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Sunday, 16 January 2022

humbler church Bigger God w/c 16 January 2022

 






We're looking forward to welcoming you to an exciting new HeartEdge programme for 2022 and hope you will be able to join us, whether at online events or at our in-person events around the world. You can find all our events on our website — and if you're a HeartEdge partner, you can upload your own events through the members' area.

Last year, we launched Living God's Future Now, an online festival of theology and practice. We hosted workshops, webinars, spaces to gather and share ideas, lecture series, and more. This year, we're continuing our programming with a new theme — humbler church, Bigger God. We hope this reflects the lessons we've learnt from the past year: still trying to live God's future now, re-imagining our faith and our calling as a Church in a changing world. Thank you for joining us for the journey — we can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Tuesday

Sermon Preparation with Sally Hitchiner and Sam Wells
Join us for our weekly discussion of the lectionary readings for the coming Sunday with Sam Wells and Sally Hitchiner.
Tuesdays 4.30 - 5.30pm BST live-streamed here.

Jesus is Just Alright: Rocking the Church Calendar
Join Jonathan Evens and composer Delvyn Case as they share pop and rock music for Christmas.
Tuesday 18 January, 19:00-20:00 (GMT), Zoom. Register for a Zoom code here.

Wednesday

Community of Practitioners workshop
Wednesday 19 January, 16:00-17.00 (GMT), Zoom. Email jonathan.evens@smitf.org to register.
This is a space for practitioners, lay and ordained, to reflect on theology and practice. Each week, we alternate between 'Wonderings' and discussion of a theology book. This week we will be using 'Wonderings' to reflect on the past week.

Thursday

Pioneer Practice with Jonny Baker and guests
Thursday 20 January, 20:00-21:00 (GMT), Zoom. Register here.
In our four-part webinar series, Jonny Baker will be joined each week in conversation with guests to explore on-the-ground practicalities of pioneer ministry. Come along if you’re thinking of starting a new congregation or initiative, want to brainstorm practical solutions to problems in pioneer ministry, or just want to learn more about pioneering.

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Igor Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Art and faith: Decades of engagement - 1920s

This is Part 5 in a series of posts which aim to demonstrate the breadth of engagement there has been between the Arts and religion within the modern period and into our contemporary experience. The idea is to provide a brief introduction to the artists and initiatives that were prominent in each decade to enable further research. Inevitably, these lists will be partial as there is much that I don’t know and the lists reflect my interests and biases. As such, the primary, but not exclusive, focus is on artists that have engaged with the Christian tradition.

The introduction and the remainder of the series can be found at: Introduction, 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s.
  • Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavansdatter (1920 - 1922) and Master of Hestviken (1925 – 1927), Georges Bernanos’ Under the Star of Satan (1927) and Joy (1928), Francois Mauriac’s Le Desert de l’amour (1925), Thérèse Desqueyroux (1927), and Destins (1928), Dorothy L. Sayers’ first novel Whose Body? (1923), Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (1923), Alfred Noyes’ The Return of the Scare-Crow (1929) are published.
  • In 1920, Maire-Alain Couturier begins studying at the Ateliers d'Art Sacré. 
  • Art and Scholasticism by Jacques Maritain is published in 1920. It was in thinking of Rouault that Maritain wrote Art and Scholasticism and he also made frequent references to his artist friend in Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry (1953).
  • In 1920, Louis Barillet meets Jacques Le Chevalier and they begin collaborating on their first stained glass windows founding their own workshop. Jean Hébert-Stevens and Pauline Peugniez do the same in 1923. Barillet and Le Chevalier found L'Arch et les Artisans de l'Autel, (The Arc and the Artisans of the Altar).
  • During the 1920s, Bernard Walke, the Vicar of St Hilary’s in Cornwall invites many Newlyn School artists to contribute works to decorate the church and also installs statues and other paintings from other sources. The majority of the new work, including the white crucifix, the pulpit and two relief works on copper is executed by Ernest Procter. Other artists include Dod Procter, Norman Garstin, Alethea Garstin, Harold Knight, Harold Harvey, Roger Fry and Annie Walke. Some of the artifacts and Walke’s Anglo-Catholic practices are highly controversial and result in a Consistory Court and a raid by Protestant activists in 1932. Items are removed, some damaged in the process, but over the succeeding years many are returned.
  • In 1920, the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic is formed at Ditchling. David Jones becomes a Roman Catholic in 1921 and joins Eric Gill at Ditchling.
  • El Cristo de Velázquez (The Christ of Velázquez) (1920) is a religious work of poetry by Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, divided into four parts, where Unamuno analyzes the figure of Christ from different perspectives. For Unamuno, the art of poetry was a way of expressing spiritual problems. His themes were the same in his poetry as in his fiction: spiritual anguish, the pain provoked by the silence of God, time and death.
  • In 1921, Max Jacob leaves Paris for Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire to live in the town’s historic abbey and in nearby rooms. He attends daily Mass, writes poetry, and paints in gouache.
  • In 1921, Mainie Jellett and Evie Hone ask Albert Gleizes to become their teacher.
  • In March-April 1922 the statutes of the Maritain’s Thomistic Circles are drawn up with Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange becoming advisor of the circles. Prayer and Intelligence is to be provided by by Jacques and Raïssa. September 30 -- October 4 sees the first retreat of the Thomistic Circles preached by Garrigou-Lagrange at Versailles.
  • L’Arche participate in the exhibition of Christian Art in Paris in 1922.
  • In 1922, G.K. Chesterton is received into the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Alfred Noyes' epic verse trilogy The Torch-Bearers – comprising Watchers of the Sky (1922), The Book of Earth (1925) and The Last Voyage (1930) – is an eloquent exposition of a religious synthesis with the history of science.
  • On 5 June 1923 Jacques and Raïssa Maritain move to 10 rue du Parc at Meudon, where they will live until war breaks out in 1940. September 26-30 sees the second retreat of the Thomistic Circles at Meudon. These will continue annually until 1940, save for 1936.
  • Gino Severini returns to the Roman Catholic Church in 1923, initially through Jacques Maritain.
  • In 1923, Maurice Denis, Marie-Alain Couturier, and Marguerite Huré create the first abstract stained-glass windows in the church of Notre Dame du Raincy, built by Auguste Perret.
  • Valentine Reyre creates Christ aux outrages for the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Wisques in 1923 and a Virgin of the Apocalypse for the church of the French Village of the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in 1925.
  • In 1924, Gino Severini receives his first church commission, wall paintings for the Swiss church of Saint Nicolas de Myre in Semsales. The work is completed between 1924 and 1926.
  • After befriending a Russian Orthodox priest, Father Nicholas, following his move to Nice in 1924, Igor Stravinsky reconnects with his faith. He rejoins the Russian Orthodox Church and afterwards remains a committed Christian.
  • In 1925 Jean Cocteau meets Père Henrion at Meudon and three days later makes his confession. In January 1926, Cocteau’s Letter to Jacques Maritain is published and, at the same time, Maritain’s Reply to Jean Cocteau. The exchange is published in English as Art and Faith.
  • In 1925, the Society of Spiritual Artists is founded in Hungary, with Barna Basilides as a founding member.
  • G.K.'s Weekly, a publication by G. K. Chesterton, is founded in 1925 (its pilot edition appearing in late 1924), which continues until his death in 1936. Its articles typically discuss topical cultural, political, and socio-economic issues as well as poems, cartoons, and other such material that pique Chesterton's interest. It contains much of his journalistic work done in the latter part of his life, and extracts from it are published as the book The Outline of Sanity. Among those whose work appears in G. K.'s Weekly are E. C. Bentley, Alfred Noyes, Ezra Pound, George Bernard Shaw, and George Orwell. The publication advocates the philosophy of distributism in contrast to centre-right and centre-left attitudes regarding socialism and industrialism.
  • Antoni Gaudi dies in 1926 with the Sagrada Familia uncompleted.
  • Together with Dom Paul Bellot, Maurice Stolz constructs the Saint-Crysole church in Comines (North) from 1926-1928.
  • In 1926, Stanley Spencer begins work on his commission to fill a new chapel at Burghclere with images of his experiences in the First World War, at home and abroad.
  • In 1926, Georges Desvallières paints L’Ascension and O Salutaris Hostia for the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Pawtucket (New England).
  • Hugo Ball publishes Byzantinisches Christentum (1923) and Flucht aus der Zeit (1927), his diaries covering the beginnings of Dada and his conversion. He dies of stomach cancer in 1927.
  • Bernard Walke’s Christmas story play ‘Bethlehem’ is broadcast from St Hilary’s on Christmas Eve in 1927 and it was the first ever BBC Radio drama to be broadcast from outside the BBC studios.
  • In 1927, Albert Gleizes establishes an artists’ commune at Moly Sabata, where he is joined by Robert Pouyaud, François Manevy, César Geoffrey, Mido, and Anne Dangar.
  • Alfred Noyes converts to Catholicism in 1927.
  • From the 1920s through the 1930s, groups such as the Dixie Hummingbirds, who formed in 1928, become popular. Such groups sing, usually unaccompanied, in jubilee style, mixing careful harmonies, melodious singing, playful syncopation and sophisticated arrangements to produce a fresh, experimental style far removed from the more sombre style of hymn-singing.
  • In 1928, T.S. Eliot announced to a startled world, and the disapproval of his contemporaries, that his general point of view could be described as ‘classicist in literature, royalist in politics and anglo-catholic in religion.’ The previous year he had been baptised behind closed doors in Finstock Church, near Oxford.
  • In 1928, Rot-Blau (Red-Blue) is formed in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Hans Stocker and Otto Staiger. Together, they win the Basel-Stadt art credit competition for the stained-glass windows of the Antonius Church in Basel. Stocker becomes an innovator of church art in Switzerland and creates stained-glass for the Catholic cathedral in Kyōto which is designed by the Swiss architect Karl Freuler.
  • In 1928, while attending a church service with his sister-in-law, Thomas A. Dorsey claims the minister who prays over him pulled a live serpent from his throat, prompting his immediate recovery from a two-year long depression. Thereafter, he vows to concentrate all his efforts in gospel music. After the death of a close friend, Dorsey is inspired to write his first religious song with a blues influence, ‘If You See My Savior, Tell Him That You Saw Me’.
  • As Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, George Bell commissions a new play from John Masefield which is performed in 1928, an event which, in large part, led to the establishing of a series of Canterbury plays. Bell writes to the cast, ‘We have lighted a torch which nothing can extinguish and have given a witness to the fellowship of Religion and Poetry and Art, which will go on telling in ways far beyond our own imagination.’
  • Sigrid Undset is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928.
  • In 1929, Richard Seewald converts to Catholicism in the Collegio Papio of the Benedictines in Ascona and accepts orders for murals in sacred spaces including the chapel SS. Annunziatain Ronco.
  • In his 1929 enthronement address as Bishop of Chichester, George Bell expresses his commitment to a much closer relationship between the Anglican Church and the arts.
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People! - I Love You.

Windows on the world (362)


 London, 2021

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The Alpha Band - Not Everything Has A Price.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Art and faith: Decades of engagement - 1910s

This is Part 4 in a series of posts which aim to demonstrate the breadth of engagement there has been between the Arts and religion within the modern period and into our contemporary experience. The idea is to provide a brief introduction to the artists and initiatives that were prominent in each decade to enable further research. Inevitably, these lists will be partial as there is much that I don’t know and the lists reflect my interests and biases. As such, the primary, but not exclusive, focus is on artists that have engaged with the Christian tradition.

The introduction and the remainder of the series can be found at: Introduction, 1880s, 1890s, 1900s.
  • In 1910, Georges Rouault has his first works exhibited in the Druet Gallery. His works are studied by German artists from Dresden, who later form the nucleus of expressionism.
  • Wassily Kandinsky publishes Concerning the Spiritual in Art in 1911, the year that he painted his first fully abstract work.
  • The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton is published in 1911. Horace Blake by Mrs Wilfrid Ward is published in 1913.
  • From 1911, Alexandre Cingria, Maurice Denis and Marcel Poncet collaborate on the decoration of Saint Paul à Grange-Canal in Geneva. The decoration of the church causes a sensation in French-speaking Switzerland and abroad when completed in 1926, because its creation and design make clear—contra popular opinion at the time—the religious possibilities of modern art and its compatibility with the demands of tradition, liturgy, and doctrine. The architect Alphonse Guyonnet builds and restores several churches in Switzerland—in Corsier, Carouge, and Tavannes—working with artists from the Groupe de Saint-Luc et Saint-Maurice (Group of St. Luke and St. Maurice), which he joins in 1926 but with whom he first worked here.
  • In 1911, the Society of Saint John (for the development of Christian art) organizes at the Pavillon de Marsan a first "Modern Christian Art Exhibition", followed by many others, such as those presented at the Galliera Museum in 1934 and 1939.
  • Natalia Goncharova's St. Michael of 1911-1912, recalling a popular image of the archangel from a 1668 religious lubok, the Virgin and Child of 1910, and the multi-panel work entitled The Four Evangelists of 1911, which show the influence of Orthodox icons, are among dozens of religiously themed paintings she creates in the years preceding the Russian Revolution. Goncharova’s works of 1910 to 1914 continually rely on the Russian icon, biblical imagery, and spirited Russian country life.
  • Charles Péguy’s poetry - Le Porche du Mystère de la Deuxième Vertu (1912), La Tapisserie de Sainte Geneviève et de Jeanne d'Arc (1913), La Tapisserie de Notre-Dame (1913), Ève (1913) – and plays - Le Mystère de la Charité de Jeanne d'Arc (1910) and Le Mystère des Saints Innocents (1912) – are published. An earlier play, Jeanne d'Arc, had appeared in 1897. When the first world war breaks out, he becomes a lieutenant in the French 276th Infantry Regiment and dies in battle in 1914.
  • Paul Claudel publishes poetry, including Cinq Grandes Odes (1910) and Corona benignatis anni Dei (1914), and plays, including L'Annonce faite à Marie (1910), the trilogy L'Otage (1911), and Le Pain dur (1918).
  • In 1913, a delegation led by SPAB member Lord Curzon lobbies the Church of England to take its wealth of architecture seriously. This results in the establishment of Diocesan Advisory Committees (DACs).
  • Eric Gill is 31 and had been a sculptor for just three years when, in August 1913, he is approached by John Marshall, the architect-in-charge at Westminster Cathedral, to create Stations of the Cross. Gill works on the Stations between 1914 and Good Friday 1918, when they are dedicated.
  • Adya van Rees converts to the Roman Catholic church in 1914.
  • In 1915, Augusto Giacometti receives his first public commissions in Switzerland: a mosaic for a fountain at the University of Zurich and a tempera canvas portraying The Morning of the Resurrection for the church of San Pietro in Coltura. It is one of the first paintings to be displayed in a Swiss protestant church.
  • In 1915, Louis Rivier completes the decoration of the church of Saint-Jean de Cour in Lausanne. As a Protestant artist, Rivier manages to break the mistrust of his church. His work is found in Protestant churches as frescoes or stained glass, notably in Mex, Bercher, Denezy, Bottens or in the Lausanne churches of Terreaux, and de Villard. He is the creator of 17 stained-glass windows in the cathedral of Lausanne and also decorates the Greek Orthodox Church of Lausanne Agios Gerassimos.
  • Following two visions of Jesus, Max Jacob is baptised in 1915 into the Roman Catholic church, with Pablo Picasso as his godfather. He recounts his conversion in poetic prose works including Saint Matorel and La Defense de Tartufe.
  • Kazimir Malevich unveiled his Black Square at the The Last Exhibition of Futurist Painting 0.10 held in St Petersburg (which had been renamed Petrograd) in December 1915. He was keen to showcase suprematism, his new idea, and Black Square was placed high up on the wall across the corner of room in the same sacred spot that a Russian Orthodox icon of a saint would sit in a traditional Russian home. Malevich wanted to show the Black Square to be of spiritual significance.
  • In 1916, Conrad Noel and Gustav Holst create the Whitsun Festival, a four-day musical festival at Thaxted. The first festival includes St Paul’s Girls’ pupils and adults from Morley College, in London where Holst also teaches evening classes to people catching up with their education. They say it was “a little bit of heaven they went to Tuesday nights.” By the second Whitsun festival in 1917, Noel had discovered the words of a mediaeval carol 'This have I done for my true love'. He pins this up on the church door. Someone complains to the bishop about Noels' use of secular lyrics in church and the bishop reproaches Noel, who is able to reply that the carol has been sung since mediaeval times. Holst sets the words to new music, and the result is one of Holst best-loved sacred works, second-only to 'In the bleak mid-winter'.
  • In 1916, the Cabaret Voltaire present a performance of Hugo Ball’s Krippenspiel (Nativity Play), a simultaneous poem and bruitist “noise concert” that corresponded to and accompanied readings from the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ. During the Galerie Dada in 1917, Ball gives a lecture about Wassily Kandinsky in which he speaks about the social and spiritual role of the contemporary artist.
  • Christian Rohlfs’s intense Expressionist prints reveal the impact of the First World War, yet his response to this conflict also leads him to the redemptive biblical themes seen in Return of the Prodigal Son (1916) and Mountain Sermon (1916). 
  • The theologian and philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev, in The Meaning of the Creative Act (1916) and again in The Destiny of Man (1936) sees "art as an important force standing against and calling into question the cultural powers of objectification".
  • In 1917, a performance of The Mystery of the Epiphany by B.C. Boulter is staged at the church of St Silas-the-Martyr, Kentish Town, in 1917. By 1928, the critic of the Sunday Express thinks that plays of some sort have been produced in as many as 100 churches.
  • Georges Rouault begins his Miserere series of 58 black and white engravings (1917-27), many of which are re-workings of his paintings. The series is a kind of summary expression of the artist’s concern for inward and ultimate truth.
  • In 1917, Maurice Storez founds L'Arche with the painter Valentine Reyre, the embroiderer Sabine Desvallières, the goldsmith Luc Lanel, the architects Jacques Droz, Maurice Brissart and Dom Paul Bellot, and the sculptors Fernand Py and Henri Charlier.
  • In 1917 Alexandre Cingria publishes a manifesto La Décadence d'art sacré, which, in the opinion of William S. Rubin, ‘constituted the first serious confrontation of the problem of modern religious art’ and ‘elicited considerable interest throughout Catholic intellectual and artistic circles’. Paul Claudel responds with a famous letter in which he describes the contemporary churches against which Cingria was reacting, as ‘heavily laden confessions.’
  • Piet Mondrian publishes his theory of neoplasticism as ‘De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst’ in twelve instalments over 1917 and 1918. Neoplasticism involves horizontal and vertical configurations of squares and rectangles. He was influenced by M. H. J. Schoenmaekers, a Theosophist and mathematician, who wrote in a 1915 essay: ‘The two fundamental and absolute extremes that shape our planet are: on the one hand the line of the horizontal force, namely the trajectory of the Earth around the Sun, and on the other vertical and essentially spatial movement of the rays that issue from the center of the Sun... the three essential colors are yellow, blue, and red. There exist no other colors besides these three.’ Mondrian moves to Paris and begins work on the grid-based paintings for which he has become best known, with gray or black lines as structure for blocks of white, gray, and primary colours.
  • Despite a 'revelation' at Pelham, near New York, in 1918 when he is converted to belief in God, and despite his admiration for the Western Christian tradition, Albert Gleizes does not formally enter the Roman Catholic Church until 1941-2.
  • On July 29, 1918, Hilary Pepler, Eric Gill, his wife Mary and his apprentice Desmond Chute join the Third Order of the Dominicans.
  • Robert Bridges publishes Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1918.
  • In 1919 a commission for Stations of the Cross is given to Albert Servaes for the church of the Discalced Carmelites in Luythagen, a suburb of Antwerp. In 1921, a decree from the Holy Office based on Canon 1399.12, which states that images may not be ‘unusual’, results in first the Stations and then the altarpiece by Servaes being removed from the church. In an effort to support and explore Servaes' spiritual vision, Dutch Carmelite friar Titus Brandsma has the images published in Opgang, a Catholic cultural review. Alongside each image, Brandsma adds his own meditation.
  • During the 1914-1918 war, Georges Desvallières lost a son in action. From that moment, he devotes himself to religious painting. The flag of the Sacred Heart created in 1919 recalls the death of this child. Maurice Storez places the canvas in Notre-Dame de Verneuil church, above the monument to the dead of the Great War.
  • Maurice Denis and George Desvallières found the Ateliers de l’Art Sacré in Paris in 1919. In the same year Alexandre Cingria and Georges de Traz jointly found the Groupe de Saint-Luc et Saint-Maurice to “develop religious art.” Les Artisans de l'Autel is  also founded in 1919 by Paul Croix -Marie, sculptor. Up to 1940 Denis and Desvallières carry out together major plans for church decoration, and other religious projects in which their pupils participate actively: Pavillion de Marsan (1921), the religious section created by Desvallières at the Salon d’Automne (1922), the Church of the French Village at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs (1925) for which Desvallières painted La Sainte Face (The Holy Face), the Eglise du Saint Esprit (Church of the Holy Spirit in Paris: 1935) and the Pontifical Pavilion at the Exposition Internationale (1937).
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Gustav Holst - This have I done for my true love.

Ministry and withdrawal, ministry and moving out

Here's the reflection I shared during today's Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

Mark’s Gospel begins a little like an action movie. Before we have completed the first chapter John the Baptist has preached, Jesus has been baptised, tempted in the desert, called the disciples, and healed a man in the synagogue. The pace of action is breathtaking. Read it at home and see for yourself!

So we are still in the first chapter with today’s Gospel reading (Mark 1. 29-39) and, although that is the case, we have here ten verses that show us the pattern of Jesus’ whole ministry. This is what Mark is so good at doing. He doesn’t just tell us the story straight; this happened, then that happened. Instead he tells stories that sum up what the whole of Jesus’ mission and ministry were about, so that we can follow in Jesus’ footsteps by doing the same.

The first pattern that we see in this story is the balance been ministry and spirituality. The first few verses of the story describe an intense period of ministry. Jesus returns from the synagogue where he has just healed a man to find that Simon’s mother-in-law is unwell. He heals her and then spends the evening healing many “who were sick with all kinds of diseases and drove out many demons.” We know how busy and exhausted we can often feel through the ministry we do in our workplaces, homes, community and here at St Martin’s. We can imagine how Jesus would have felt following his day of ministry.

In the morning, everyone is again looking for Jesus but he is nowhere to be found. Long before daylight he had got up, left the town and gone to a lonely place where he could pray. In order to pray effectively and well to needed to get away from the demands of ministry and away from his disciples. He needed to be alone with God in order to recharge his batteries for further ministry to come and this is Jesus’ pattern throughout his ministry; active mission together with others, combined with withdrawal for individual prayer and recuperation.

This needs to be our pattern too. The busyness of ministry here at St Martin’s and in our weekday lives cannot be sustained if it is not fed by regular times of withdrawal for prayer and recuperation. The two are clearly separated in Jesus’ live and ministry and he is prepared to disappoint people, as in this story, in order to ensure that he has the times of prayer and recuperation that he needs in our to sustain his active ministry. This is why prayer and spirituality is prioritised here at St Martin’s.

The second pattern that we find in this story is that of ministry and moving on. Jesus has this time of active ministry with the people at Capernaum and then he moves on to preach in the other villages around this town and indeed across the whole of Galilee. The people don’t want him to go. The disciples tell Jesus that everyone is looking for him. They want more of what he has already given them. But he refuses them and moves on to preach to others.

There are two aspects to the pattern of Jesus’ ministry here. First, is his concern for all to hear. That is why he has come, he says, that he should bring God’s message to all. We need that same motivation. The message of salvation cannot stay wrapped up inside this building or our congregation, but must go out from here.

That also needs to happen for our own growth and development. We grow as Christians not by staying where we are and being ministered to but by getting up and following in Jesus’ footsteps ourselves; by becoming active ministers of the Gospel ourselves. That is why Jesus constantly challenges his hearers to take up their cross and follow him. It is not that he wants to condemn all of us to suffering and a hard life instead he wants us to become people who learn how to give more than we receive.

If all that we do as Christians is receive then our faith is ultimately a selfish one that is about what we can gain for ourselves. But what Jesus models for us is a way of life based on giving not getting and it is as we follow in his footsteps by giving that we grow and mature as Christians not the other way around. When we get up and go, we are putting our faith into action and genuinely trusting God. In that way, our faith is stretched and strengthened and grows.

William Temple, who was probably the greatest twentieth century Archbishop of Canterbury, famously said, “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.” What he meant is that the Church is not about us members getting our needs and wants satisfied; it is instead about equipping and motivating us, the members, to bless others in the love of Christ. That is what Jesus sought to achieve by moving from town to town, village to village and challenging his disciples to travel with him.

We need to mirror these patterns of ministry and withdrawal, ministry and moving out in our lives and our Church. St Martin’s is a society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members. As we follow Christ, we cannot simply be about getting our needs and wants satisfied but need to be about being equipped by God through times of prayer and recuperation to be signs of Christ outside of this building, outside of our congregation, out where it makes a difference, out in our communities and workplaces. May it be so for each one of us. Amen.

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Morten Lauridsen - O Magnum Mysterium.

Irina Bradley 'Metamorphosis' exhibition

An exhibition by an artist who specialises in iconography has opened at the London Jesuit Centre in Mayfair, with some icons also displayed next door at Farm Street Church, home of the British Jesuits.

The artist, Dr Irina Bradley, is one of the leading iconographers in the UK and her works have been exhibited at Buckingham Palace, Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford, Cumberland Lodge in Great Windsor Park, and other prestigious venues.

There are approximately 75 pieces in this new exhibition, entitled ‘Metamorphosis’, including a new icon of St Magnus Erlendsson. The image is based on the recent facial reconstruction of the saint, which in turn drew on photographs from the 1920s of what is said to be the skull of the 12th Century Norse earl: Face of Orkney's St Magnus reconstructed - BBC News

Irina's icons are created to be prayerful meditations which focus on the the transformation which takes place in the souls of the faithful. While working on the icon of St Magnus, Irina said it was as though the saint was staring into her soul.

Before she began work on the icon, Irina made a pilgrimage to St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall in Orkney to allow her to connect with the saint. While there, she was allowed to examine a representation of the family tree of St Magnus and was surprised to discover that the saint and her husband share a common ancestor.

Irina is an orthodox Christian herself and follows the tradition of icon painters from the past, who fast and pray while making their works of art. Often seen as historical art, Irina is creating contemporary icons which keep the art of iconography alive while remaining true to its principals.

The exhibition runs until 10th February 2022.

You can listen to an interview Irina did about her work with BBC Radio Orkney on 6th January 2022 by clicking on the link below.

Dr Irina Bradley interviewed about her icons - YouTube.

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Erik Satie - Gymnopédie No.1.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Team Rector in Wickford and Runwell

I have recently been offered and have accepted the role of Team Rector in the Wickford and Runwell Team Ministry. This will mean that I will be moving on from St Martin's after Easter. At St Martin's this morning I said the following about this exciting new role:

'I have taken this decision because I am ready for a new challenge in the role at Wickford and Runwell, the new role will work well for us as a family, and because I think the next phase of development for HeartEdge needs a different set of skills from those I bring to the role.

I have loved my time at St Martin's with you all. This is a very special community in which I have experienced great love, support and encouragement. I will find it very difficult to leave as a result. I have been excited, stimulated and stretched by the opportunity to be involved in the growth and development of HeartEdge. I am proud of the growth and development of HeartEdge and all that it has achieved as a movement for renewal to date. I hope I can make good use of the experiences I have had here in my new role. There are exciting developments for HeartEdge in Essex and the Chelmsford Diocese, so I hope to stay connected in in that way.

Wickford is a small, but growing, town in Essex, near to Basildon. There are three churches in the team and opportunities to explore how the learning and experiences I have been privileged to have in HeartEdge and St Martin's can be of use to the team and churches in Wickford and Runwell. I look forward, too, to getting to know the team and congregations over the months to come and to all that I will learn from them.

I want to take this first opportunity to thank all of you for the love, support and encouragement you have shown to me in my time here, to use the next few months to hand over my responsibilities here in ways that support the next stage in their development, and to ask your prayers for me and my family in this new phase of our life and ministry. Also for Wickford and Runwell as we look for the energy and life of God's Holy Spirit in that community so we can get involved in all that God is already doing there. Thank you.'

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Bread for the World - Epiphany.