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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