CREATION A CELEBRATION

 CREATION A CELEBRATION EXHIBITION

JUNE 2014

 

Radford Road Church in Royal Leamington Spa decided to hold a month long exhibition of Sue Symons Creation A Celebration panels. The Exhibition was a free event. An application was made to Art Talk for a grant to help to stage the exhibition and we were delighted when our application was successful.

The aim was for the church to invite local groups and individuals and especially people who do not normally go into a church, into our building to see a superb exhibition based on a Biblical passage. We hoped that many people would come through our doors for the very first time and begin to focus on the beautiful world in which we live. We also hoped that our own congregation would focus on the story of the Creation as written in Genesis.  Although the majority of people knew the story well we wanted to emphasise how Sue Symons had scrutinised each verse and found a deeper meaning and understanding. We hoped that this would encourage our church regulars to focus more diligently on the Bible passages they read and to think, at a deeper level, about their own faith.

The Exhibition was held in the church and the normal activities and services continued throughout the time of the Exhibition. Our Ministers used the theme of creation for some of the services of worship.

Much planning in the organisation and in the publicity of the event took place in the preceding months to ensure optimum success though, in fact, many people came because they had been told about the exhibition by others in the community.

Some people came in pre-arranged groups and were given a short introductory talk about the artist and the Genesis story before they viewed the exhibition.

A hand out was prepared giving details of other activities in which our visitors could engage and we were surprised by the number of strangers who participated in these.

There was a Prayer Tree with paper leaves on which prayers about Creation or about particular concerns could be written.

A Prayer Tapestry Shawl made from a baby’s shawl obtained from a charity shop was fixed to a mobile frame. Lengths of coloured ribbon were donated by our congregation and visitors were invited to weave a piece of ribbon through the open mesh of the shawl whilst engaging in private prayer.

John Birch, who has written several poems about Creation and put them on the internet, readily gave permission for his verses to be printed and mounted on the walls of the church to enhance the Creation panels. He was delighted that his poems were to be used in this way.

Opportunity was given for visitors to draw pictures of their own interpretation of Creation, though many people were reluctant to do this.

We encouraged people to sit quietly after they had viewed the Exhibition and reflect on the wonderful panels they had seen.

We had stewards on hand, including, on three occasions, our Synod Evangelical Minister,  to engage with our visitors about faith issues at whatever level the visitors felt comfortable with. This was regarded as an essential part of the aim and success of the exhibition. Tea and biscuits were served in the adjoining reception area which gave added opportunity for conversation.

We were delighted with the number and diversity of our visitors. There were groups from local churches, Townswomen’s Guilds, WIs, individuals from the local Art and Design Department of the local FE College, people from the immediate locality as well as our own church people. We had a special evening for our Brownies and Rainbows and their parents.

A Methodist Circuit Prayer Breakfast (our church is a Methodist/URC LEP) was held at Radford Road on June 21st and Creation and the Exhibition were used as the theme for the morning prayer activities.

It was obvious that many of our visitors were moved by the wonderful panels which they saw. Many sat at length in front of each panel in turn, trying to absorb the wonderful craftsmanship, the choice of colours, the design and the intricacies of each picture. Several people commented that the artist must have spent a considerable time looking in depth at each verse and that is how the Bible should be studied.

Many of our visitors said they wanted to return and bring friends or relations to see the Exhibition.

Some of the comments made were,

“Seeing these panels was a religious experience”

“I’m pleased you provided chairs in front of each panel because I felt the need to sit and reflect on the detail of the Creation pictures”.

“You could tell, by looking at a picture, that the portrayal was inspired by a personal faith.”

“The most skilled artist could not achieve a perfect picture unless they were inspired by faith”

This Exhibition has proved to be extremely  successful. We feel that this was an excellent way of inviting the local community into our church to see this wonderful work and hopefully, to set them on a journey to help them to explore their faith at a deeper level.

Visitors were able to make donations if they so wished and the wonderful sum of £739 was given which will be given to the Organ Fund..

 

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This Exhibition has proved to be extremely  successful. We feel that this was an excellent way of inviting the local community into our church to see this wonderful work and hopefully, to set them on a journey to help them to explore their faith at a deeper level.

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