Monday 21 February 2011

Partnership possibilities

The following letter has been sent to a range of arts and faith organisations by our Patron, the Bishop of Barking:

Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number and range of organizations engaging in fostering links between the Arts and Christianity (or faith communities, more generally).

This increase includes commission4mission which I, as Patron, launched in March 2009 to encourage the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches, as a means of fundraising for charities and as a mission opportunity for churches.

On one level this increase is exciting as it indicates a growing interest in the connections between faith and the Arts but on another level, if such growth continues, it could be seen as an additional complication for artists and those interested in the Arts to negotiate.

commission4mission intends to work in partnership with other organizations and therefore we are writing to ask whether you would be interested in either a one-to-one discussion about partnership possibilities or a broader discussion with others engaged in fostering and exploring links between faith and the Arts. We would be very interested in meeting with you to explore ideas and possibilities further.

We are aware of the establishment of the Forum for Art and Religion (FAR), which aims to represent and address the needs of those who work at the interface between Art and Religion, and are contacting FAR as part of this initiative to explore possibilities for partnership working in future.

If this invitation to meet with us is of interest to you, please respond to our secretary, Revd. Jonathan Evens ( We look forward to hearing from you and to the possibility of exploring some form of partnership working in future.

Friday 18 February 2011

Launch of the Art Trail for the Barking Episcopal Area (3)

A new Art Trail created for the Barking Episcopal Area by commission4mission with funding from London-over-the-Border was jointly launched by the Bishops of Chelmsford and Barking at St Paul’s Goodmayes on Thursday 17th February 2011.

The aim of the Art Trail is to raise awareness of the rich and diverse range of modern and contemporary arts and crafts from the last 100 years which can be found within the 36 featured churches. The significant works of art in these churches, taken collectively, represent a major contribution to the legacy of the church as an important commissioner of art.

The Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking, has said: “For centuries the Arts have been an important medium through which public communication of the faith has taken place and the Church has had a lengthy and happy marriage with the Arts.” The Art Trail demonstrates that this long relationship between the Church and the Arts continues today, as the Trail includes work by significant twentieth century artists such as Eric Gill, Hans Feibusch, John Hutton and John Piper together with contemporary work by the like of Mark Cazalet, Jane Quail and Henry Shelton.

At the launch of the Art Trail, The Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, described and interpreted a painting by Stanley Spencer, from his Christ in the Wilderness series, entitled The Scorpion, before concluding:

“I do not know what other art form could convey and hold the possibility of converging in so many layers. Not just do the visual arts comment on biblical narrative, but they illuminate it in a way that written or spoken forms cannot, being linear forms. Art opens windows on a set of concepts and ideas and brings them together. These windows offer a fresh perspective onto the faith we share, that other forms simply cannot.”

The Bishop of Barking stated that:

“Our inspiration for understanding Christianity comes from the visual arts ... The visual arts continue to be an important way of communicating our faith. Words are not enough to express the breadth, depth and height of what we want to communicate. It’s then that the visual arts express what we want to communicate.

God knew that: for centuries he relied on the words of the prophets and then he realized that he needed to send his Son to communicate in ways that words could not, the breadth, depth and height of his love. The word became flesh: the most beautiful living sculpture ever created – Jesus Christ.”

The Art Trail is being publicised through a leaflet which provides information about the featured artists and churches and includes a map showing the churches featured on the Trail together with contact details, so that visits to one or more churches can be planned in advance. Fine Arts lecturer, artist and commission4mission member, Mark Lewis, researched and developed the leaflet documenting the Art Trail and introduced those present at the launch to some of the highlights of the Trail and the rationale behind it.

Mark Lewis said that his brief had been to research commissioned art and craft in the Episcopal Area from the past 100 years. While stained glass is the dominant Ecclesiastical art form, he had been concerned show a diversity and variety of media and styles within the selections made. He highlighted works such as the significant mosaic by John Piper at St Paul’s Harlow and the striking ‘Spencer-esque’ mural by Fyffe Christie at St Margaret’s Standford Rivers. Churches with particularly fine collections of artworks included: St Albans, Romford; St Andrew’s Leytonstone; St Barnabas Walthamstow; St Margaret’s Barking; St Mary’s South Woodford; and, the church chosen as the location for the launch event, St Paul’s Goodmayes.

Monday 7 February 2011

Run with the Fire (3)

45 artists have asked to be considered to take part in the Run With The Fire project, which is a collaboration between CANA, commission4mission and Veritasse. Their submissions are now with the jury members who are finalising the list of artists they wish to see included. We are very privileged to have Martin Crampin, Marleen Henglaar– Rookmaaker and Dr Dianne Collard as our jurors.

We hope to be notifying artists of the jury’s decision by mid– February.

Run with the Fire will run alongside the London Olympics in 2012. This summer, we will be publicising the project to churches and encouraging them to sign up for a Run with the Fire arts event in their area, with the digital art exhibition acting as a catalyst for art workshops, exhibitions and community events.

If your church would like to receive more information about this, please e-mail Sue Newham on and express an interest.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Launch of the Art Trail for the Barking Episcopal Area (2)

Programme for the launch of the Art Trail for the Barking Episcopal Area
Thursday 17th February, 12 noon, St Paul's Goodmayes

12.00 noon Welcome and introduction by Revd. Jonathan Evens, Secretary of commission4mission and Assistant Area Dean of Redbridge

12.05 pm Speech by Rt. Revd. Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford

12.15 pm Speech by Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking and Patron of commission4mission

12.25 pm Visual presentation of the Art Trail by Mark Lewis, commission4mission member and Fine Arts lecturer

12.40 pm Launch reception and viewing of artworks in St Paul’s Goodmayes

All are welcome to attend. RSVP to or 020 8599 2170.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

New regional c4m representative

We are excited to be able to introduce Wendy McTernan, who has offered to represent commission4mission in Central, South & West London and to link up with our artists living and working in these areas. We think that Wendy's input can help to establish a regional cell for c4m artists in these areas to organise local social and arts events, develop relationships with local churches/structures and commissioning opportunities.

Wendy has been thinking about doing some art curating with a Christian ethos for a couple of years and just recently took the plunge by moving on from her job as Head of Development & Communications with the mission agency Latin Link. As well as seeking new employment, she is pursuing her art and mission interests. One project on which she is working is a photographic exhibition, originally seen in a church in Paris, that she is hoping to bring to London this year linked with the Year of the Bible/Biblefresh.

Wendy will initially be getting in touch with our artists in her area to discuss the idea of a regional c4m cell and to arrange an initial networking meeting.