2024? A Very Good Year!

2024 is here, and this is the first Emmanuel Magazine of the new year. This beautiful painting, ‘The Elements of the Holy Communion’ by Jacques Iselin adorns the front page of our February 2024 magazine and with good reason. It’s one of the 35 pieces of the Methodist Modern Art Collection which comes to Emmanuel for an exhibition beginning on Sunday 19th May.

Jacques Iselin (1933- ), Oil on canvas, 183 x 106.5 cm, 1963, Methodist Modern Art Collection, ISE/1963

The first time I saw it, I just saw a mangled blob of orange and a few lines, but the closer I looked, the more I saw. There’s bread, possibly wheat too, and certainly there’s a chalice (maybe two) all rich in symbolism for Christians. I think I can see a fish too, and a cross which fills the whole canvas; a white cloth too. The more I look, the more I see something of beauty in this painting, and all these elements seem to be fused together in one whole image.

It’s not overstating it to describe the Collection as one of the most significant faith themed art collections in the country, and we are very fortunate to be able to host the collection for just over three weeks. In the time, the artwork will be inside the sanctuary, and we’ll worship around it, have devotions and prayers using pieces, have various outside speakers, schools and groups come, and be open to the general public too. What a wonderful celebration of the new space and its possibilities – and what a wonderful opportunity to use the art to deepen and enrich faith, as well as make new friendships. So…

Are you an expert on modern art? No? Nor me.
Did you do an art history degree? No, I didn’t either.
Do you know what you like/what you don’t like in art?
Well, I think I do! At best, I’m certainly in this category!

Some of the collection I find eminently likeable, beautiful and meaningful. Some of the collection I struggle to understand, and need the guides and sheets to help me. It’s best when I just ask others – and we’re blessed by having an amazing Curator for the exhibition, Pat Latham, who is doing a marvellous job guiding us through the collection and helping us plan for a special event that will make a very strong mark on our first year in our new home.

Each Magazine between now and May will feature a different image from the Collection as a cover piece – to whet our appetites and help us prepare. Just wait til you see them in the flesh, they are impressive indeed.

Want to know more or to help? Speak with Tricia Elhinn or myself and we’ll point you the right way. We’ll need stewards and volunteers (no art degree needed!), coffee-makers and more. Thank you to those who have offered already, we’ve kept your names. We’re also looking for people who might be willing to make a donation to help with some of the initial costs of hosting the collection. Certainly from now on you’ll hear the Collection being mentioned in our meetings and planning, as events fall into place and publicity is shared.

May 2024 be an exciting and eye-opening year for us all, and may all who prepare for the exhibition be blessed in all their endeavours.

Rev. Paul Tabraham

Excerpt taken from Emmanuel Magazine February 2024. The magazine, published ten times annually, features articles contributed or authored by our members. It includes a delightful blend of testimonials, devotions, book reviews, prayers, jokes, upcoming events, and more. Grab your copy of the latest magazine at the church foyer. If you prefer to receive a copy by mail or email, feel free to reach out to us.

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