Our Vision Artwork

As you know, we published a closely reasoned and beautifully researched vision document this last year, called ‘Towards our Third Century’. It is the result of at least three years of dedicated thought, work and debate. I was grappling with where we should take that excellent work next. It’s excellent in its content  – that’s solid gold – yet maybe a little dull in its necessary wordiness. It does not quicken the pulse. It’s inspired. It’s not gripping.

So I was grappling with how we could describe our Church of St James; how we should point to our vision for the future; how most easily we could see what actions we could take; and how best to show what we are at present – when a conversation with a Riding Mill artist, the lovely Hannah Thorpe, gave us both inspiration. Hannah was showing me some artwork she had produced for commercial firms to illustrate their values. One was Greggs, the sandwich makers of the Northeast.

She takes up the story: “I showed Riding Mill’s St James Church’s Priest in Charge my Greggs ‘pasty map’ at a village event. Happily it led to St James Church’s ‘vision’: to five rough drafts, a religious iconography study, some interesting theology chat and plenty of craic. And there’s less pastry…”

Her brief was to represent the church’s vision ‘Towards our Third Century’ in a mainly pictorial, joyful, accessible, and not stuffy way: with a nod to our local context as well as wider theology. Hannah remarked that “It’s definitely bonkers, but hopefully in a good way.”  You can be the judge.

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