Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

The return of (G)race

Conversations about (G)race is back with Chine McDonald on home and Greenbelt, the power of personal story, redeeming white spaces, uncovering African spirituality & facing up to whiteness. Just an inspiring discussion! With Azariah France-Williams & Winnie Varghese. Produced by Rosie Dawson for HeartEdge, have a listen here.

Earlier episodes in the series are:

3. Sharon Lewis 'Afro-Futurism and recovering faith'

"Your work, the spirit is pulsating through it... it's deeply spiritual..." Writer, director and award-winning film maker, Sharon Lewis in conversation about God and race with Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese. "Black History Month perpetually keeps us in the past... in an iconography we're repressed... We did rebel! We did fight back! We survived and thrived! We were not decimated in terms of spirit... The very basis of Black Future Month is that we exist..." Sharon, Azariah and Winnie on Christianity colonised (and releasing colonial attitudes), coding the future, extending sci-fi, giving up Jesus and recovering Christianity and the church, being angry... and dodgy haircuts...

2. David Neita 'Barriers, boundaries and finding home'

UK based poet and lawyer David Neita in conversation with Azariah France-Williams and Winnie Varghese. “I belong to the Lord – so this is my space…” How to build a space that is welcoming, diverse and hospitable. Plus, poverty, inequality and the importance of poetry to navigate the justice system… And birthing something creative into the world.

1. Broderick Greer 'Black imagination, white reactions'

Broderick Greer Canon Precentor at Saint John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado US in transatlantic conversation with Azariah France-Williams (UK) and Winnie Varghese (US). Talking God and race - on black resistance, black dignity and joy - and 'being the allies'. Plus the ravages of white supremacy and finding freedom. And how do you pronounce (G)race?


Valerie June - Pushing Against A Stone.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Artlyst: Chaiya Art Awards 2021 Gallery OXO

My latest article for Artlyst shares reflections on the experience of having been a judge for the Chaiya Art Awards 2021:

'The varied artwork in this exhibition represents a hand-picked selection of artists sharing their imagination, their creative talent and their unique response to the theme of ‘God is …’ Exhibition curator Lesley Sutton summarises their work: ‘As viewers, our eyes meet the emotions of the artists, their colour palettes revealing personal narratives. Some speak of pain and suffering, questioning where God is when days are dark and He seems to have abandoned us. Others have used brightly coloured canvases of cerulean blue, gilded squares or intricately carved sculptures to invite us to delight in the beauty of the world we call home. Yet others have chosen to remind us of our responsibility as caretakers of the earth and sea and all its inhabitants.’

As judges we have been looking for originality and technical excellence in the artist’s submissions. The call for work asked artists to be authentic and daring. The exhibition will show that these artists have not disappointed us. The Winners Exhibition is a showcase of innovative and exciting artists expressing their creativity in response to spirituality and offering the opportunity to view beautiful and inspiring art that is often difficult to find on display elsewhere.'

“God is . . .” runs at Gallery@OXO, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH from 14 to 23 May 2021, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day (till 4 p.m. on last day). It can also be viewed online at The 2021 Award winners can be found by clicking here. My exhibition review for Church Times can be found at My Artlyst interview of Chaiya Art Awards founder Katrina Moss can be read here and my ArtWay visual meditation on the winning entry in the 2018 Awards is here
My other pieces for Artlyst are:

Interviews -
Articles -


Gillian Welch - By The Mark.

Artlyst: Marc Chagall’s Exquisite Stained Glass Window Commissions

My latest article for Artlyst is about 'Chagall. The Emissary of Light' at Centre Pompidou-Metz:

'‘Chagall. The Emissary of Light’ explores the importance of light and of stained-glass in his work by comparing preparatory drawings and finished windows, alongside a collection made up of paintings, sculptures, graphic works, and archives detailing the history of these commissions, his collaboration with master glassmakers and his free use of signs and symbols, in keeping with his humanist ideal of freedom and peace...

The exhibition enables the rediscovery of the significance of stained glass attained within an oeuvre that finds connections between art movements and techniques, the secular and sacred, Judaism and Christianity, shared and personal history, tradition and subversion, while remaining outside of any dogma. Above all else, for Chagall, stained-glass represents the best place for the apparition of invisible forces. As glass fuses with painting, joining forces with celestial beams and architecture, “something mystical … passes through the window”.'

My other pieces for Artlyst are:

Interviews -
Articles -

Sister Irene O'Connor - Fire (Of God's Love).

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Zi Ling: Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition

I'm looking forward to seeing new work by Zi Ling this week in the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition at Mall Galleries - 20 - 29 May 2021.

Zi Ling (b. 1985, HuangShan, China) is a visual artist based in Bristol. She was born to the Chinese painter HuiTao Lin, a pioneer of the 85 New Wave Movement. Since the age of four, she received formal training from him in drawings.

She has studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Chelsea College of Arts and Central Academy of Fine Arts China.

Her work of etchings, watercolours, drawings, video art and mixed medium have been displayed at many prestigious venues and exhibitions. She received the Cass Art Prize (2019), DAC Beachcroft Space Prize (2018), Frank Herring Easel Award (2018), First Prize of Leathersellers Award (2016), and the Rosemary & Co. Prize (2015) from the Princess Michael of Kent.

She is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the co-Artistic Director of the theatre company Eldarin Yeong Studio.

See Ling's work here and here

During her early years she focused mainly on etching, fascinated with mark making of abstract figures. Now the relationship between brush, colour and paper is what excites her in portrait painting using watercolour as her medium. Ling observes people and also finds emotional moments from photographic images as inspiration. With watercolour, she trusts her intuition before making any marks. She thinks each portrait is a result of whatever truth one feels at the very beginning. Colour is important to her because for her it represents different personalities and realities.


 Joni Mitchell - Song For Sharon.

Living God's Future Now - w/c 16 May 2021

'Living God’s Future Now’ is our mini online festival of theology, ideas and practice.

We’ve developed this in response to the pandemic and our changing world. The church is changing too, and - as we improvise and experiment - we can learn and support each other.

This is 'Living God’s Future Now’ - talks, workshops and discussion - hosted by HeartEdge. Created to equip, encourage and energise churches - from leaders to volunteers and enquirers - at the heart and on the edge.

The focal event in ‘Living God’s Future Now’ is a monthly conversation where Sam Wells explores what it means to improvise on God’s kingdom with a leading theologian or practitioner.

The online programme includes:
  • Regular weekly workshops: Biblical Studies (Mondays - fortnightly), Sermon Preparation (Tuesdays) and Community of Practitioners (Wednesdays)
  • One-off workshops on topics relevant to lockdown such as ‘Growing online communities’ and ‘Grief, Loss & Remembering’
  • Monthly HeartEdge dialogue featuring Sam Wells in conversation with a noted theologian or practitioner
W/c 16 May 2021


Inspired to Follow
Sunday 16 May, 14:00 (BST)
Register here.
‘Inspired to Follow: Art and the Bible Story’ helps people explore the Christian faith, using paintings and Biblical story as the starting points. Session 18: Pentecost. Text: Acts 2:1-39 (extracts). Image: ‘Pentecost’, Giotto and Workshop, about.1310-18, NG5360.


Sermon Prep Sally Hitchiner and Sam Wells
Tuesday 18 May 16:30 -17:30 (BST)
Live streamed on the HeartEdge Facebook page here.
A live preaching workshop focusing on the forthcoming Sunday's lectionary readings in the light of current events and sharing of thoughts on approaches to the passages.


Community of Practitioners workshop
Wednesday 19 May 16:00-17:00 (BST)
Email Jonathan Evens at to take part.
This is open to all, including ordinands and lay leaders. Church leaders join in community, share and reflect together on their recent experiences in the form of wonderings with one of the HeartEdge team and book discussions.


Relay to COP26 - Short Information Session
Thursday 20 May, 16:00-17:00 (BST)
Reg here.
Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) are coordinating a ‘Relay to COP26’, asking that the UK government uses its influence to ensure no country gets pushed into debt because of climate change. Join us for a one-hour informal briefing and discussion about how HeartEdge churches can participate in the Relay to COP26.


Shut In, Shut Out, Shut Up Season 4: Ableism, Faith & Church
Friday 21 May, 16:30-18:00 ( BST)
Register here.
Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against disabled people. Like racism and sexism, it classifies entire groups of people as 'less than'. This series explores ableism, faith & church across context, culture and practice. Come and join the conversation with Fiona MacMillan, Krysia Waldock and Revd Rachel Noel.

Coming Up

Mission Summer School - 12 – 16 July 2021Zoom
12-16 July 2021
For more details and to reg click here
An opportunity to engage more deeply with the theology of mission and to explore how it relates to your own practice.Input structured around the four Cs of Commerce, Culture, Congregation and Compassion. A mix of teaching and conversation with leading scholars and practitioners including the Revd Dr Sam Wells, Professor Anthony Reddie, Dr Cathy Ross, and Revd Heather Cracknell, among others. Workshops to engage with the themes and issues presented. Encounters with churches, organisations and projects (HeartEdge and Fresh Expressions) to get a hands-on feel for how it works out in practice.

For more information please have a look at this video of Sam Wells telling us more, here.


Saturday, 15 May 2021

Windows on the world (327)


London, 2021


The Alpha Band - Born In Captivity.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Chaiya Art Awards: ‘God is . . .’ at Gallery@OXO

My latest review for Church Times is of Chaiya Art Awards 2021 winners exhibition at Gallery@OXO:

'The Chaiya Art Awards, with roots in Christianity but open to people of all faiths and none, is asking who or what God is, and continuing an age-old conversation in a modern setting with contemporary eyes. It is asking big questions while looking for inspiration from the wealth of the UK’s creatives. What have they found?

Glimpses of unvarnished reality which become moments of revelation are the pearls of great price or treasures buried to which artists attend; and that alertness to epiphany can clearly be discerned in much of the work included here.'

“God is . . .” runs at Gallery@OXO, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH from 14 to 23 May 2021, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every day (till 4 p.m. on last day). It can also be viewed online at The 2021 Award winners can be found by clicking here.

My Artlyst interview of Chaiya Art Awards founder Katrina Moss can be read here and my ArtWay visual meditation on the winning entry in the 2018 Awards is here

Other of my pieces for Church Times can be found here.


Emmylou Harris - Sweet Old World.