Redbridge churches reaching out through their art

FAITH leaders hope a new project designed to open up a treasure trove of religious art will help more people engage with the church.

An art trail was launched at St Paul’s Church, Goodmayes, and given the seal of approval by the Bishop of Chelmsford, Right Rev Stephen Cottrell and Bishop of Barking, Right Rev David Hawkin, who spoke of the project’s aim.

Paintings, water colours, stained, glass windows, sculptures and clock towers at 36 churches in the Barking episcopal area of the diocese of Chelmsford are now officially open for the public to savour.

Echoing the sentiments of the two bishops, Father Benjamin Rutt –Field, of St Paul’s Church, said: “The hope is that people will engage with the church in ways other than just coming in for their normal service, which may put some people off.

“We also want to make people aware that the church is now, and always has really, been a great patron of the arts, and there is great wealth of local talent and local art in the community. So we just want to make people aware that it’s here and people can come and enjoy it.”

Artist Henry Shelton, who displays his art at St Paul’s and All Saints in Greensted Road, Goodmayes, also attended the opening event last week.

Other churches included on the trail include St John the Evangelist in Seven Kings, with its nativity window produced by C.E Kemp & Co and St Mary’s, South Woodford, which has two stained glass windows by prominent post war artist Alan Younger.

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Speaking after the opening ceremony, Rev Rutt-Field said: “We had a good turnout, there was a broad mix of people; people from the Christian faith, from the congregation, from the Redbridge deanery, a very influential spectrum of people from all different angles.”

Churches in Havering, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Walthamstow are also included on the trail, which is being rolled out across the country. People are urged to call ahead before dropping in.

For information contact Rev Jonathan Evens 020 8599 2170

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