Newsletter No. 2 – April 2009

Since our launch in March interest in Commission For Mission has grown considerably with new members, a new webpage (http://commissionformission.blogspot.com/), plans for three exhibitions, funding for a catalogue and our first commission. Information about all of these exciting developments can be found in this edition of the Newsletter.

Information and updates about members can be included in future newsletters and should be sent to Jonathan Evens at: jonathan.evens@btinternet.com or 2 Regent Gardens, Ilford, IG3 8UL.

Commission For Mission ‘s launch event

Commission For Mission enjoyed a successful launch on 7th March at St Alban’s Romford.

Fr. Roderick Hingley gave a tour of artworks commissioned for the church and described how the series of commissions had helped to transform the church in terms of light, space and welcome. He spoke about the way in which commissioning contemporary artists had meant that the artworks had relevance and resonance for local people, most obviously in the Mark Cazalet chancel ceiling mural with its imagery drawn from rural and urban Havering.

What the achievement at St Alban’s demonstrates is not only that the commissioning of contemporary Christian Art by Parish Churches is possible but that sensitive, informed and brave commissioning enhances the mission of the church as well as its aesthetic.

Our patron Rt. Revd. David Hawkins, Bishop of Barking, gave the keynote address. He began by speaking about creativity as both God-given and a key aspect of what it means to be human. He described the birth and growth of a child into adulthood as the most astonishing kinetic sculpture. He outlined how he saw spirituality breaking through in much contemporary and modern art and called for Christians to be sensitive interpreters of such art. Among the examples he cited were the humanity of Anthony Gormley’s work based as it is on his own body and the ‘something more’ of Damien Hirst’s diamond encrusted skull, For The Love Of God.
He ended by using a quote attributed to Rowan Williams “that artists are special people but every person is a special kind of artist.” commission4mission would need, he suggested, to be a support the special people that artists are in their creativity but also to find ways of revealing and developing the creativity of all.
Among those present at the launch were representatives of the Arts Centre Group, Faith & Image and artlove.com.
An organising committee for Commission For Mission was elected during the meeting. The organising committee is: Harvey Bradley, Alex Chaplin, Jonathan Evens (Secretary & Treasurer), Steven Saxby and Henry Shelton (Chair).

Pentecost Festival Art Exhibition
Four Commission For Mission artists – Harvey Bradley, Jonathan Evens, Rosalind Hore and Henry Shelton – will be exhibiting at Central Hall Westminster (Storey’s Gate, Westminster, SW1H 9NH) as part of the Festival Feel section of the Pentecost Festival programme. Our exhibition will be taking place on Saturday 30th May from 12 noon to 6.00pm. In addition to our exhibition, Harvey Bradley and Henry Shelton will each give a painting demonstration. For more details see: http://www.pentecostfestival.co.uk/#/commission4mission/4533128379.

‘Fun in the Park’ workshop

Commission For Mission will be running an art installation workshop at the ‘Fun in the Park’ event being organised by Holy Trinity Barkingside (http://eastlondonchurch.co.uk/www/index.php) on Saturday 13th June (11.00am – 4.00pm). As part of this workshop participants will be able to create a small artwork reflecting something of themselves. Each artwork will be nailed to a cross for display as a temporary installation at Holy Trinity following the event.

West Ham Festival exhibition

Commission For Mission will also be exhibiting at All Saints West Ham (http://www.westhamchurch.org.uk/index.html) in June as part of the West Ham Festival. A wide selection of work by our artists will be on show throughout the Festival which runs from 20th – 27th June.

Showcase Exhibition & Study Day

A week-long exhibition to showcase Commission For Mission artists and a Study Day on the commissioning process are to be held at Chelmsford Cathedral in November 2009.
The exhibition will open on Monday 2nd November and will continue until the Study Day on Saturday 7th November (10.00am – 2.30pm). Contributors to the Study Day will include our Patron, Bishop David, the Cathedral Dean, Peter Judd, the Chair of Chelmsford DAC, Dr. James Bettley, and Commission For Mission artists. The theme for the Study Day will be perspectives on commissioning Christian Art. Please rsvp to Jonathan Evens at: jonathan.evens@btinternet.com or 2 Regent Gardens, Ilford, IG3 8UL if you are interested in coming.
Catalogue funding
Commission For Mission has been successful in securing funds from London Over the Border to publish a catalogue of our artists, their work, and our activities and services in order to promote the commissioning and placing of contemporary Christian Art in churches as an opportunity for mission in the local community and as a fundraising opportunity for charities (as all Commission For Mission commissions involve a donation to a charity).
In our application we said that the visual arts can contribute to mission by: speaking eloquently of the Christian faith; providing a reason for people to visit a church; providing a link between churches and local arts organisations/initiatives; and providing a focus around which local people can come together for a shared activity.
Member profile: Harvey Bradley
Harvey Bradley’s creative work includes: Stoneware and Porcelain pottery (domestic with ecclesiastical commissions); Oil Paintings (reflective, figurative subjects that are open to prayerful interpretation); and Designs for banners (carried out by the Emmanuel Billericay banner group). His work can be viewed on the Veritasse website at: www.veritasse.co.uk and at the Anglian Potters site at: www.anglianpotters.org.uk.
New webpage: For up-to-date information and news on Commission For Mission together with profile of member artists, please go to: http://commissionformission.blogspot.com/.