Crosses Across Cities

In preparation for the Emmanuel exhibition ‘New Vision’ in May and June, our image for the March edition of our Emmanuel Magazine is this interesting work by Michael Edmonds ‘The Cross over the City’. When you see it in the flesh it’s very striking. It’s partly the size – it’s almost a metre wide and a metre and a half high, and being a relief, the rectangular little bricks really do stand out at you.

Michael Edmonds (1926-2014), Polyester, brass and mosaic, relief panel, 150 x 90 cm, 1962, Methodist Modern Art Collection, EDM/1963

What does it make you think of? It reminds me of those modern views of cities taken from drones, high above places like London and New York – maybe especially the latter with the streets and avenues intersecting. I have to be honest and say the dusty, sandy colours also make me think of those awful pieces of footage you see when missiles are about to strike too. In the midst of it all, the cross shape seems to be two highways running through the cityscape. Maybe ‘The Cross Through the City’ would, strictly speaking, have been a more accurate title!

Michael Edmonds, the artist, was a fascinating character whose life was beset by many peaks and troughs. He spent a great deal of time in South Wales including Penarth (where my own grandparents lived for many years). His mother had died giving birth to him, and during the war years he worked in the mines for the war effort. What must it have been like for a creative, artistic young man to have been confined underground working in such an industry? Maybe by the time he created this piece in 1962 he really was yearning to see the world from loftier vantage points! He died about ten years ago after a remarkable artistic career.

So what do you think about this piece? Do you like it, are you moved by it, or left a little cold by it altogether? All views are valid with art, because they’re our own.

Overall – scary drone-footage-imagery notwithstanding – I like this work. It actually reminds me of what we have done with our Emmanuel premises – we made sure that in the very fabric of our building an unmistakable cross is evident. Yes we’re a community space, yes we’re available for hire, yes we do many things on Upperton Road… but first and foremost we are a church premises.

I watched the skilled stonemasons set the Emmanuel cross into the Portland stone at the front, and it tells the world (even while we’re planning our signage) that this is a church, a place of worship and prayer and where God’s love in Jesus Christ is celebrated.

Enjoy the March Mag, and thanks as ever to all those who make it happen for us. Blessings to all.

Rev. Paul Tabraham

Excerpt taken from Emmanuel Magazine March 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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