‘New Vision’

Welcome to the May Magazine, and the Emmanuel Exhibition of the Methodist Modern Art Collection is almost here! ‘New Vision’ has been quite some years in the undertaking – we obviously couldn’t plan in great specifics until we were in the new premises. A huge thank you to the Steering Group who have overseen, planned, prepared and patiently worked to make sure that the Exhibition will be going ahead – which begins on Sunday 19th May 2024 – Pentecost.

Untitled – Pentecost, John Brokenshire (b.1958), Oil on canvas 76.2 x 76.5 cm, c.2003, Methodist Modern Art Collection BRO/2004, Image Copyright © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. The Methodist Church Registered Charity no. 1132208

So the title image for the magazine this month, appropriately enough, is this beautiful piece by John Brokenshire. He writes that he: “was keen to get a very loosely represented image of a bird in space into my painting. But I wanted a sense of a bird hovering, not on a trajectory. At the same time, I hoped to refer in some way to angels: even if very obliquely by colour alone or by suggestion. Darkness had to be the counterpoint to this.…The title Pentecost was not suggested by me, but was the highest interpretation I could hope for from any viewer.”

It was Sarah Middleton – who will be known to a number of people at Emmanuel as she worshipped in the CSUA and was a Trustee of the Collection. She was in a gallery with a colleague and saw this piece, and it was she who suggested the title! How fabulous that the artist’s own imagination and creativity combined with Sarah’s own perception and interpretation of the image, to make a name for it.

What do you see when you see this image? Pentecost? A dove? Something of angels or something else altogether. For me, I see something of Genesis and God’s creativity in this painting: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). I like the darkness surrounding the bird, and also the way the light from the wing seems to bleed into darkness, seemingly turning the darkness lighter. That says something to me about God’s light and life in the chaos and darkness of this world.

‘New Vision’ will be a wonderful opportunity for us to look afresh, see different interpretations and to learn new perspectives. We’ll do it together too, in our worship, our devotional sessions and various talks.

Enjoy the May Mag, and thanks as ever to all those who make it happen for us. Grace and Peace for the days in May.


Excerpt taken from Emmanuel Magazine May 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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