Connecting Theology, Arts and Stained Glass

St Luke’s Anglican Church in Woy Woy has been transformed over the weekend by a set of personally designed and crafted stained glass windows. The new faceted glass was unveiled at a special reception in the lead up to a three-day arts and theology symposium being hosted by St Luke’s later this week.

The Reception was attended by 100 people, including (pictured above) State Member for Gosford, Ms Leisel Tesche MP, Rector of St Luke’s, The Rev’d Michael Davies, Symposium Coordinator and Artist, Alexandra Banks, Aunty Robyn Reid and Bryan Reid. As well as parishioners, families, friends, neighbours and many from the local community.

Symposium Coordinator Alexandra Banks, also PhD candidate at St Francis’ Theological College, is the artist who designed, created and installed the new faceted glass panels. With the help of many in the St Luke’s parish who contributed to its installation.

 

In her art, Alex asks the question: What does it mean to live in the in-between?

“As an artist, and theologian, I actively seek out the edges of creative and scholarly domains,” Alex says. “My story and my lived experiences are not adequately represented at the centre of traditional ecclesiastical practice… My artistic practice – specifically, faceted glass – provides the visual framework to bridge the gap between a theology of trauma, lived praxis, and contextual knowing.”

So, why stained glass specifically?

“Museums and churches are historically in the practice of visually documenting and curating humanity’s ongoing relationship with creation and Creator. It could be argued that ecclesiastical art forms such as architecture, stained-glass, and liturgical ornamentation contribute to the archiving and interpretation of humanity’s perpetually-unfolding creative response to the infinite self-communication between humanity and the divine.”

“Ecclesiastical architecture and stained-glass windows have been a constant historical visual expression of Western Christian theological debate. The aim, however, of these art forms is to move those who encounter them beyond their own purely objective knowledge of reality, as if there is such a thing, and toward a curiosity of the incomprehensibility of God.”

‘Vessels: Theology and the Arts Symposium’ is being held 12-14th July at St Luke’s, and will gather theologians, artists, clerics, and philosophers to explore the relationships between the arts and theology. Those who creatively engage with theology, ecclesiology, liturgy, and the public sphere of spirituality and faith. There will be an art exhibition, poetry, creative workshops, short papers and music.

Many from our Diocese will be involved in the symposium – Bishop Charlie Murry, Bishop Peter Stuart and Fr Michael Davies, Rev’d Greg Colby and Fr Roger Sharr will be presenting papers, Rev’d Canon Andrew Eaton has artworks on display, and Rev’d Bryce Amner and Sally Cloke have installed an interactive prayer space.

Stay tuned for another article about the Symposium and the story of the stained glass artworks…