org/church/worship/partnerships/.

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

Arvo Pärt - The Woman with the Alabaster Box.

Start:Stop - A life of significance in his kingdom work


Bible Reading

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around. He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. The landowner replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. (Matthew 20. 1 – 16)

Meditation

The social situation in Jesus’ day was that many small farmers were being forced off their land because of debt they incurred to pay Roman taxes. Consequently, large pools of unemployed men gathered each morning, hoping to be hired for the day. They were the displaced, unemployed, and underemployed workers of their day, similar to illegal migrants seeking casual work today. Those still waiting at five o'clock would have had little chance of earning enough to buy food for their families that day. Yet the vineyard owner pays even them a full day’s wage. The owner in the parable ensures that all the workers are paid enough to support their families, as a denarius was a full day’s pay for a skilled worker.

So, unlike exploited illegal workers or gig economy workers today earning less than the minimum wage, the employer in this story is concerned that those he employs are paid a living wage. The landowner goes repeatedly to the marketplace himself and clearly cares about the predicament of the workers seeking to lift them out of their despair by providing work that meets their needs and the needs of those who depend on them. If God is like the owner of the vineyard then he cares about our hopeless situation as human beings. He comes looking for us. He goes on an all-out search to find workers for his vineyard. He longs to provide us with a life of significance in his kingdom work.

Michael Green says of this story: 'Length of service and long hours of toil in the heat of the day constitute no claim on God and provide no reason why he should not be generous to those who have done less. All human merit shrivels before his burning, self-giving love. Grace, amazing grace, is the burden of this story. All are equally undeserving of so large a sum as a denarius a day. All are given it by the generosity of the employer. All are on the same level. The poor disciples, fishermen and tax collectors as they are, are welcomed by God along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are no rankings in the kingdom of God. Nobody can claim deserved membership of the kingdom. There is no place for personal pride, for contempt or jealousy, for there is no ground for any to question how this generous God handles the utterly undeserving. He is good. He sees that the one-hour workers would have no money for supper if they got paid for only one hour. In generosity he gives them what they need. Who is to complain at that?'

Yet there is always a danger that we do get cross with God over this. People who work or move in church circles can easily assume that they are the special ones, God’s inner circle. In reality, as we have seen, God is out in the marketplace, looking for the people everybody else tried to ignore, welcoming them on the same terms, surprising them (and everybody else) with his generous grace. In Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Is there anywhere in today’s church, I wonder, that doesn’t need to be reminded of that message?

Intercessions

O God, the Creator of all things, you have made us in your own image so that we may find joy in creative work: have mercy on all those who are unemployed, and those who find their work dull. Help us to build a society where all may have work and find joy in doing it, for the good of our world and the glory of your name. We thank you that you seek us out and provide us with a life of significance in your kingdom work.

O God, who made us in your image and intended us for creative work; look with love on those who are unemployed. Help them to enjoy life together with those who have work and help us to understand what kind of help we need to give one another, whether in paid employment or not. Guide the leaders of our country, that they may take wise decisions which will benefit us all. We ask you Lord to guide us in the knowledge that we all have worth in ourselves and that we are all of equal value in your eyes. We thank you that you seek us out and provide us with a life of significance in your kingdom work.

Lord God, you lavish gifts on all whom you call. Strengthen and sustain us and all ministers of your church, lay and ordained, that in the range and diversity of our vocation, we may be catalysts of your kingdom in the world. We thank you that you seek us out and provide us with a life of significance in your kingdom work.

The Blessing

O Lord, my God, may the work we do bring growth in this life to us and help extend the Kingdom of Christ. We ask your blessing on all our efforts. With Christ as our example and guide, help us do the work You have asked and come to the reward You have prepared. And the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon us and remain with us always. Amen.

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

Gerald Finzi - My Lovely One.

Discover & explore service series

We have recently reviewed our Discover & explore services at St Stephen Walbrook. The past four terms of Discover & explore services using the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields have been service series of musical discovery using music and liturgy to explore themes of: 
  • Spring 2016 - hope, faith , life, love, dreams, joy, truth and soul (based on Eric Whitacre’s anthem Faith, hope, life, love); 
  • Summer 2016 - the lives and thought of the Saints (Julian of Norwich, St Stephen, Venerable Bede, St Columba, St Martin of Tours, St John the Baptist, St Peter); 
  • Autumn 2016 – stewardship and finance (Time, Talents, Treasure/Gold, Guidance, Promises, Safety, Money, and Security); and
  • Spring 2017 - significant figures in the history of St Stephen Walbrook (John Dunstable, Music; Sir Christopher Wren, Architecture; Thomas Watson, Preaching; Sir John Vanbrugh, Drama; Thomas Wilson, Patronage; George Croly, Poetry; George Griffin Stonestreet, Insurance; Robert S. de Courcey Laffan, Sport; Chad Varah, Charity; Henry Moore, Sculpture; Lanning Roper, Gardening; Patrick Heron, Art; Peter Delaney, Internet).
Themes are agreed between the clergy and music teams involved in these services. In selecting themes we seek to make connections with both the church and the City. We also seek to connect our themes to art exhibitions in the church, where connections are possible (e.g. Soul, which related to a digital installation by Michael Takeo Magruder). Future themes will include Reformation500 and Roman London.

Each service includes:
  • Opening responses;
  • 4 anthems;
  • 2 hymns;
  • 1 Bible reading;
  • 1 other reading;
  • Reflective Address;
  • Intercessions (with a sung and a spoken response); and
  • Blessing.
Services are planned by our clergy team together with the Deputy Director of Music, Organ at St Martin-in-the-Fields, who directs the Choral Scholars at St Stephen Walbrook. Occasionally, we invite guests to give the reflection on the theme e.g. Carolyn Rosen (ordinand, Westcott House) spoke about Soul and Claire Paine (Christian Aid) spoke on St Stephen.

The Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields gain a great deal from the opportunity to sing for the Discover and Explore services. Musically, they are able to explore an enormous variety of repertoire because the service structure includes four anthems (whereas conventional services such as evensong contain only one anthem). The vast spectrum of themes for the services allows for really creative music selections and the opportunity for the scholars to enjoy building a wider repertoire. In addition to the musical benefits, the Scholars also gain the experience of a different style of liturgy in the Discover and Explore series which contrasts and complements the services they sing at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

A selection of those attending (including new attendees) have commented that:
  • ‘They are thought-provoking and inspiring services and the music is amazing.’ 
  • ‘I really enjoy the Discover and Explore Services. I find the atmosphere very peaceful and the beautiful music enhances that feeling. I like the fact that it is a different type of service and there is time to contemplate and pray.’
  • ‘I personally like the Discover & Explore services very much. I will admit that I have a great love of choral music so the service format is winner on that ground alone for me. However looking at it objectively, I like the format very much. It hits the right note of a serious but lighter touch, but it is not too light. I like the idea of taking a topic and shaping the rest of the service around that theme. It’s great for example to have excerpts from Shakespeare. The length is right too. I come to church amongst other reasons to think, reflect and learn and I feel this service format is excellent.’
  • ‘Discover & explore brings me into the City. Entering the church feels like entering another world – one which is, though, very much part of its surrounds as well. The thing I most enjoy is hearing the choir’s anthems in a historical site whose acoustics are perfect for that. That said, I probably wouldn’t make the effort if it were just concerts: I like the integration of the music into the themes of the reflections and readings as well. It’s a coherent entity. And the emphasis this term on figures from St. Stephen’s history, the collaboration with the Guildhall Art Gallery – those are the kinds of things that ground the series in its community. But again, the extraordinarily high quality of the music is what really draws me in. I would feel like I’d wasted a wonderful opportunity if I didn’t come to Discover & explore!’ 
  • ‘I discovered this treasure recently. The choir fills the Dome, as does the tiny organ. I am a keen singer and in that space feel (in the hymns) you are with the choir. The service sheet is very good and I was signed up on first visit to reading. The weekly foci are interesting and often relate to remarkable previous incumbents.’
  • ‘The Discover & Explore format is great - sorry I haven't made it before! You are v fortunate to have the choir in the week! Even better in real life today. Lunchtime service @StStephenEC4N with choral scholars from @smitf_london conducted by @JeremyColeUK.’
Discover & explore is therefore proving effective in developing our mission and outreach as a church.

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

Thomas Tallis - If Ye Love Me.

Discover & explore: George Croly



Yesterday's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored poetry through the writings of George Croly. The service featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Why fumeth in fight by Tallis, La blanche neige by Poulenc, My soul there is a country by Parry and My lovely one by Finzi. We also sang Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart and Lord, who hast sought us out, unsought, both written by Croly.

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 27 February at 1.10pm when, together with the Choral Scholars, I will explore the theme of insurance through the life of George Griffin Stonestreet.

The Irish poet, novelist, historian and Anglican priest, George Croly, was rector of St Stephen Walbrook from 1835 until his death in 1860. Croly’s writing ranged across theatre, poetry, reviews, politics and theology. From 1810 he had a career in London as a reviewer and journalist with The Times and Blackwood's Magazine, among other. His best known works novels include Salathiel and Marston. His main contribution to theology was an exposition of the Apocalypse. His hymns included Spirit of God, descend upon my heart, written in 1854:

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,
wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art,
and make me love thee as I ought to love.


Charlotte and Anne Brontë visited St Stephen's Walbrook, on their first visit to London, hoping to hear Croly preach, as he was by then a famous author and cleric. Unfortunately, he was absent that Sunday. Croly was buried at St Stephen Walbrook and memorials to him, his wife, daughter and eldest son can found here.

Our service included the reading of Croly's poem 'The Trumpet shall sound'

Be still, be still, impatient soul, rest, weary mourner, rest;
The trump shall sound, the thunder roll, and heaving earth’s cold breast
Call from their stern and silent bed, the millions of the ransomed dead.
The hour is coming, when the sun at once shall pass away:
Eclipsed before a mightier one, the light of Heaven’s pure day;
A splendour, high above all height, sun of a morn that knows no night.
Yet, ere that hour, Almighty King, thy vials shall be poured;
Famine the heart of nations wring, and death unsheathe the sword;
And thrones, to flee that hour of doom, call to the mountains and the tomb.
Lord, like thine angels make us here a spirit and a flame;
Teach us, in holy faith and fear, to triumph in thy name.
Cling to the cross, and plead thy love, and join thee with thy saints above.

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

George Croly - Spirit Of God, Descend Upon My Heart.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

commission4mission Spring Newsletter

A design for an altar cross for a private chapel by Mark Lewis
Materials – Blue-finished forged steel and gilded brass.

The latest newsletter for commission4mission includes information of exhibitions by Jacqui Parkinson, Tim Harrold, Chris Clack and Victoria Norton, plus profiles of new members Deborah Harrison and Colin Riches as well as information about our forthcoming exhibition at The Hostry in Norwich Cathedral. Click here to read the latest news.

‘The Cross’ – Designs & Reflections at Norwich Cathedral (The Hostry) from 20 April to 29 May 2017 is an exhibition of works, talks and seminars by members of commission4mission. The exhibition is based on personal responses to the cross through designs, concept drawings, digital prints, wood & stone carvings, pottery & jewellery, paintings and drawings.

Exhibition free to attend. Open 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.00am – 3.00pm on Sundays.

The exhibition is preceded at Norwich Cathedral by Jacqui Parkinson‘s ‘Threads through Revelation’ exhibition from 2 March to 16 April 2017. Jacqui spent three years exploring the book of Revelation: this has become a spectacular exhibition consisting of 14 huge panels. Threads through Revelation is now touring major cathedrals all over the UK.

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

Windows on the world (332)


Margate, 2016

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

Sabbatical Art Pilgrimage: Latest ArtWay report

My latest Church of the Month report for ArtWay focuses on Metz Cathedral:

'James Waller has written that here “Chagall is all curves and tonal flares,” his “modulation of tone, within the fabulously fragmented and flowing glass panes” lending “his colours a deeper, more smoldering dimension.”

Waller contrasts Chagall’s curves with the “constructivist angles and flat-colour planes” of the windows by Jacques Villon created for the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in 1957. Villon’s “highly expressive constructivism, divided into powerful sections of colour, makes a startling impact within the medieval interior” and “flare brilliantly, even on an overcast day, drawing all eyes towards them.” In the early morning light, his “stained-glass compositions of the Crucifixion (centre), the Jewish Passover and Last Supper (left), and the Wedding Feast of Cana (right)” blaze in a stunning conflagration of light.'

This Church of the Month report follows on from others about Aylesford Priory, Canterbury Cathedral, Chapel of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Hem, Chelmsford Cathedral, Coventry Cathedral, Église de Saint-Paul à Grange-Canal, Lumen, Notre Dame du Léman, Notre-Dame de Toute Grâce, Plateau d’Assy,Romont, Sint Martinuskerk Latem, St Aidan of Lindisfarne, St Alban Romford, St. Andrew Bobola Polish RC Church, St Margaret's Ditchling and St Mary the Virgin, Downe, and St Paul Goodmayes, as well as earlier reports of visits to sites associated with Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, Marc Chagall, Jean Cocteau, Antoni Gaudi and Henri Matisse.

Also on ArtWay is a short piece about Francis Bacon based on the forthcoming Crucifixions:Francis Bacon exhibition at St Stephen Walbrook

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

Corinne Bailey Rae - The Skies Will Break.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Crucifixions: Francis Bacon - exhibition, lectures, poetry reading & concert




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

Claudio Crismani - Rapsodie.

Grace & work: The workers in the vineyard

Here is my sermon from today's Eucharist at St Stephen Walbrook (drawing on material from The Lampost and Theology of Work Project):

Chichele Road in Cricklewood is known as Job Street, where economic migrants line up to be hired from the back of a van, no questions asked. Dozens of men in jeans and anoraks hang around from 6.30am to discover whether they will be working that day. A car will stop, a negotiation will take place, a deal may be struck. Typically, the men will be whisked off to a building site or a house in the process of renovation. They will be paid £20 to £40 for a long, arduous day's work: no tax, no national insurance, no questions asked.

That’s essentially the scenario for today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 20. 1 - 16). The social situation in Jesus’ day was that many small farmers were being forced off their land because of debt they incurred to pay Roman taxes. Consequently, large pools of unemployed men gathered each morning, hoping to be hired for the day. They were the displaced, unemployed, and underemployed workers of their day. Those still waiting at five o'clock would have had little chance of earning enough to buy food for their families that day. Yet the vineyard owner pays even them a full day’s wage. The owner in the parable ensures that all the workers are paid enough to support their families, as a denarius was a full day’s pay for a skilled worker.

So, unlike those exploited illegal workers or gig economy workers earning less than the minimum wage, the employer in this story is concerned that those he employs are paid a living wage. The standard thing for an employer in Jesus’ day to do would be to send one of his employees to the marketplace to pick up a few extra workers for the day. But this employer goes to the marketplace himself. In fact, he goes repeatedly to seek workers and clearly cares about their predicament seeking to lift them out of their despair by providing work that meets their needs and the needs of those who depend on them. If God is like the owner of the vineyard then he cares about our hopeless situation as human beings. He comes looking for us. He goes on an all-out search to find workers for his vineyard. He longs to provide us with a life of significance in his kingdom work.

As N. T. Wright has said, 'God’s grace, in short, is not the sort of thing you can bargain with or try to store up. It isn’t the sort of thing that one person can have a lot of and someone else only a little. The point of the story is that what people get from having served God and his kingdom is not, actually, a ‘wage’ at all. It’s not, strictly, a reward for work done. God doesn’t make contracts with us, as if we could bargain or negotiate for a better deal. He makes covenants, in which he promises us everything and asks of us everything in return. When he keeps his promises, he is not rewarding us for effort, but doing what comes naturally to his overflowingly generous nature.'

Michael Green says of this story: 'Length of service and long hours of toil in the heat of the day constitute no claim on God and provide no reason why he should not be generous to those who have done less. All human merit shrivels before his burning, self-giving love. Grace, amazing grace, is the burden of this story. All are equally undeserving of so large a sum as a denarius a day. All are given it by the generosity of the employer. All are on the same level. The poor disciples, fishermen and tax collectors as they are, are welcomed by God along with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There are no rankings in the kingdom of God. Nobody can claim deserved membership of the kingdom. There is no place for personal pride, for contempt or jealousy, for there is no ground for any to question how this generous God handles the utterly undeserving. He is good. He sees that the one-hour workers would have no money for supper if they got paid for only one hour. In generosity he gives them what they need. Who is to complain at that?'

Yet there is always a danger that we do get cross with God over this. People who work or move in church circles can easily assume that they are the special ones, God’s inner circle. In reality, as we have seen, God is out in the marketplace, looking for the people everybody else tried to ignore, welcoming them on the same terms, surprising them (and everybody else) with his generous grace. In Ephesians 2:8-10 Paul says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Is there anywhere in today’s church, I wonder, that doesn’t need to be reminded of that message?

The parable is also a message of hope to everyone struggling to find adequate employment. In God’s kingdom, it suggests, we will all find work that meets our needs. The parable is, therefore, also a challenge to all those who have a hand in shaping the structures of work in today’s society. What can we do, as Christians, to advance this aspect of God’s kingdom right now?

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

Deacon Blue - Wages Day.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Start:Stop - Every person is a special kind of artist


Bible reading

Then Moses said to the Israelites: See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of artisan or skilled designer. (Exodus 35. 30 – 35)

Meditation

The first person in the Bible to be described as having been filled by the Holy Spirit was an artist - Bezalel, who worked on the Tabernacle. As the first Spirit-filled person mentioned in the Bible, Bezalel, was chosen by God to be skilled, knowledgeable and able to teach in all kinds of craftsmanship. So, to be biblically inspired is to make or create.

Creativity, this passage suggests, is a gift of God. Ultimately, creativity is a gift of God because God is creative and we are made in his image. He is the Creator, the one who said "Let there be" and life came to be; the One whose glory is proclaimed by the heavens and the work of whose hands is proclaimed by the skies. We are made in the image of the Creator God and therefore we too are creative. We are all creations of the Creator, created in His image, to be creative!

God is the ultimate creator, who created from nothing, and we are sub-creators, able to, as Dorothy L. Sayers put it, "rearrange the unalterable and indestructible units of matter in the universe and build them up into new forms." As J. John has said, 'Creativity has been built into every one of us: it is part of our design. Each of us lives less of the life God intended for us when we choose not to live out the creative gifts God gave us.'

It is easy to think that this only applies to certain chosen people who have the aptitude for creativity – to think that we should all strive to be 'artists' in the sense of being musicians, novelists, poets, painters etc - but that is not the witness of the Bible, taken as a whole. God's Spirit gives each person gifts, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, but the gifts that we are given differ from person to person. This means that we are all creative but in differing ways. Edith Schaeffer, in her useful book Hidden Art, says that this does not mean that we should all strive to be 'artists':

"But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it. There should be a practical result of the realization that we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty ... the fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than in a gradual drying up of creativity."

She continues by writing that, "it may be helpful to consider some of the possibilities all of us have for living artistically, but which are often ignored." This is what she calls 'Hidden Art'; the development of our talents (whatever they are) and their use in a way which will enrich other people's lives. By doing so, we express the fact of being creative creatures made in the image of our Creator God.

God’s image in us means that all people are creative in some way. A creator God has created creative people! Therefore, whether we’re writing, cooking, painting, composing, acting or taking photographs we can all use our creativity to learn from God and express our worship to him. As the saying goes, ‘The artist is not a special kind of person, every person is a special kind of artist.’

Intercessions

Creator God, we remember and give thanks for those who pour their souls into music loud and soft, those who put pigment to surface, carve wood and stone and marble, who work base metals into beauty, those building upwards from the earth toward heaven, those who put thought to paper by computer and by pen; the poets who delve, the playwrights who analyze and proclaim, the dreamers-up of narrative, all those who work with the light and shadows of film, actors moved by Spirit and dancers moving through space. Lord, remember your artists. Have mercy upon them and remember with compassion all those that reflect the good, the ill, the strengths and the weaknesses of the human spirit.

Creative God, fill us with your Spirit that we might use your creativity in our lives and work.

Teach us, Lord, to use wisely the time which You have given us and to work well without wasting a second. Teach us to profit from our past mistakes without falling into a gnawing doubt. Teach us to anticipate our projects without worry and to imagine the work without despair if it should turn out differently. Teach us to unite haste and slowness, serenity and ardour, zeal and peace. Help us at the beginning of the work when we are weakest. Help us in the middle of the work when our attention must be sustained. In all the work of our hands, bestow Your Grace so that it can speak to others and our mistakes can speak to us alone. Keep us in the hope of perfection, without which we would lose heart, yet keep us from achieving perfection, for surely we would be lost in arrogance. Let me never forget that all knowledge is in vain unless there is work. And all work is empty unless there is love. And all love is hollow unless it binds us both to others and to You.

Creative God, fill us with your Spirit that we might use your creativity in our lives and work.

God, we are truly bearers of the light from above, within and around us. Help us to be bearers of that light to others who seek a vision of the goodness and beauty of Your Creation. We ask that you help us and our creative work to be witnesses to your love, your kindness, and your care for us. Continue to inspire us with the gift of your imagination.

Creative God, fill us with your Spirit that we might use your creativity in our lives and work.

The Blessing

Bless all who create in your image, O God of creation. Pour your Spirit upon them that their hearts may sing and their works be fulfilling, and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

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

Arcade Fire - Ready To Start.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Crucifixions: Francis Bacon



Crucifixions: Francis Bacon – 6-31 March 2017, 10.00am – 4.00pm Mon – Fri (Weds, 11.00am – 3.00pm), St Stephen Walbrook, 39 Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN

For Lent 2017 St Stephen Walbrook is exhibiting Crucifixion drawings by Francis Bacon from “The Francis Bacon Collection of the drawings donated to Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino”. Between 1977 and 1992 Francis Bacon donated to an intimate Italian friend a considerable number of drawings, pastels and collages. Today those drawings are part of a collection which has previously been exhibited in Bologna, Dubrovnik, London, Madrid and Trieste among other locations.

The image of crucifixion was consistently utilised by Francis Bacon in his art to think about all life’s horror as he could not find a subject as valid to embrace all the nuances of human feelings and behaviours. This exhibition of crucifixion drawings by Bacon provides an opportunity to explore why the image of the crucified Christ retained its power for an avowed atheist such as Bacon and to reflect on the horror of the suffering that Christ endured for humanity.

Revd Jonathan Evens says: ‘Francis Bacon rather obsessively revisited religious imagery in his iconic paintings. The subject of the crucifixion preoccupied him throughout his life as he made at least eight major Crucifixion paintings, spanning five decades, including the work that launched his career, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Bacon thought that this subject, more than any other, had the validity to embrace all the nuances of human feelings and behaviours that enable us to think about all life’s horror. Bacon’s basing of his godless images on an image freighted and weighted with salvific power highlights its enduring impact, even in the secular West and even in the work of an avowed atheist. The bleak obscuring of features in Bacon’s images of Christ reveals the emanation of love which leads Christ into nothingness. For all these reasons, Bacon’s crucifixion drawings deserve the interest of Christians, as well as that of art historians or art lovers, and reward informed reflection and contemplation.’

In his recollections of Francis Bacon, Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino suggests that: ‘It is completely wrong to see Francis Bacon as a determined blasphemer and convinced atheist. As a matter of fact, and paradoxically, Francis was almost more fascinating in what he thought about religion than in what he actually painted. This man frequently described (first, by we journalists) like a merciless satanic drunkard was one of the most pitifully charitable people I ever met.’ He suggests that ‘Bacon was a gambler, but he was a gambler more in hiding himself from people than in actually playing roulette.’

Art Below

London based public art collaborative Art Below will feature selected works from the exhibition in stations including Bond Street, Green Park and St. Paul’s from the 13th March for two weeks.

Exhibition events

• Monday 6 March, 5.00pm: Francis Bacon & The Crucifixion – lectures by Edward Lucie-Smith & Revd Jonathan Evens

• Monday 6 March, 6.30pm: Preview & opening night reception

• Monday 13 March, 6.30pm: The Crucifixion in modern art & Poetry reading – Revd Jonathan Evens (lecture) & Rupert Loydell (poetry reading)

• Wednesday 29 March, 7.00pm: concert by Claudio Crismani

Edward Lucie-Smith is an internationally known art critic and historian.

Revd Jonathan Evens is priest-in-charge of St Stephen Walbrook and Associate Vicar Partnerships at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Rupert Loydell is Senior Lecturer in English with Creative Writing at Falmouth University, a widely exhibited painter of small abstract paintings, and a much-anthologised and -published poet.

Italian pianist Claudio Crismani ‘is an amazing, daring and magnetic artist.’

Francis Bacon Collection. The Francis Bacon Collection of the drawings donated to Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino: This association exists to collect and catalogue the Italian drawings of Francis Bacon. The collection consists of a large number of drawings, created between 1970 and 1990. The drawings were a gift from Bacon to his Italian friend Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino. 

St Stephen Walbrook is an Anglican Parish Church rich in heritage, but one which remains actively involved in the City of London. In 2017 its art programme includes exhibitions of Jamaican spiritual art (3 – 14 July), solo exhibitions by Terry Ffyffe (15 May - 9 June) and Alexander de Cadenet (2 - 27 October), and a group show by commission4mission (4 – 15 September). On Holy Saturday (15 April), we will premiere 'The Stations of the Cross' (14 videos installed at an all night vigil) featuring work by video-artist, Mark Dean, and choreographer, Lizzi Kew Ross, as part of a wider project also including 'The Stations of the Resurrection' (a 12-screen work installed under the Dome of St.Paul's Cathedral) on 26 April. Each event incorporates performances of 'Being Here', a newly devised work for five dancers.

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

Arvo Part - Passio.