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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

HeartEdge out & about in the Autumn








Members of the HeartEdge team will be out and about in the autumn contributing to events organised by local churches and business networks.

The first event is 'Today's Church: A Call to Social Action' at St Martin's Church, Burton Agnes on Saturday 22 September.

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:35-36

If you feel called to respond in any way to these words of Jesus then come and join us! We shall have with us the Revd Jonathan Evens, Associate Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields London & Project Coordinator for HeartEdge and the Rt. Revd Alison White, Bishop of Hull. Please bring any food you may need. To book your place email hoppertiffy@hotmail.com or call 01262 490019 by 15th September 2018. Only £5.00 and refreshments included.'

In my talk I’ll be exploring how we might find our way to becoming abundant communities that open space for generosity and cooperation in models that serve local need and address social justice. I’ll also be talking about the five ‘goods’ of flourishing, fulfillment, inspiration, blessing, and hope and will be suggesting that care comes not out of self-important altruism but out of recognition of our own need, and desire to be transformed by the strangers God sends us.

I will then be speaking on 'Visual Art: re-imaging the Christian story' at St Luke's Maidenhead at 7.45pm on Thursday 27th September -see http://www.stlukeschurchmaidenhead.org.uk/Pages/CalendarF.html.

Bell Vue Baptist Southend will be hosting 'An Evening with Sam Wells' on Wednesday 3rd October, 6.30-9.30pm (Bell Vue Baptist Church, Southend on Sea, SS1 2QA). Doors open 6pm. Talk 1: 6.30pm Break: 7.45pm Talk 2: 8.20pm.

'Sam Wells is one of the best thinkers and practitioners we have today in the area of ministry and mission.

Last year with St Martin-in-the-Fields, his church, he launched HeartEdge a new network that wants to help churches find a future bigger than their past. At the centre of this vision is the importance of congregation, culture, commerce and compassion.

This will be an opportunity to hear him inspire and challenge us on what it mean for us to be the kind of church that survives and thrives in the context of world and kingdom.

www.bvbc.org.uk | @bvbc_southend | facebook.com/bellevuebaptist

Finally, we will be contributing to the Salt Conference 2018: #StandTogether, Friday, 05 October 2018 – 9.30am to 4.30pm at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH.

This is a conference organised by Christian Aid's SALT Business Network to explore faith, business and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The conference provides a unique opportunity to learn how you can be supported and equipped to be a changemaker in whichever business God has called you to.

Listen to business leaders from a range of sectors and hear how they’re transforming business, communities and lives.

Find out how you can join with other Christian business leaders to be a real force for good in the world.

Guest speakers include:
  • Paul Gerrad – Director, Group Policy and Campaigns, at The Co-operative Group
  • Lord Dr (Michael) Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE – Global Head of Citizenships for KPMG International
  • David Connor – founder of the 2030hub and Coethica
  • Sophi Tranchell MBE – Managing Director of Divine Chocolate, the innovative international Fairtrade cocoa cooperative in Ghana
  • Martin Rich – cofounder and Executive Director of Future Fit Foundation
As well as high profile speakers from across the faith and business spheres, there will be opportunities to take part in workshops on a wide range of topics such as:
  • Culture making at work
  • B Corps: using business as a force for good
  • Modern slavery in supply chains
  • Future Fit Business Benchmark
  • Finding your rhythm of grace
  • Stop:Start – 10 minute reflections for people on their way to work (led by HeartEdge)
  • The Bible and Business
  • Putting purpose into practice – some challenges and opportunities 
The conference is a day to inspire, support and equip Kingdom business leaders. Tickets cost £55 each.
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Innocence Mission - Look Out From Your Window.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Healing and wholeness: Dismantling the barriers to belonging

I was involved in a fascinating session on Healing, Wholeness and Holiness at the wonderful Parish Away Day for St Martin-in-the-Fields held last Saturday.

We were able to organise this session on the basis that St Martin’s has many people involved in health and wholeness in its broadest sense. The session drew on that rich diversity of experiences and perspectives to explore the holistic nature of healing ministry and how its many ‘branches’ connect to one vine. It was a rich opportunity to learn more about God and about one another, and our hope is that it will continue to grow the understanding of healing and wholeness that has been developing at St Martin’s. 

I contributed the following brief reflection and shared material on social prescribing as an approach which can encompass the range of healing that we were speaking about in the session and as another way of moving beyond the medical model of disability:
In the culture of Jesus’ time, disabled people - those with physical, sensory or mental health conditions, learning disability or neurodiversity - were actively excluded from the wider community and from worship at the Temple. Jesus’ healing ministry had the effect of re-including those who had been excluded in the wider community and in worship.

The key issue, however, was a culture which excluded others and which Jesus sought to address through his teaching about the Kingdom of God. Today, the best way to achieve this same aim within our society is by understanding and utilising the social model of disability, which recognises and seeks to dismantle the barriers to belonging that our society throws up through environment, structures and attitudes.

I see this branch of ministry connecting to the vine because when we explore and address these barriers in church and society – as we seek to do through our Disability Advisory Group and our annual conference on disability and Church together with Inclusive Church – we are doing what Jesus sought to do through his healing ministry.

Welcoming God, enable us to identify and remove the barriers to belonging which confront disabled people to ensure that all people can fully and wholly contribute to church and society. Amen.

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Van Morrison - The Healing Game.

Something Worth Sharing


Something Worth Sharing
Saturday 13 October - Sunday 14 October 2018
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London


A weekend of events to mark our 7th annual conference on Disability and Church, a partnership between St Martin-in-the-Fields and Inclusive Church.

Saturday 13 October
10.30am - 4.30pm, St Martin’s Hall
Something Worth Sharing

Disabled people can be isolated by experience or geography, and face barriers to belonging in churches and communities. What can we do to unlock gates and open our gifts? From access statements to advisory groups, using language and structure, connecting and gathering, we explore ideas and share practical resources for getting in and joining in.

Speakers include: June Boyce-Tillman, Tim Goode, Fiona MacMillan, Ann Memmott, Emily Richardson and Sam Wells

Through plenary talks and in small groups, with a silent space and a marketplace, this is a day to resource each other and the church. Organised by and for disabled people, supporters and people with an interest in disability issues.

Cost: £20/£10 concessions

Registration: www.inclusive-church.org/disability-conference-2018. Spaces are limited.

Sunday 14 October
10.00am - 11.30am
Eucharist and Healing Service for St Luke’s Day

This special service reflects the weekend’s themes using liturgy written by members of St Martin’s Disability Advisory Group and Healing Team. The service includes the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, accompanied by prayers for healing - for yourself, someone else or the wider world. All are welcome.

Sunday 14 October
2.00pm - 4.30pm, St Martin’s Hall
Something Worth Sharing: Defiant Lives

A special screening of this feature-length documentary followed by discussion of the issues and ideas. Defiant Lives tells the story of the disability rights movement in the UK, US and Australia, Mixing archive footage and recent interviews with disabled people who fought for a society where everyone can participate. All are welcome.

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/defiant-lives-tickets-47404939450/

Tickets are free with a retiring collection to cover costs - suggested donation £5.

https://defiantlives.com

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Victoria Williams & Vic Chesnutt - God Is Good.

Sacred Noise at Christie's

Sacred Noise explores themes of religion, faith and divinity in post-war and contemporary art through 30 works shown at Christie’s until 21 July. The exhibition seeks to chart the reinterpretation and subversion of these themes in the 20th century.

The starting point for Sacred Noise is the permission granted through Christ’s incarnation to depict the divine in human form which developed in the West in the direction of realism. The humanism of the Renaissance represented a significant move within this development. Keith Walker has written that ‘The Renaissance was the period when man and the world were re-discovered … Previously the artist was considered only a maker. God alone created. In the Renaissance man’s Godlikeness was asserted.’ Luis de MoralesEcce Homo variations showed Christ alone and at close range, blurring the boundaries between the human and the divine, then the vivid tableaux vivants of 16th-century Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbar├ín, gave the faithful a sense of direct access to the scenes he depicted.

While there is work included by the likes of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Sir Anthony van Dyck, the exhibition, once it has established realism as the primary mode of Christian expression in the West, is then keen to arrive at the beginning of the modern period to show how the European legacy of religious painting was reborn and redefined in post-war and contemporary art.

The argument made is that the wide range of work on display in Sacred Noise makes clear that, if divinity was long the anchor of human existence, its artistic unmooring in the 20th century has opened up endless new interpretative horizons. These interpretive horizons involve a move from realism to expressionism, abstraction and conceptual art while engaging with the sense that nothing is considered sacred — or scandalous — any more, the idea that art, science and money have come to supplant religion in the West, and the rejection of a divinity that leaves us tormented, forsaken and horrifyingly alone in a godless world.

Francis Bacon, Lucio Fontana, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan are cited and shown as being just a very few of the artists who shook the canon through their engagement with religion. However, there are issues with this selection of artists and with the argument made here through their work.

Firstly, the response of these artists is more nuanced in regard to religion than the exhibition allows. Bacon said that he could find no other subject as valid as the Crucifixion to embrace all the nuances of human feelings and behaviours that enabled him to think about all life’s horror. For Fontana, his Fine di Dio series rejected earthly images of God and symbolised instead the apophatic God, ‘infinity, the unfathomable, the end of figuration, the principle of the void.’ From the early 1980s onwards, religious imagery surfaces in Warhol’s art with his confronting of his own mortality giving way, as the exhibition catalogue states, to an interest in redemption and salvation. Biblical references also come to feature in Hirst’s art through his sense that the Bible has ‘great stories’ which ‘you can use … to fnd out what your life actually amounts to, in the end.’ Cattelan states that, as one who grew up singing in the church choir, his work is not anti-Catholic, but a way to ‘open people’s eyes to the faux sensibility of a culture where nothing is really considered either sacred or scandalous anymore.’ The work of these artists does not simply indicate the death of God among artists or society, as this exhibition, at points, wishes to suggest.

Secondly, the exhibition seems to make clear that this argument is only sustainable through its selective choice of artists. Of those 20th century artists exhibited here, only Eric Gill and Stanley Spencer are artists uniformly acknowledged as those creating from the inspiration of their faith. Yet a different selection of artists – Arthur Boyd, Marc Chagall, Maurice Denis, Makoto Fujimura, Albert Herbert, David Jones, Colin McCahon, John Piper, Georges Rouault, Gino Severini, Betty Spackman, Graham Sutherland, Paul Thek, Vincent Van Gogh, among others - could easily result in an exhibition to support the argument that the relationship between art and faith has been relatively close and positive in the modern period.

Themes of religion, faith and divinity have pervaded art throughout the centuries. The 20th-century did see the reinterpretation and subversion of those themes. Yet, the rebirth and redefinition of the European legacy of religious painting includes much that is affirming of religion, in addition to much which challenges its basic premises and history. This exhibition has more of the latter than the former. I would suggest that, at present, the story of art which has continuity with de Morales, Zurbarán and Cranach is the road less documented and therefore, because of its hidden treasures, is currently the more interesting story to tell.

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Good Charlotte - Beautiful Place.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Windows on the world (405)


Bradwell, 2018

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Belle & Sebastian - I Want The World To Stop.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Connections of Sister Corita Kent and Norman Nicholson

Tracing the connections between artists that were either part of the Church and were engaged by the Church in the 20th century is an important element in the argument that the level and extent of the engagement between the Church and the Arts has been more significant that is generally acknowledged. Some of my posts tracing these connections include:   
Most recently, I've been reading about the work and friendships of the US nun Sister Corita Kent and also of the British poet Norman Nicholson:

The Catholic Art Association was founded in 1937 by Sister Esther Newport as an organisation of artists, art educators, and others interested in Catholic art and its philosophy, and created the world into which Sister Corita Mary stepped when she began her career as an inspirational artist and teacher at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles in 1945.

'Much of Kent’s artistic activism came out of her close friendship with Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest best known for his radical antiwar activism. Kent and Berrigan carried on an extensive correspondence and collaborated on a number of projects. She designed the covers for many of Berrigan’s books, including The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (Beacon Press, 1970), his free-verse play about his trial and conviction for burning draft files with napalm at the Catonsville, Maryland, draft board in 1968. Berrigan penned the introduction for Kent’s book Footnotes and Headlines, and she used both his published writings and personal letters in numerous prints.'

Her screenprint "Powerup" (1965) 'melds a sermon on spiritual fulfillment by an activist priest, Daniel Berrigan, with the advertising catch-phrase of the Richfield Oil Corporation.'

'“An Evening with God” which took place at the Boston Tea Party, a rock music club, and featured performances, music, conversation, and an informal communion meal of store-bought bread and wine' was 'an event planned by Kent, the priest Daniel Berrigan, the musician Judy Collins, and the Harvard professor Harvey Cox.'

Berrigan said of Kent, "She introduces the intuitive, the unpredictable into religion, and thereby threatens the essentially masculine, terribly efficient, chancery-ridden, law-abiding, file-cabinet church."

Berrigan was part of a 'colorful cast of friends and associates who shared both with him, or crossed his path.' 'Think Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Ernesto Cardenal, and Martin Sheen, to list the best known.'

Norman Nicholson 'was always an active and enthusiastic member of a vibrant and close-knit nationwide web which interlinked the leading writers and artists of the day. T.S. Eliot was typically this web’s central figure, but other notable participants included E. Martin Browne, Kathleen Raine, Anne Ridler, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Michael and Janet Roberts, Bro. George Every and very many more.'

Nicholson was published by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber, where Anne Ridler was Eliot's secretary. Nicholson was sometimes a weekend guest at Helen Sutherland's house parties, which included writers such as Eliot. 'For a short period, at the beginning of World War II, Norman Nicholson and Kathleen Raine were very close.' 'Kathleen and Norman helped each other with their first collections and the title of Kathleen Raine's - Stone and Flower - is a quote taken from one of Norman's poems. Many of the poems in Norman's second collection - Rock Face - were either written for Kathleen, or came out of their conversations and collaborations.'

The sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos and her husband Delmar Banner on moving to Cumbria also made friends with Cumbria’s own artistic community, befriending Beatrix Potter and Nicholson.

In An Anthology of Religious Verse, which he edited, Nicholson writes that to ‘many modern poets the events of Our Lord’s life are so vivid that they seem to be contemporary, so that it is natural for them to write in the language, imagery and form of our time.’ The structure of his book deals with modern conceptions of God and of life in relation to God. Poets included are: W.H. Auden, Hilaire Belloc, S.L. Bethell, G.K. Chesterton, Walter de la Mare, Clifford Dyment, T.S. Eliot, George Every, M. Farrow, David Gascoyne, Thomas Hardy, Rayner Heppenstall, G.M. Hopkins, D.H. Lawrence, Andrew Murray, Norman Nicholson, J.D.C. Pellow, Ruth Pitter, Anne Ridler, Michael Roberts, Walter Roberts, John Short, Tambimuttu, Allen Tate, Dylan Thomas, Charles Williams, W.B. Yeats and Andrew Young.

Nicholson contributed to the Christian verse drama revival which began in 1930 when E. Martin Browne was appointed by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, to be director of religious drama for the diocese. 'One of Browne's early assignments was to organise a pageant, The Rock, to raise funds for the building of Anglican churches. At the request of Bishop Bell, T. S. Eliot wrote a series of choruses linking the loosely historical scenes of the pageant, which was played by amateurs and presented at Sadler's Wells Theatre for a fortnight's run in summer 1934.

After this success, Bell invited Eliot and Browne to work on a play to be written by Eliot and presented at the Canterbury Festival the following year, with Browne as director. The title was Murder in the Cathedral and it was this production that established the collaboration between Eliot as poet-playwright and Martin Browne as director which was to last for twenty years ... It established Browne as the leading director of the "poetic drama" movement, which was then undergoing something of a revival ...

In 1945 Browne took over the 150-seater Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate, and devoted it for the next three years to the production of modern verse plays, with first productions of plays by Christopher Fry, Ronald Duncan, Norman Nicholson and Anne Ridler, all directed by Browne himself.'

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Norman Nicholson - September On The Mosses.

Thought for the Week: Healing and Wholeness

Here's my Thought for the Week at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

This weekend Ali Lyon and I are leading a session at the Parish Away Day entitled ‘Healing, Wholeness and Holiness: many branches: one vine?’

We are doing so on the basis that St Martin’s has many people involved in health and wholeness in its broadest sense. The session will draw on that rich diversity of experiences and perspectives to explore the holistic nature of healing ministry and how its many ‘branches’ connect to one vine. We hope that it will be a rich opportunity to learn more about God and about one another, and will continue to grow the understanding of healing and wholeness that has been developing at St Martin’s.

In the culture of Jesus’ time, disabled people - those with physical, sensory or mental health conditions, learning disability or neurodiversity - were actively excluded from the wider community and from worship at the Temple. Jesus’ healing ministry had the effect of re-including those who had been excluded in the wider community and in worship.

The key issue, however, was a culture which excluded others and which Jesus sought to address through his teaching about the Kingdom of God. Today, the best way to achieve this same aim within our society is by understanding and utilising the social model of disability, which recognises and seeks to dismantle the barriers to belonging that our society throws up through environment, structures and attitudes.

When we explore and address these barriers in church and society – as we seek to do through our Disability Advisory Group and our annual conference on disability and Church together with Inclusive Church – we are doing what Jesus sought to do through his healing ministry.  

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James Taylor - Fire and Rain.