time immemorial individuals have sought out relationship with God.
methodologies have varied from age to age, from religion to religion,
but the intent has been the same - to know God through personal
For Christians, believing as we do in there being only one God revealed
to us as the three persons of the Trinity, tradition focuses on
three ways of knowing God: through Biblical study; through communal
worship; and through prayer and meditation.
the season of Lent special attention is paid to penitence, as we
examine our own lives and conduct in the light of God's commandments;
acknowledge our sinfulness; ask God's forgiveness; and attempt to
lead amended lives. During these penitential exercises, we are encouraged
to meditate on Jesus's passion and death as a means of gaining greater
appreciation of God's sacrificial love for us with the expectation
that by so doing we will be drawn into a closer relationship with
of the Lenten devotions used by many Christian faith communities,
including the Episcopal Church, as a means of meditating on Jesus's
suffering prior to and during the Crucifixion is known as the Way
of the Cross. Developed by pilgrims to Jerusalem, it afforded early
Christians a way of offering prayers at a series of locations or
"stations" in that city associated with Jesus's final
hours. The number of these stations finally became fixed at fourteen
but as only eight are based directly on scenes recorded in the Gospels,
in some traditions the other six are often omitted today (numbers
3,4,6,7,9,and 13.) This devotion is often referred to as the Stations
of the Cross.
Episcopal congregations have a set of images representing the scenes
from Jesus's passion and death which are put on display during Lent.
Others have a set which are permanently on display. Though primarily
used in Anglo-Catholic Episcopal liturgies in the past, increasingly
a wide range of Episcopal communities are discovering the value
of representational or abstract images to help focus meditations
on the scenes being commemorated. It proves to be another example
of the use of the visual arts in the liturgical life of the Church.
The current ECVA exhibition is a presentation of the works of selected
Episcopal artists in their attempts to render in a variety of media
their interpretations of the Way of the Cross. This art presents
a wide range of visual images employed representing quite different
artistic styles and theologies.
is hoped that individuals and parishes will see that they have wide
latitude in creating similar liturgies using visual art which seems
most pertinent to their situation. One of the great strengths of
the Episcopal Church is its stress on the inclusivity of many traditions
and the resulting richness of its worship.
Included in this exhibition is the service for the Way of the Cross
as found in The Book of Occasional Services published by the Church
Pension Fund as an adjunct to the Book of Common Prayer. When applicable,
viewers are encouraged to use the images from this exhibition in
conjunction with this service for public or private use.
Rev. Thomas Faulkner, Curator