Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Friday, 31 March 2017

Artistic responses to St Stephen Walbrook

Within our new website for St Stephen Walbrook we are collecting a series of artistic responses to this Wren masterpiece which is complemented by the modern art of Henry Moore and Patrick Heron. These can all be found in the Gallery section of the site.

Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe's time-lapse video of St Stephen Walbrook is filmed in black and white and is a meditative piece that explores the tranquil, domed space with its sculptural altar by Henry Moore. It was shot over three days using timelapse footage captured on DSLR cameras and incorporating motion control, with a bespoke soundtrack by George McLeod. The film received its premiere at Anise Gallery in an exhibition of photography and film based on themes found in the Sacred Geometries. The film encompasses the three aspects of Sacred Geometries seamlessly - mathematics, nature and spirituality.

Daniel Bourke is undertaking a digital residency with St Stephen Walbrook re-creating the building as a virtual environment. He has made an initial video as one of his initial imaginative responses to the space. His work can be viewed at

Quintetta at St Stephen Walbrook Church is a drawing made by Trevor Mill while listening to the fantastic brass quintet during a magic lunchtime at St Stephen Walbrook.

In the context of our recent Crucifixions: Francis Bacon exhibition, Rupert Loydell read poetry inspired by the work of Francis Bacon and also by the annunciation. The experience inspired him to write a prose poem 'Faint Echoes' based on that event, which also included a lecture on 'The crucifixion in modern art'.


Belle & Sebastian - I Want The World To Stop.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Francis Bacon: Wrestling with unknown faith

The Church Times has just published an interesting review of Crucifixions: Francis Bacon at St Stephen Walbrook in which Nicholas Cranfield sagely remarks that:

"As so often, artists reveal more of themselves in drawings than in other media; the current Lenten hang at St Stephen Walbrook, in the City of London, will come as a shock to those who think that they know their Bacon, and as a surprise to those who want to find a space for their prayer and devotions away from the harsh savagery of the Square Mile ...

The graphics themselves show Bacon wrestling with the unknown faith that for some lies behind such images."


Jon Foreman - You Don't Know How Beautiful You Are.

Music at St Stephen Walbrook - not to be missed!


One of the great joys of being at St Stephen Walbrook is the quality of music that can be enjoyed. The next few days, however, are of particular note.

Tonight, the Italian classical pianist Claudio Crismani is in concert at 7.00pm. On this his second visit to St Stephen Walbrook, Claudio will play a selection of works by Bartok and Chopin on a Fazioli piano. Free admission with a retiring collection in aid of St Stephen Walbrook. For the full programme and a biography click here.

On Thursday at 12.45pm St Stephen's Voices will lead worship at our regular lunchtime Eucharist. The celebrant and preacher will be The Revd Sally Muggeridge.

Then, on Friday, we will enjoy not one, but two, Organ Recitals with the second being given by The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley.

At 12.30pm, as part of our regular programme of Friday lunchtime Organ Recitals, David Chan will perform a programme including pieces by Bach, Langlais, Wesley and Widor, among others. David Ho-Yi Chan is a young composer, conductor and organist born in Hong Kong whose music seeks to enrich the beauty of simplicity. Click here for more about David and his recital.

At 5.30pm, as the fourth in our new series of Free Music Recitals on the last Friday of the month (St Stephen's Serenades), The Lord Mayor will perform a programme which includes:
  • Prelude and Fugue in F minor, BWV 534 Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750
  • Voluntary III in C William Boyce 1711–1779
  • Toccatina Pietro Yon 1886–1943
  • Carillon-Sortie Henri Mulet 1878–1967
  • Psalm Prelude, Set 1, No 1 Herbert Howells 1892–1983
  • Sortie in E Louis-James-Alfred Lefébure-Wely 1817- 1869
As with all our events, all are most welcome. More information about The Lord Mayor's recital can be found by clicking here.

Those visiting will also be able to view 'Crucifixions: Francis Bacon' which ends on Friday when we close at 4.00pm. Catalogues for the exhibition are available, priced £10, with a donation coming to St Stephen Walbrook. Exhibition information can be found by clicking here.


Claudio Crismani plays Franz Liszt, Csardas Macabre 2.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Discover & explore: Lanning Roper

Today's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored the theme of gardening through the life and work of Lanning Roper. The service was led by Sally Muggeridge and featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Jesus Christ the apple tree by Elizabeth Poston, To Daffodils (from Flower Songs) by Benjamin Britten, There is a flower by John Rutter and Little Elegy by Stephen Paulus. At the end of the service we all went to view the memorial inscription for Lanning Roper in the courtyard garden.

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 3 April at 1.10pm when, together with the Choral Scholars, I will explore the theme of art through the life and work of Patrick Heron.

In today's service we heard the following passage by Lanning Roper from On Gardens and Gardening (1969):

"As a landscape consultant, I have advised on gardens in various parts of the world, on soils ranging from rocky slopes, to acid peaty bogs, and rich fertile valleys. Some are large country gardens, others small back gardens in urban areas, and I have also advised on the planting of town squares, as well as on hospital gardens and housing estates.

Rose gardens, mixed borders, formal parterres, paved herb-gardens and shrub and woodland gardens have all absorbed my interest in turn. I have made it a rule to select personally the plants for my designs, and whenever possible I supervise the planting and often do a great deal of it myself. In this way I get to know the problems and the merits of the soil with which I work and keep in touch with new plants.

As a garden designer, I experience some of the same emotions as a nanny. Having made a garden, I always want to follow its development to maturity. If I plant an avenue of oaks or chestnuts, the well-being of each individual tree is my concern, as well as the avenue as a whole. The excitement of creating and planning for the future is both stimulating and very satisfying."

Sally Muggeridge also mentioned Mies van der Rohe's unrealised Mansion House Square project, which would have featured a planting scheme by Roper, and which is currently being explored in Circling the Square, an exhibition at RIBA. 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.


OMD - Architecture & Morality.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Listen to the quiet voice

'Dominique Lawalrée (b. 1954) is a composer born and based in Brussels. First Meeting is Lawalrée's first archival release to date ... In this collection the listener finds the sounds of piano, synthesizers, percussion, Wurlitzer, organ, and voice, all performed by Lawalrée. Using these tools Dominique creates miniature themes that gallop across the speakers in slow motion, stretching our normal sense of dynamics and color, effortlessly widening the stereo plane. On “Musique Satieerique,” Dominique pays homage to the influence of Satie with simple repeated piano figures and a lush field of organs and flutes. And on other selections, like “La Maison Des 5 Elements,” he takes a more wistful, ambient approach,layering keyboard lines, and invoking found/tape sounds to create a hypnogogic world of his own. Childlike in its playfulness and surreal to the bone, the music spins like a carousel placed inside the Rothko Chapel. Lawalrée’s sense of timbre, tone, and overarching composition is like an impression of a home movie whose charm lies in its knowledge of intimacy, shared by few. An incantation of innocence.'

'With most of his output underpinned by strong spiritual tendencies, his music is an escape, a relentless search for inner space and serenity.'

'A keyboardist, he has given hundreds of concerts of his music in a dozen countries. A church musician, he is the initiator of Liturgical Music Festival in Rixensart.

He has published several books and is a renowned speaker. A music teacher, he has taught in secondary school and at the university. He produces 17 shows a month on RCF Brussels and Liege.

His music is widely heard in the film “Khadak”, which received a “Golden Lion” in Venice in 2006.'

'Lawalrée now spends his time playing piano and organ in church on a weekly basis, his musical focus having turned for the liturgical over the past two decades.'


Dominique Lawalrée - Listen to the quiet voice.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Cross: designs and reflections

An exhibition of works, talks and seminars by members of commission4mission in The Hostry at Norwich Cathedral from 17 April to 30 May 2017.

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.

Harvey Bradley who is curating the exhibition writes:

‘Years ago I studied Silversmithing at Art College and still remember the exciting designs that we students produced – mostly never seen outside the college. Using the skills and inspiration of commission4mission members, many of whom have graduated from Art Colleges, I see an opportunity to challenge them to work on this simple commission with the prospect of a prestigious exhibition in Norwich to showcase their skills, talents and ingenuity. I feel sure that this would interest and inspire general visitors to the cathedral as well, as those involved in Art and Design.

The cross as a Christian symbol offers a wide range of visual interpretations with many potential commentaries attached to its use. I anticipate that we will create an exhibition that will demonstrate a high quality of design and craftsmanship and give personal insights into what the cross means to the artists. There will be finished work, design concepts and background ideas.

As a Christian organization we recognise that the symbol of the cross is accessible to both peoples of faith and of no declared faith. It may be of interest to include historical and cultural references: Greek, Latin, Jerusalem, Coptic, notions of Crucifix and ‘empty’‘ crosses within the display.’

The exhibition will include work by: Hayley Bowen, Harvey Bradley, Irina Bradley, Christopher Clack, Jonathan Evens, Terry Ffyffe, Rob Floyd, Dorothy Gager, Maurizio Galia, Michael Garaway, John Gentry, Clorinda Goodman, Judy Goring, Deborah Harrison, Tim Harrold, Anthony Hodgson, Jean Lamb, Mark Lewis, David Millidge, Victoria Norton, Colin Riches, Henry Shelton and Peter Webb. In addition, a church congregation project is being created by members of St Mark’s Church, Oulton Broad, who are contributing individual crosses for a large banner to be displayed at this exhibition as well as in their church.


Kindred Spirit - Here in my Eyes.

Update: Sophia Hub Redbridge - Award Winners!

Ros Southern writes:

Coming up this week (Saturday 25-Friday 31 March)
  • Tues 28 - Redbridge Chamber networking breakfast 7.30 - A snazzy, different experiment Info here
  • Tues 28 -- Timebank skills swap at Redbridge Institute. 12.30-3.00. Please do try it out!
  • Tues 28 6.45pm - Entrepreneurs' club with Anderson Boyce of Hair Force One - nationally famous. Don't get pigeonholed in your business - you shape it. This is last free entrepreneurs club ever! Info here
  • Friday 31st 2.30 or 4.30 - Goodbye Enterprise Desk and join in a drama workshop on business journeys. Info here
Other news on our blog
  • We won the Mayors Community and Neighbourhood Champion Award last night!! See more here
  • Member Fiona Flaherty has therapeutic office space to rent in very nice South Woodford location. A fab opportunity! Info here
  • Member Ruth Pearson has written her latest blog on wellbeing for teachers. Read it here
  • Our membership scheme is live and kicking. We need you to join too. Information here
Other interesting articles we've found for you
With best wishes,

Ros Southern
Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Redbridge


Siobhan Maher-Kennedy - Better Word For Love.

Windows on the world (337)

Margate, 2016


Over The Rhine - All My Favourite People.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Claudio Crismani concert

Italian classical pianist Claudio Crismani is in concert at St Stephen Walbrook, 7.00pm, Wednesday 29 March playing a programme in Homage to Francis Bacon. Free admission with retiring collection.


Béla Bartók Suite from “The Bluebeard Castle”
(1881 - 1945) “In style of a Legend”
1 - Introduction
2 - The Magic Garden
3 - The first room
4 - The Forbidden Room
5 - Nightmare
- - - - -
Fryderyk Chopin 6 Préludes op. 28
(1810 - 1849) 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.


Claudio Crismani - Rapsodie.

Turn our eyes from deficits to assets

Bible reading:

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live … and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

… I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them … I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:1-14)


Ezekiel’s vision was for those in the whole house of Israel in exile who were saying, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ During Lent we actively choose to go into the dryness of the wilderness, together with Jesus, to be cut off in order to pray but there are also times and seasons in our lives and in our society when we think and feel that we are in a Valley of Dry Bones.

Politically, that may be how some of us feel following the unexpected election results of last year. We are, after all, witnessing the death of environments and species around our world. Poverty and conflict are forcing mass movements of people across our world and we are perhaps witnessing the death of compassion in response to those who are migrants. Austerity measures are increasingly causing crises in education, healthcare, prisons, and social care. ”Recessions can hurt,” David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu write in their powerful book, The Body Economic, “But austerity kills."

On a more personal note, ‘It may be that you are stuck in the depths of Lent, perhaps facing an impossible choice, or perhaps feeling that there are no choices open to you at all … You may simply be carrying the weight of an unfulfilled longing for something that appears to be quite impossible … Your longing may be for work, for home, for intimacy, for a child, or for a number of other things which you lack and without which life feels unpalatable or pointless.’ (M. Warner, Abraham)

Ezekiel speaks prophetically into these situations of sterility and death because that is where he and the People of Israel found themselves. His prophecy is a word of life; the Lord God will cause breath to enter the dry bones so they shall live. This shows us God working with what is there. There is no replacement of the dry bones and no move to a better valley. God starts with what is already there - the dry bones - so this is about recognising, valuing and using what we already have.

By contrast, our consumer society constantly tells us that we are insufficient and that we must purchase what we need from specialists and systems outside of our immediate community. Instead, we need to reweave the social fabric that has been unravelled by consumerism and its belief that however much we have, it is not enough. To recognise that in ourselves and in our communities we already have the capacity to address our human needs in ways that systems, which see us only as interchangeable units, as problems to be solved, never can. We can do unbelievable things by starting with our assets, not our deficits. We all have gifts to offer, even the most seemingly marginal among us. Using our particular assets (our skills, experience, insights and ideas) we have the God-given power to create a hope-filled life and can be the architects of the future where we want to live. (J. McKnight & P. Block, The Abundant Community)

Following Ezekiel’s prophecy further we see that the individual dry bones are joined together to form skeletons on which sinews and skin grow to form living bodies. This suggests that we can do unbelievable things if we do them together; if we start with one another’s assets not our deficits. Sharing our particular assets with others will foster a wider understanding and model the practice of hospitality towards others. By doing this we will find our way to becoming abundant communities that open space for generosity and cooperation.

We may well, in some senses, inhabit a Valley of Dry Bones personally or socially. All is not lost, however, as in Ezekiel’s vision by starting where we are with our assets and by coming together to release and share our gifts we find the power to create a hope-filled life and be the architects of the future where we want to live.


O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life. Be the resurrection and the life for us and all whom you have made. Be the resurrection and the life for those caught in the grip of sin and addiction. Be the resurrection and the life for those who feel forsaken. Be the resurrection and the life for those dying of malnutrition and hunger. Turn our eyes from deficits to assets and show us the gifts that will bring us to life.

O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life. Be the resurrection and the life in us who know the good but fail to do it, who have not been judged but still judge, who know love but still live for self, who know hope but succumb to despair. Be the resurrection and the life for anyone anywhere who knows suffering and death in any form, and for Creation itself, which groans in travail. Turn our eyes from deficits to assets and show us the gifts that will bring us to life.

We pray for Easter eyes – Eyes that will allow us to see: Beyond death into life; Beyond sin to forgiveness; Beyond division to unity; Beyond wounds to beauty; Through the human to the divine; Through the divine to the human; From the ‘I’ to the ‘You’. And - enabling all of this – The totality of Easter energy! Turn our eyes from deficits to assets and show us the gifts that will bring us to life.

The Blessing

Be the resurrection and the life in the life we share and the fellowship we enjoy, that filled anew with the wonder of your love and the power of your grace, we may go forth to proclaim your resurrection life to a world in the grip of death. And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Gungor - Dry Bones.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Discover & explore - Henry Moore (Sculpture)

Today's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored the theme of sculpture through the life and works of Henry Moore. The service was led by Revd Alastair McKay and featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Sing joyfully unto God our strength by Byrd, Ascribe greatness by Mary Kirkbride & Mary King, of the dust of the ground by Joshua Pacey (which was premiered in this service), and Tu es Petrus by Duruflé. For the intercessions the congregation were invited to join Alastair by standing at the Henry Moore altar.

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 27 March at 1.10pm when, together with the Choral Scholars, Sally Muggeridge will explore the theme of gardening through the life and work of Lanning Roper.

Here is Alastair's reflection for this service:

Henry Moore holds a special place in my own life. When I was at school I became interested in sculpture. After some initial dabbling, I eventually undertook carving a piece of granite into the form of a gasping miner. The figure was inspired by one of Henry Moore’s drawings of coal miners from Wheldale Colliery, where his father had worked. These drawings are one of two series commissioned during the Second World War and for which Henry Moore is now well known. The other and better known series is Moore’s wartime drawings of people sheltering from bombing raids in the London Underground. However, receiving such commissions from people in the establishment isn’t something that could have been foreseen if one looks back to Moore’s early life.

Henry Spencer Moore was the sixth of seven children born at the end of the 19th Century in a small mining town in Yorkshire. Like many of the men in the town, his father was a miner and, it appears, a strong personality. As a teenager, young Henry wanted to study art, but his father persuaded him to become a teacher, seeing it as a more reliable career than being an artist. But Henry hated teaching, and took the opportunity to join the army once he turned 18, which led to him being involved in the fighting of the First World War. He later said: “It was in those two years of war that I finally broke away from parental domination, which had been very strong. My old friend, Miss Gostick, found out about ex-servicemen's grants. With her help I applied and received one for the Leeds School of Art. This was understood from the outset merely to be a first step. London was the goal.”

And so it was that, after studying in Leeds, Moore won a scholarship to study sculpture at the Royal Academy of Art in London. He went on to develop his own distinctive style of sculpture, and to rub shoulders with a host of emerging artists, including Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, and others who were part of the British Surrealist movement. Through the course of the 1940s he made a name for himself and established an international reputation, winning the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1948. By the 1960s he was publicly recognised in his own country, being awarded the Order of Merit, and when he died in 1986 he was buried in the Artists’ Corner at St Paul’s Cathedral. He is thus probably the best-known British sculptor of the 20th Century.

One of the most striking things about Henry Moore’s work as a sculptor is it’s confinement to relatively few themes. Over three quarters of all his work is covered by two themes: the Reclining Figure, and the Mother and Child. Moore concentrated on these with an almost obsessional intensity. A fine example of his Reclining Figures can be found on Hampstead Heath, in the gardens of Kenwood House. It’s a sculpture which I enjoy visiting when I go for walks there with my wife. It displays classic features of Moore’s mature work: a huge scale, designed to be sited outside, and with simplified and abstracted parts of the body; so although it broadly hints at a female figure, it’s also suggestive of rocks, cliffs and caves, all things you might see in a landscape. I think it’s noteworthy that Moore picked up stones, pebbles, shells and bits of wood on his walks in the countryside, and used their shapes and textures to inspire his sculptures. He said: “I’ve found the principles of form and rhythm from the study of natural objects … pebbles and rocks show nature’s way of working stone.” And this can be seen clearly in this amazing piece of rock that now sits in the centre of St Stephen Walbrook.

The idea for a new altar table at St Stephen’s emerged in the late 1960s when Chad Varah was the Rector. It came during a time when the church was undertaking renovations to repair bomb damage from World War II. The desire was to replace the 17th Century altar table on the wall behind me, at which the priest stood with his back to the congregation in celebrating the Eucharist. In the 1960s, the congregation felt that this kept God at a distance, and no longer expressed the all-present nature of the God that they worshipped and served. So in responding to this new commission, 300 years after the church had been designed by Christopher Wren, the sculptor Henry Moore conceived a centrally-placed marble altar. 

By carving a round altar table with forms cut into the circular sides, Moore appealed to Old Testament ideas of an altar. Moore suggested that a stone at the centre of the church could reflect the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. This is the rock seen as commemorating the sacrificial offering of Isaac by Abraham. And that sacrificial offering in turn is seen as prefiguring the sacrificial death of Jesus, which we remember in the celebration of the Eucharistic meal. It’s thus the place designed for people to gather as a community around the altar table, where God is found at the centre. And for me, therefore it speaks to the recurring theme in Jewish and Christian scriptures, that God is the Rock, the one who stands at the centre, and on whom we can always depend. So this stone table ultimately points us to our faithful God, the true Rock whose work is perfect, and whose ways are just. And it is from this rock, as Christian disciples and children of Abraham, that we ourselves are hewn.


The genius of Monsieur Lefébure-Wély

Each Friday at St Stephen Walbrook a free weekly lunchtime organ recital is held featuring a different organist each week.

For three weeks this year, however, our organist will be Dr Anthony Gritten sharing the genius of Monsieur Lefébure-Wély (1817-69) as he performs L’Organiste Moderne (1867) written 150 years ago and performed to celebrate the composer’s 200th birthday. Book 1 - 4 will be on 24 March, Book 5 - 8 on 9 June and Book 9 - 12 on 17 November.

Dr Anthony Gritten is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and studied with Harry Gabb, David Sanger, and Anne Page. He gave the first complete performance of Daniel Roth’s magnum opus, Livre d’Orgue pour le Magnificat, and has performed four times in St. Sulpice, Paris, including a recital as part of Roth’s 70th birthday celebrations. He has also performed numerous works by Richard Francis, including the premiere of a four-movement symphony on themes by Lefébure-Wély. Other projects have included anniversary performances of the complete works of Tunder, Buxtehude (a 6½ hour recital), Homilius, Brahms, and Mendelssohn. Many of Anthony's recitals are listed at

Anthony was an organ scholar and research student at Cambridge University, writing his doctorate on Stravinsky. He has worked at the University of East Anglia and Royal Northern College of Music, and is currently Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the Royal Academy of Music. His publications include two books on Music and Gesture and essays on Igor Stravinsky, John Cage, and Frederick Delius. Many of his publications can be downloaded from


Lefebure-Wely - Sortie in Eb.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Learning from The Lives Of Others

My latest article for Artlyst uses exhibitions at Ben Uri Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields to explore the place of émigré artists in modern British art and then contrast their opportunities and impact with the current hostile environment being created towards refugees.

I end by quoting Will Hutton:

"'Over centuries ... it has been immigrants and refugees who have been part of the alchemy of any country’s success: they are driven, hungry and talented and add to the pool of entrepreneurs, innovators and risk-takers. The hundreds of thousands today who have trekked across continents and dangerous seas are by any standards unusually driven. They are also, as Angela Merkel says, fellow human beings. To receive them well is not only in our interests, it is fundamental to an idea of what it means to be human.’ These exhibitions and the history of émigré artists in the twentieth century reiterate and demonstrate the continuing relevance and significance of that message."

Bloc Party - Virtue.

Rest from inner conflict

Here's my homily from the 8.00am service at St Martin-in-the-Fields:

Jesus calls us to be 100% for God in our lives. In his summary of the Law he says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Mark 12. 30 - 31). When we fail to do so, we experience internal division. It is, for example, why Jesus insists that we cannot love God and Mammon (Luke 16. 13).

St Paul describes this state of internal conflict when he writes in the Letter to the Romans: 'I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!' (Romans 7. 19 - 25)

In our Gospel passage (Luke 11.14-28) this internal dialogue, debate and division is described in the language of demon possession. We don’t find rest or peace from this internal conflict until we finally and fully surrender to God. Once that surrender has occurred, then we need to nurture and protect it in order that we do not revert back to the state of internal chaos and conflict but instead remain in the peace and rest of being given over to God.


Pärt, Glass and Martynov 's Silencio.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Tim Harrold: Perceptualism

Tim Harrold is an expressive arts graduate with performance art experience gained at Brighton Polytechnic from 1982-5. He has worked as an art tutor in both secondary and further education, and as a community and youth worker using creativity in contemplative installations.

Tim creates assemblage and photomontage by intentionally arranging found objects and words from a variety of sources into serendipitous tableaux. New metaphysical narratives emerge; playful perceptual parables appear; and re-imagined worlds on rediscovered natural materials or in recycled boxes full of unlikely juxtapositions hint at hidden realities.
Tim writes, ‘My work is parabolic and numinous; where the conceptual meets the spiritual there is the “perceptual”.’

Perceptualism – a solo show in Sheffield at 35 Chapel Walk from 2 – 16 April, will be the largest Tim has held outside of south west Essex and London. It will include an installation of his 70 Endeavour poems – each set to music by musician friends – and film by his filmmaker son Jonathan.

In my review of an exhibition by Tim at the Well House Gallery last year I wrote that: 'Perceptualism involves re-combining and reconciling the disparate and disconnected, and Harrold sees this creative action as mirroring God’s love expressed in both creation and salvation. His series of ten photomontages, where fragments of maps are collaged within a heart-shaped mount to which texts of love have been added, is one expression of this perception.'


Jonathan Harrold - The Artists At High House.

Windows on the world (336)

Margate, 2016


Michael McDermott - Willow Spring. 

Friday, 17 March 2017

St Peter’s Chapel Bradwell: Music for the Soul

In Bradwell, Essex, stands a chapel built by Cedd in 654 on a mission to convert people to Christianity. It is the oldest Church still in use in the UK today. Bradwell is a place of pilgrimage as well as a place for quiet and reflection.

During July and August, the evening services at Bradwell-on-Sea are held in St Peter's Chapel, at the place where the land meets the sea and the sky comes close. A place where the distance between heaven and earth is tissue thin. All services start at 6.30 pm.

The theme of this year’s services is Music for the Soul where music flows from heaven to the soul.


2nd - The Secret Chord with Revd Jonathan Evens and Café Musica and Friends
9th - Evening worship with Lynne Creasy, Harp and Harvey Nightingale, Baritone
16th - Taizé Service
23rd - Evening worship with John Glynn. John is a singer and a songwriter - A former Roman Catholic Priest in the United Kingdom with a talent that spans the world.
30th - Revd Dr. Jenny Williams. Following the Quiet Day on July 29th Jenny will lead our worship reflecting on the words of the Aramaic Lord’s prayer.

6th - Evening Worship with Canon Ivor Moody – Songs for the Soul
13th - Reflective Worship with The Asaph Ensemble with support from the Asaph Christian Trust
20th - A service of Music & Healing with Revd Brigid & Laurie Main
27th - Music for the soul. A celebration of the summer evening services


Cafe Musica - Time To Think.

St Stephen Walbrook: New website

St Stephen Walbrook has a tremendous new website which can be found at On the site you will find details of our regular weekly services and upcoming events, live sermons as well as many articles about the rich history, heritage and features of this unique church, described by Sir John Summerson as ‘the pride of English architecture’.

The Events calendar on the site is powered by Churchapp which enables you to create a MyChurch account providing on-the-go access to our calendar and other useful information such as rotas. Churchapp also enables our online giving facility.

We have included on the homepage this prayer, written by Bishop Thomas Ken, which is at one time thought to have been inscribed on the door of St Stephen Walbrook: “O God, make the door of this house wide enough to receive all who need human love and fellowship, narrow enough to shut out all envy, pride and strife. Make its threshold smooth enough to be no stumbling-block to children, nor to straying feet, but rugged and strong enough to turn back the tempter’s power. God make the door of this house the gateway to Thine eternal kingdom.”

As part of our commitment to cultural programming, the site also includes two artist's perspectives on the interior of St Stephen Walbrook. Paul Raftery and Dan Lowe's time-lapse video of the church was recently premiered in the Sacred Geometries exhibition at the Anise Gallery. Daniel Bourke is undertaking a digital residency with St Stephen Walbrook re-creating the building as a virtual environment. His video on the website is one of his initial imaginative responses to the space.


Daniel Bourke - St Stephen's.


Lalla Essaydi, Bullets Revisited #15, 2012

I AM - Celebrating the rich, diverse and pivotal contribution that Middle Eastern women make to the enduring global quest for harmony and peace

As the world’s attention is focused anew on respecting women’s rights, and while there is an increasing need for developing understanding and encouraging friendship between the faiths and peoples of the Middle East and West, CARAVAN prepares to launch I AM, the 2017/2018 CARAVAN Exhibition of Art. Designed to address stereotypes and challenge misconceptions of the "other”, the I AM exhibition will be a visual celebration of the crucial role that Middle Eastern women play as guardians of peace, celebrating their strengths and rich and diverse contributions in the enduring global quest for a more harmonious and peaceful future.

CARAVAN’s I AM exhibition is being guest curated by Janet Rady, a specialist in Middle Eastern contemporary art, and a selection of 31 acclaimed women artists of Middle Eastern heritage from 12 countries have been invited to participate in this unique East-West peacebuilding exhibition. The I AM exhibition will premiere in Amman, Jordan at the National Gallery of Fine Arts in on May 3, 2017, running through June 14. Following Jordan, I AM will be showcased in London, England at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on Trafalgar Square (July 3-August 20, 2017), and then will subsequently tour North America through the end of 2018, premiering September 2017 in Washington, D.C. at the Katzen Arts Center of the American University.

“I AM” as the title implies a representation of an individual's culture and heritage ― showing the uniqueness of the individual, as well as one’s identity within the community and the world. The phrase “I AM” is also significant to the Abrahamic faiths. The words of divine self-identification, “I AM”, are familiar to Christians and Muslims to represent God/Allah, therefore serving as an interreligious bridge. The phrase “I AM” remind us, regardless of creed, of all being equal and one.

An exciting schedule of programs and events will accompany the I AM exhibition at each venue to stimulate discussion, dialogue and education, promoting further understanding.


The Westies - Say It.

SW3 & Resurrection exhibitions

SW3, by Alice Bree, Zi Ling and Brian Mears

This exhibition, curated by Eldarin Yeong Studio, showcases the works of three inspiring artists responding to the theme of 'Delight'. The exhibition is open for public view until Saturday 18 March 2017 at Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Road, SW3 5EZ. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 7.30pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm. 

Alice Bree is a ceramic artist trained at the Central School of Art and Design in the 80s. She taught ceramics in the Drawing Schools at Eton College and the University of Hertfordshire for over ten years. Her work has been influenced by Gordon Baldwin with whom she worked at Eton. Her earthenware decorated with engobes produces an organic and colourful surface structure in a distinctive style.

Zi Ling is a visual artist trained at the Chelsea College of Arts and Central Academy of Fine Arts China. Her watercolour portraits and figurative works have been presented at the Royal Insititute of Painters in Water Colours, Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Columbia Threadneedle Prize, Society of Women Artists, and the National Art Museum of China.

Brian Mears is a self-taught watercolour artist who started painting after his retirement from the Merchant Navy as an engineer. Apart from nature, he has also been inspired by the works of Caspar Friedrich. His watercolour landscapes, capturing the English countryside with delicacy and detail, have been featured in exhibitions at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields and at the Menier Gallery,

Image result for hurtado centre resurrection exhibition

Resurrection exhibition

The Hurtado Centre’s Resurrection Exhibition has at its heart the ambitious goal of inviting people into an experience of the Resurrection itself, to taste what it is like to be restored in the fullness of humanity. If it succeeds even to some extent, it will have been more than worthwhile. 

Artists from many different Christian and artistic backgrounds have contributed works that convey the history of salvation of which the Resurrection is the culmination. They hope that the richness of their work will give a felt sense of the beauty of the Resurrection. Art has a special vocation to show forth truths which words alone are inadequate to express. As Pope Benedict XVI said: ‘Reason alone as it's expressed in the sciences can't be man's complete answer to reality, and it can't express everything that man can, wants to, and has to express. I think God built this into man. Art along with science is the highest gift God has given him.” (Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, p. 47)

The Hurtado Jesuit Centre in partnership with Farm Street Jesuit Church, and St Patrick’s Art Studios. Entry to the exhibition is free and many works are for sale. It is billed as being the largest exhibition of contemporary Christian art in the Capital for over a decade with over thirty artists exhibiting and more than seventy pieces on display. Artists include Andrew White, Francis Hoyland, Penny Warden and Marcia Scott as well as other established and up and coming figures.

The Resurrection Exhibition will be open on the following dates

The Hurtado Jesuit Centre, 2 Chandler Street, E1W 2QT - 19.00-21.30 21st April-2017: Private Viewing 10.30-17.30 22nd and 23rd April 2017: Open to the Public

Farm Street Church, Mayfair: 19.00-21.30 28th April-2017: Private Viewing 10.30-17.30 29th and 30th April 2017: Open to the Public


U2 - Desire.

Mental Health Matters

A Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 10th Anniversary Satellite Event In Aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity (registered charity No1146420) 6pm for 6.30pm on Thursday 30 March 2017 St Stephen Walbrook, City of London, EC4N 4BN.

Mental ill health touches every one of us in one way or another. Whether personally, professionally or through friends and family. One in six UK adults experienced episodes related to a common mental disorder in the past week. The damage that can be caused from out-of-control stress, anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression - a by no means an exhaustive list - is never too far away from us.

Following the recent launch of the first Institute of Directors Mental Health Strategy, IoD City is proud to bring together leading authorities and the pioneers of workplace mental health programmes to share their experience, insights and wellbeing guidance with our members and guests. St Stephen Walbrook, our host venue for the evening, is also the birthplace of Samaritans, the charity set up by Chad Varah over sixty years ago to provide listening and emotional support for people in distress.

Our Speakers:

Felicity Varah Harding is an ambassador for Samaritans and the daughter of their founder, Prebendary Dr Chad Varah CH, CBE. She has a long and varied career in social and therapeutic work and has performed various roles within the voluntary and charitable sectors - including with Voluntary Service Overseas in Anguilla, a non-executive role for National Victim Support and trustee and later Chair of Vision Aid Overseas. Felicity is a member of the Court of Assistants of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and will become Master of the Company in 2017/18.

The Reverend Sally Muggeridge is curate of St Stephen Walbrook. A former Chief Executive of the Industry and Parliament Trust, she has skills and professional recognition in both marketing and human resource development. Sally has worked at Board level in several major international plcs
including British Telecom, Cable and Wireless, Pearson and Total. She served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors in 2013/14 and is Chaplain to the Lady Masters Association.

John Binns is a Non-Executive Director with the City Mental Health Alliance and Vice Chair and Trustee of Mind. A former Partner with Deloitte, he is now nationally and internationally recognised as an independent advisor to high perfromance organisations and individuals on mental health, wellbeing, and personal resilience. John is a qualified CBT coach.

Colonel (Retd) Simon Diggins OBE served for over 36 years in the British Army from 1978 to 2014 after which he was a Director of Strategy and Campaign Consulting before joining the NHS in 2016. He is currently a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services Manager at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. Simon will be speaking on the work of the London Veterans Service. This
is a free NHS Mental Service for all ex-service members of the British Armed Forces living in or
registered with a GP in London. The Service also supports veterans who have served in the Reserved Forces.

Net proceeds from the event will be donated to The Lord Mayor’s Big Curry Lunch 2017 in aid of ABF The Soldiers Charity. Ticket price per person is £30 (inclusive of VAT of £5.00) for members and £36 (inclusive of VAT of £6.00) for non-members. Dress code is business wear. Bookings may be made via the IoD website


Pēteris Vasks - Klātbūtne ('Presence').

Monday, 13 March 2017

First HeartEdge Mailer

The first HeartEdge Mailer was sent today. We plan to hand deliver one of these into email inboxes of those on our mailing list, about this time, each month. Each mailer includes:
  • HeartEdge update – useful news from HeartEdge members, dates etc
  • Links to a useful article or two – and helpful stories and resources
  • A note from Revd Dr Sam Wells, and occasional guests
We’re all busy. So, we want to make this useful and inspiring. Hope you enjoy!

Keynote: “At that point we realise what we’re really about…”

At St Martin-in-the-Fields we have a limited company, and once a year we have a board awayday. We really need to raise income, not least because making a commitment to pay the London Living Wage has put quite a hole in our balance sheet.
Because the costs of doing anything in central London are so high, there comes a moment in any discussion about a new income source when someone says, ‘Wouldn’t in just be cheaper to rent out the room?’ And at that point we realise what we’re really about here. We employ all our own staff – we only outsource the cleaning, IT and security. We don’t just do whatever makes the most money. We’re trying to become an exemplary organisation – paying people properly, listening to their needs and concerns – but also developing a house style of how we do and think and talk about church and mission and business and music and everything else.

What we’re trying to do is to foster a conversation about precisely these kinds of challenges. How to keep our focus on the kingdom when there are so many ways to get distracted. How to keep our team broad and diverse, amid all the pressure to work only with people who think the way we do. How to keep going when the last five ideas got nowhere. Who to look up to and imitate when it feels you’re ploughing a lone furrow.

We want you to be part of that conversation of humility and wisdom, or energy and experience, of vision and practicalities. As we walk together, we believe we shall feel our hearts on fire just as did the disciples on the evening of the resurrection that inspires all our attempts at resurrection.

Revd Dr Sam Wells

Launch event findings

During the afternoon of our launch in February we invited you talk about assets in your church to support mission, then repeat and locate the obstacles. We’ve written up the findings from a fascinating 45 minutes discussion – you can find them here… Lots to help us steer by.


Switchfoot - When We Come Alive.

Lecture & Poetry Reading

In the context of Crucifixions: Francis BaconRupert Loydell read poetry inspired by the work of Francis Bacon and also by the annunciation at St Stephen Walbrook tonight. As well as his own work, he also read Bacon-inspired poems by Peter Gillies and Brian Louis Pearce. Francis Bacon is not your friend he wrote in an earlier poem while also acknowledging that Bacon burned bright and that the spirit of God was upon him, urgent and toxic.

Loydell founded Stride magazine in 1982 and has, since then, published several hundred titles in Stride's wide-ranging list of poetry, fiction, and critical texts; the magazine itself is now online. In addition to editing Stride, he is currently 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

In his latest collection Dear Mary he writes about art and life and how they intersect. Fascinated by both renaissance and contemporary painting, he re-invents moments of annunciation in today's world, and revels in the colours and sunshine of Italy. This is a world of wonder and surprise, where aliens abduct the Virgin Mary, Francis Bacon paints angels, and even the weather forecast predicts the future. This is a book which explores how we might wonder, explain, and begin to understand. 

In my lecture on 'The crucifixion in modern art' I used theologian Paul Tillich's idea that the 'rediscovery of the expressive element in art since about 1900' was 'a decisive event for the relation of religion and the visual arts' as it 'made religious art again possible', to think about the crucifixion in modern art while also considering the use that Francis Bacon makes of this image. We reflected that 'the two world wars led artists like Bacon to look towards the Crucifixion as one of the few symbols that could contain the potency of their emotions.' 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. 'Images from the concentration camps proved to be a catalyst for some of the most powerful depictions of the crucifixion; images showing a bloody and haggard Christ whose body bore witness to the “continuing beastliness and cruelty of mankind.”' The majority of artists doing so, including Francis Bacon, used Expressionism as their main means of bearing witness.


The Beat Aeroplanes - Angel Words.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Art Below & Crucifixions: Francis Bacon

Art Below is featuring posters of drawings by Francis Bacon from 'The Francis Bacon Collection of the drawings donated to Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino' at stations including St.Paul's, Green Park and Bond Street. Drawings of Popes and also a Crucifixion drawing feature on the posters. The original drawings can be seen at St Stephen Walbrook until 31 March.


Sister Rosetta Tharpe - This Train.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Stations of the Cross & Stations of the Resurrection

Stations of the Cross
St Stephen Walbrook London EC4N 8BN
Saturday 15 — Sunday 16 April 2017
10pm — 6am
Stations of the Resurrection
St Paul’s Cathedral London EC4M 8AD
Wednesday 26 April 2017
7 — 9 pm
Mark Dean video / sound
Lizzi Kew Ross & Co choreography / dance
Curated by Lucy Newman Cleeve
Man&Eve Projects

St Stephen Walbrook, designed by Christopher Wren in 1672, accommodates the first classical dome to have been built in England, and was Wren’s prototype for St Paul’s Cathedral. This architectural relationship provides a physical and interpretive context for the premiere of new work by Mark Dean and Lizzi Kew Ross & Co, in two events curated by Lucy Newman Cleeve.

Stations of the Cross brings together 14 video works by Mark Dean that reinterpret the Medieval tradition of making a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation of the path Jesus walked to Calvary on the day of his crucifixion. The videos are not literal depictions of this journey. They rely upon Dean’s trademark appropriation of iconic film and video footage and music, to introduce visual and aural puns that behave as the generators and interrogators of meaning within the work, setting up a series of disputations between the different elements being sampled. They will be projected onto the circular Henry Moore altar at St Stephen Walbrook throughout the night on Easter eve. Audience members are invited to stay for the duration but free to come and go, as part of a vigil event that culminates in a performance of A Prelude to Being Here by Lizzi Kew Ross & Co and an optional dawn Eucharist.

Here Comes The Sony is a 12 monitor video and sound installation that reinterprets the less definitive tradition of the Stations of the Resurrection, which emerged to encourage meditation on the resurrection appearances of Jesus, and will be installed for the first time under the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral during Eastertide. Being Here, devised by choreographer, Lizzi Kew Ross and the dancers, connects the two events and will be performed in the middle of the circular stage formed by the placement of the television monitors. It combines images of human presence, comfort, hope, loss and regret implicit in the Resurrection stories with the shifting qualities of colour and sound formed by the installation. While not enacting the narratives, the dance performance is an interpretation of the moment, producing a sense of a shared journey and progression through time and space and enabling the audience to curate the tension and the distance between the installation and their own responses.

Wren designed his churches to be 'auditories' in which everyone present could see, hear and feel themselves part of the congregation. Stations of the Cross and Stations of the Resurrection function in a similar way to the Mystery Plays, providing a contemporary re interpretation of the story of Easter. The audience is an integral part of each event that, like the Visitatio Sepulchri liturgical dramas from the 10th – 11th centuries, are firmly placed in local contexts and intended to involve the whole community.

The events are free but places are limited. Tickets can be booked in advance from:

Supported by the City of London Corporation, The Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, The Diocese of London, Capital Vision 2020 Creatives Network, The Jerusalem Trust, commission4mission, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, gigCMO and the Worshipful Company of Marketors.

Gavin Bryars Feat. Tom Waits - Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet.