Summer 2015/16 Exhibition-The Great War “For King and Country”

St. Paul’s and the Great War “For King and Country” June – September 2015

The 2015 summer exhibition is greatly indebted to the many hours of research by Tinker McKay (who provided us with so much of St. Paul’s own history to work with) and to the astute eye and design sense of Mike Vavra who created the didactic panels that enflesh the stories and lives of some of those who worshipped at St. Paul’s a century or more ago. The exhibition had grown out of conversations with Tinker as she shared the many interesting glimpses of our shared parish and individual stories as they related to the era of the Great War. Photographs, sketches, excerpts from texts and personal correspondence helped describe the character and qualities of the young soldiers who joined the war effort – and that of their families and friends, and the clergy of St. Paul’s. The recurring motif in the exhibition was the Memorial Arch at St. Paul’s thatbears the names of 91 young men who died in that conflict. Indeed, the exhibition’s narrative (very much like a work-in-progress, and likened to an archeological dig that daily brings new finds to the surface) is our story today as parishioners of St. Paul’s. It should not strike someone as strange to find these images and stories on display within a church. With the men and women whose lives are highlighted in this exhibition we have all been baptised into a shared new and eternal life. In a homily, Br. Mark Brown (SSJE), refers to the physical church as a kind of threshold between two infinities, the one “behind us the certainty of decay and demise of all things – and before us the eternity of true life [.] A church can be a place where we come to know that this new infinity is our birthright. That having called us up and out of non-existence, the Creator invites us to be with him in the place of infinite life. The place where the Saints have gone before us.”Then he said, to me, ‘Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord your God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.’

Ezekiel 37.11-14

Ian McKinnon, Parish Artist-in- Residence

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