Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Saturday, 31 May 2014

commission4mission's H'Art festival exhibition

commission4mission’s art exhibition for the H’Art Festival was set up today and can be found on the ground and first floors of both Hornchurch and Romford Libraries during normal opening hours until Friday 13th June 2014.

The exhibition features work by Hayley Bowen, Harvey Bradley, Mark Lewis, Caroline Richardson, Janet Roberts, Henry Shelton, Sergiy Shkanov, Joy Rousell Stone, Andrew VesseyPeter Webb and myself. It includes ceramics, fused glass, paintings and wood reliefs.

The H’Art Festival is an arts festival in the London Borough of Havering incorporating the Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival. It is an opportunity for the community to share creative talents and runs from Sunday June 1st – Sunday June 15th 2014.

For the full H’Art Festival programme click here. See for more information.

The Barking Episcopal Area Arts Festival began in 2011 & involves quality events from a variety of Arts genre as a way of embracing and celebrating performing/visual arts and engaging with local communities, their people and arts culture. The Festival is organised annually but in a different part of the Episcopal Area each year and in parallel with already established community arts festivals. This fourth Festival runs parallel to the Hornchurch Festival of Arts & Heritage –


Eric Bibb - Have A Heart.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Sabbatical art pilgrimage: St Benet's Chapel

Most artworks commissioned for churches function as an element within a broader architectural, aesthetic and liturgical scheme. For some artists this sense that the art and the artist's vision is subordinate to a bigger, broader vision can be a part of the reason why church commissions are unattractive and unpursued. It is rare for an artist to given the opportunity to create the atmosphere and ambience for a sacred space but that was the opportunity provided to Adam Kossowski at St Benet's Chapel and it one that he grasped with both hands.

Kossowski's murals at St Benet's Chapel are unique for several reasons. First, they fill the entire wallspace of this circular chapel surrounding and enveloping worshippers with their imagery. Second, the murals take those visiting or using the chapel through apocalyptic scenes from the Revelation of St John. The choice of theme appears to have been that of Kossowski himself who had "studied apocalyptic symbolism and the mysticism of the meaning of numbers." Finally, the technique used by Kossowski for these murals was sgraffito which involves carving into two layers of freshly applied plaster. This technique, which derives from Egypt and Assyria and was popular in Italy during the Renaissance, is almost unheard of in Britain making these murals the most significant example of work in this style on these shores.

Each of these unique aspects of the commission resulted from a high level of trust in Kossowki's vision and technique. Here and also at Aylesford Priory, his other major series of work in one place, his artistic vision seems to have been entirely trusted by those who commissioned him and he was well aware of his good fortune in this respect. The results, in both cases, are wonderful both artistically and spiritually and would have been impossible to have been achieved through the usual committee or tendering processes that characterise most church commissions.

Kossowski's own commitment to the task, opportunity and vision was such that he essentially lived in the Chapel while the work was being created often sleeping there because of the need to work into the night while the plaster was still fresh. Kossowski condenses the twenty chapters of Revelation into seven panels separated by six vertical rectangles in which the four Evangelists, St Peter and St Paul are depicted. The image of St Peter is thought to be a portrait of Kossowski himself. Kossowski's design is both a linear narrative, like a graphic novel in plaster, and an overall unity of concept and creation which fills and forms the space as one complex creative composition.

This magnificent work is, in the words of Revd. Jenny Petersen (Chaplain at Queen Mary College), unique but out of fashion. Yet she maintains its themes have contemporary relevance for Christians on campus who find themselves as a minority among people of other faiths snd those of no religious faith. Again Kossowski's own experiences - this time as an artist in exile - would have fed his own reflections on this aspect of Revelation. Benedict Read in Adam Kossowski: Murals and Paintings notes the difficulties experienced even by refugee artists of major pre-war reputations in finding opportunities for their art to be exhibited and sold. Kossowski quickly found a significant patron in the Roman Catholic Church, an experience in exile which would have fuelled his fascination with this text and its letters to the seven churches.

The murals have also proved to be an excellent talking point in Jenny Petersen's ministry to those other faiths with Muslims, in particular, understanding the themes of judgement found therein leading to a willingness to use the space for prayer. She has encouraged contemplation of the mural's themes by producing a series of cards exploring the imagery of each panel together with the relevant sections from the Revelation of St John.

The space is kept as flexible space with no fixed furnishings and with contemplation encouraged. When services are held, however, the altar table is located in front of the panel depicting worship in heaven of the lamb that was slain. In this way, worship on earth is conducted in the context of worship in heaven. The entrance to the St Benet's Chaplaincy has a neon sign stating, 'not another church' and this is borne out by the innovations of Jenny Petersen's ministry, the apocalyptic power of Kossowski's vision and the links formed between the two.

Ultimately, though, Kossowski's vision is not focused on destruction but instead on the hope of new life to come. After all, in his own life, his understanding was that God had brought him through his own personal subhuman land into a place where the Church provided him with a living through creative commissions. This work, and his work generally, is ultimately about rescue, redemption and salvation. Fr. Edward Maguire has written, 'From clay and fire he forged a vision of the past, present and future to lift up and inspire countless others ... May we be inspired by him to use our gifts as he used his."


Bob Dylan - Jokerman.

Enterprise Club

Here is the latest news of the Seven Kings Sophia Hub from Ros Southern:

"I am pleased to introduce the speaker for Tuesdays LUNCHTIME Enterprise club (change of time!!!) as Stephanie Mugo who has set up a start up osteomyology alternative therapy business in Dagenham.  Read about it here plus the new times. 

Thanks so much to Nigel Camp for leading our last enterprise club and the promise of supporting us in a creating a group blog and a group video!

I am also very pleased to introduce our new Sophia Hubs website and Timebank website and info about it here

After a very productive meeting with Redbridge Institute last week we are strongly recommending our start-ups to join a 5 week evening course that only costs £10 starting Monday 9th June.  More info here.  We are going to support the students who have been on this course to develop their networks and offer ongoing back up support. 

Thanks to all those that helped on our stall at the Redbridge Green Fair.

More news to follow on the re-used paint business opportunity,  support from the Redbridge Chamber of Commerce for our start-ups and more.

Have a good weekend and hope to see lots of you on Tuesday from 12 (That's when the parking restrictions end) with Stephanie speaking at 12.30.


The Frames - Revelate.

Sabbatical retreat

This week I've had the first of my sabbatical retreats in the idyllic setting of Aylesford Priory. Set in the heart of Kent, Aylesford Priory is an ancient religious house of the Order of Carmelites dating back to the 13th Century.

In 1538, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Priory passed out of Carmelite hands until in 1949 The Friars was put up for sale and the Carmelites were able to buy back their motherhouse. 

Fr Malachy Lynch, the first Prior, began the task of restoring the buildings and within a short time The Friars became a flourishing pilgrimage centre. In partnership with Adrian Gilbert Scott, Fr Malachy conceived the idea of the open-air shrine and he gathered craftsmen and artists to help him. Outstanding among the artists were Adam Kossowski, who made the ceramics, and Philip Lindsey Clark and his son Michael Clark, both sculptors. Fr Malachy described The Friars as "a prayer in stone".

In the presence of Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop Cyril Cowderoy rededicated the Shrine in 1965 and it now serves as a centre of prayer for all Christians in Kent and a place of peace for those who search for meaning in their lives. Over 200,000 pilgrims a year make their way to Aylesford. Some as part of organised pilgrimages, some on a parish visit, others come on school trips or fellowship or hobby clubs.


Colin Burns - Linger Here.

Windows on the world (295)

Barcelona, 2013


Elbow - The Birds.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ordinary things that I found wondrous

"I guess I have been interested in the spiritual side of things since I was very young. But the form it took was me, in a very quiet way, simply looking with great focus at the ordinary things around me that I found wondrous. I still do today." Bill Viola


Bill Viola - Emergence.

New websites for Sophia Hubs

Sophia Hubs Limited has a new website explaining its work. The site including a page on the Seven Kings Sophia Hub pilot and a blog which will become the main source of news about Sophia Hubs Limited and hubs in the network. 

In addition, the Timebank set up by the Seven Kings Sophia Hub pilot also has its own website where people can register to join the Timebank in order to make offers and requests for other Timebank members.  

The Timebank is an important form of support for the new social enterprises and start-ups we are incubating at Sophia Hubs.  It will build up community networks and demonstrate the extensive skills and resources that we have in this area.  Residents will expand their contacts through giving and receiving services and skills: each hour given is worth the same whatever is being offered.

Both websites were created for Sophia Hubs Limited by Divine Aesthetic.


Tom Petty - Learning To Fly.

New initiatives through Seven Kings Sophia Hub


George Harrison - What Is Life?

Seven Kings Sophia Hub at the Redbridge Green Fair

Seven Kings Sophia Hub had a good day today at the Redbridge Green Fair in the Enterprise Zone with I Am Young and Forest Recyling Project. We were promoting the Paint Project, Timebank, Enterprise Club and Sophia Course in particular. The Green Fair very well attended and was an excellent event with a very wide range of stalls, attractions and refreshments. As ever, it was very good to link up with I Am Young and Forest Recyling Project.


The Travelling Wilburys - Not Alone Any More.