Lighting Up the church

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Feb, 2019 04:01 PM

St James’ Church Poole has hosted two multi-media artworks as part of an annual festival.

As daylight faded, the scene was set for the second Light Up Poole festival with St James’ Church providing a dramatic backdrop to two pieces of sound and projection works by artists Karen Monid and Ross Ashton on this year’s festival theme of ‘Tides’.

The two pieces lighting up the inside of the church (‘Zenith’) and the outside of the tower (‘Horizon’) provoked thinking about journey of humankind, discovering our place through what we see, and how that view has changed through time as we go beyond the limit of our horizon.

The Revd Lewis Pearson, Assistant Curate at St James’ Church, said:
“I was immediately interested when Light Up Poole approached us. Both as one of the founding members of the reCreate Festival in Alderholt and as I am currently doing an MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture through Sarum College, I have a huge interest in the intersection between spirituality, art and popular culture.

”For St James’ this felt like another step in becoming more and more immersed within the life of the Old Town and the wider town more generally. Over 10,000 people came through the doors of the church in the nine hours that it was open and what was interesting was the way that the festival itself connected culturally, families walking around together all over the town experiencing creative and interactive works.

The Church itself as a site not only looked spectacular, but as contributor Ross Aston noted:
“The works, particularly inside, saw people not only stopping for a moment before heading off to the next thing, but instead they sat and stopped.”

Revd Pearson added:
“People of all ages in the quiet, within this space where people have prayed for centuries, they looked up and paused. Some people would call it prayer or meditation, others wouldn’t but it definitely was a space that changed people, if only for a brief moment. God was there in and within, I have no doubt, and we had some lovely feedback in person and also via social media including:
“It was so very beautiful & the hot chocolate was amazing, we all had one each, thank you” and
“Was stunning gave me goosebumps, so peaceful”

“A little girl approached one of our team of volunteers serving refreshments with an envelope in which she had placed her pocket money because she wanted to give something to the church because she had enjoyed visiting so much. The artists got to hear about this and were so moved they are hoping to surprise her by sending her a special gift.

“During the set up and the days of the event itself, we moved as a church from simply thinking of ourselves as a venue for hire. Instead, we became immersed in the whole experience, we felt like we were partners with Ross, Karen and Light Up Poole more generally, in providing something good for the community - good for business, but also good for spirit and soul.”

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