Art, in all its many forms, reveals the beauty and splendour of our creator God. For this reason the Church has always been a patron of the arts, seeking to reveal the awe and wonder of our God through the gifts and talents of God’s people across the ages. Art often explores the spiritual dimension of life, and the entwining of God and God’s people. Art often gives expression to that which is too deep for words alone.
The Anglican Church has a long and proud history of artistic endeavour and the Parish of Wagga Wagga Arts Fund seeks to build upon this tradition, and invest in new and varied expressions of creativity that enhance the artistic and cultural life of Wagga Wagga.
We encourage you to make donations to the fund. Donations over A$2.00 are tax deductible.
For further information, please contact the Arts Fund Chair by clicking here.
St John’s Prayer Path
Project commencing 2013 – to be completed by 2016
The Anglican Church has its roots and traditions within the Celtic Churches of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The Celtic Church brings unique forms and styles of worship to the Anglican Church, often reflected in its art which includes patterns, sign and symbols to reveal deeper meaning and understanding.
The Labyrinth has been a tool used for prayer by Celtic Christians for centuries. It allows the participant to enter on a journey towards the centre, and on that journey is the chance to pray and reflect about life’s journey, with all its twists and turns.
Building upon the theme of a Labyrinth, taking some of our Celtic traditions, and molding them with some Australian traditions, the Parish is seeking to create a space and place for prayer that connects St John’s Church with the Murrumbidgee River.
The Southern corner of the Church, and the area to the rear of St John’s, are areas that are already used as spaces and places for prayer and reflection. They are aesthetically beautiful spaces that allow people to take a moment to wonder, be in awe, and reflect upon life’s journey.
Our desire is to create a Prayer Path that allows people to take a journey from the River to the Cross, and then return to the river again. Along the path are natural features that are enhanced by some wonderful works of art. They aim to cause participants to stop, reflect and pray – and hopefully return to their world refreshed, focused and alive.
The path will meander from nearby the top of the levee bank, past trees and rocks, and on to the cross. The path will not be obtrusive, or straight – it is designed to be a journey that is taken slowly, and even done with bare feet.
The path will therefore be constructed of materials that allow you to walk placidly and carefully. The hope is also that it will require little ongoing maintenance.
There will also be some planting of local vegetation to provide for screening, and enhance the journey. We hope that people will be able to be lost in the space – however, the church will remain a visible and focused presence.
The first “prayer station” is at the iron bark eucalyptus tree. A beautifully sculpured seat by local artist John Wood runs around the base of the tree. Like a stick in a flowing stream, the seat ripples around the base of the tree.
The seat invites you to take a moment to sit and watch the river flow by, lean up against the beautiful iron bark, and even look up into the branches above and contemplate all that is flowing around you.
Take a moment to pray about the journey you are on before moving off on your prayer walk.
This sculpture has been made possible through a grant by Wagga Wagga City Council and a donation from a member of the Parish.
The path will then move around the tree towards the second “prayer station” which is located on the edge of the rocks. At this point the path divides, one going along the edge of the rocks, and the second moving up the rock face to the cleft in the rock. You are given a choice, and invited to reflect on the path you might choose, and why you have done so – a challenge, lack of time, easier, harder, more interesting?
To assist those who choose to climb the artwork in that location forms part of the railing – which provides safety, but in itself is a feature of the path – perhaps a chance to reflect on those who we rely upon on our journey?
The path then moves in a westerly direction to a third prayer station, a cluster of stones onto which a bowl of water is placed – a bowl of lamentation. The bowl will be made of two elements, and water will be able to be collected within it. A chair will be located behind it, allowing those who sit to face the bowl, and look toward the river. The participant is invited to sit for a moment, to contemplate the path they have taken, to lament before beginning the journey again. Lamentation is to express grief and sorrow. Grief is an important part of our lifes journey. Expressing it allows us to name what is important, and to move forward in hope.
We are reminded that on the journey we are not alone. God, who is creator if all, and knows what it is to be one of us, walks with us, shares in our pain and suffering, and when necessary carries us and takes the burden.
The fourth prayer station will be located at the large deciduous tree on the edge of the Calvary Garden, at the eastern end of St John’s. Within the tree are three large nails, symbolic of those which pierced Christ. You are invited to feel them, and to reflect upon our own pain that we often carry.
Finally the path leads to the the cross. At this station you will be invited to take the opportunity to pray and give thanks for the journey that has been, and to invite Christ to continue on the journey that is to come. You are also invited to leave all you need to at the foot of the cross, and only take away that which you need to keep working upon.
After this we step off the path, and form your own path.