February 24, 2019

Room at the Table

It was announced recently that spouses of bishops were invited to attend the 2020 Lambeth Conference, except for the spouses who happened to be of the same sex as the bishop. Reportedly, the disinvitation was handled personally, in a communication from the Archbishop of Canterbury to each of the disinvited.

This disinvitation comes about as an effort to ensure that at least some of those bishops who might be offended by the presence of such spouses will feel able to attend. Of course, it may lead some bishops — offended by the disinvitation itself — to choose not to attend.

Part of this can be put down to the English anxiety about protocol and etiquette that agonizes about seating plans at banquets and who can be reliably seated next to whom, or even more perilously, who simply cannot be invited because Someone Else would be offended at their presence. This concern is a real one, but while it may have a place in a social setting, or at the diplomatic table, it seems far less appropriate for a church. Even in a social setting, as Dear Abby pointed out to the lady who didn't want to have “that sort” in her home even though she had been invited to theirs, “Perhaps you are living in the wrong sort of neighborhood." But neighborhoods are one thing, and the church quite another.

This is, of course, one of the great ironies of the Anglican Malaise of the last few decades: which centers on the paradox of the high and valued goal of seeking unity in Christ, while at the same time being willing to excise or exclude some members of the body whom others find offensive. The goal, quite simply, is not unity, but majority. It marks a wholesale by-in to an ideal Girardian “scapegoat” ethic in which the supposed well-being of the bulk of the body is maintained by judging and excluding a subset of its members. For the church, it is a form of self-mutilation.

The exclusionary advice of Paul of Tarsus notwithstanding (as he seems on his bad days not to have been averse to shunning and exclusion, in particular shunning and excluding those who sought to shun and exclude — and you can see how that works in the end) the Founder appears to me to have rejected such strategies, preferring to let good and bad in this fallen world of ours mingle, unjudged and unsorted, until he has Time to do that work at the last.

His method, it seems, is to do good, treating all the same, and let the chips fall where they may. The church could, and probably will, do worse.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

February 14, 2019

Call to Artists

ECVA is pleased to announce its Spring 2019 Member Exhibition, "Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness." The exhibition will be digitally displayed at ECVA.org. ECVA Member Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG will curate. Submissions are open: January 15 through March 9, 2019.
- online at ecva.org April 14, 2019 -

Iconography by Tobias Haller BSG

WORSHIP AND PRAISE OF THE DIVINE has taken many forms through time and space. Much of it has been verbal, but the words of prayer and liturgy have often been accompanied by a humble sense of their inadequacy to comprehend the incomprehensible greatness of God. At the same time, suspicion of (and even harsh antagonism toward) visual representations of the Divine have often starved the eye to favor the ear, neglecting the truth expounded by Saint Gregory the Great that imagery offers a path to understanding for those unskilled in words--and when it comes to the ultimate quest of faith seeking better understanding of God we all lack sufficient skill.

IT IS LIKELY BEST TO ALLOW the verbal and the visual to serve hand in hand and side by side, as they have done for most of religious history apart from those times in which austere iconoclasm dominated the religious sphere. A more tolerant attitude to the visual allows each of these modes of expression to fulfill the goals best suited to the minds and hearts of those who worship. After all, at the heart of our Eucharistic worship, all of the words eventually serve to consecrate and sanctify those very tangible and physical elements of bread and wine, taken and consumed as a sacramental participation in the life of the Incarnate God.

SO IT IS THAT ART (and the arts) are servants in the human quest for engagement with the Divine. In this present call, visual artists in all media at their disposal are encouraged to "incarnate" their visions in dialogue with the texts of the Eucharistic liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer--perhaps inspiring a "Gallery of Common Vision" to stand side by side with those venerable words: the beauty of holiness mirrored in the holiness of beauty, the union of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful as a pointer towards the ineffable and inexpressible that is beyond our grasp--but as close as every breath we take.

- Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG, Curator

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG retired after 16 years as Vicar of St. James Fordham (Bronx, NY). While in New York he served diocesan leadership, at General Convention, and on the Anglican Communion Indaba Reference Group. Now living in Baltimore, he continues to supply and is an associate at Church of the Advent. He is a member of the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory, and a Commander of the Order of St. John. He is an iconographer, visual artist, and musician. His publications include The Episcopal Handbook Revised (Church Publishing 2015), and Preparing for a Wedding in the Episcopal Church (Church Publishing 2017). His next, Re-membering God: Human Hope and Divine Desire is on Church Publishing's spring list; it includes chapters on liturgy, art, music, and architecture as human articulations of this quest.

Criteria for Artist Entry
Current members of The ECVA Artist Registry are invited to submit images of works in 2D and 3D, video and film. Member artists are encouraged to submit up to 2 works for this exhibition. The exhibition curator will make selections from entries received: submission of an entry to this exhibition is not a guarantee of inclusion in this exhibition. To learn more about The ECVA Artist Registry, to join, or to renew membership, visit The Artist Registry at ECVA.

For each submission:

Send a digital image that is 72 dpi, and is 600px on the longest side, and is under 1MB, and is in JPG, TIF, or PNG format, and,

Name your image file this way: your name and artwork title, and,

For video/film works, in addition to a still shot (poster image) from your video, include a link to your video at your Vimeo or YouTubeRed account; videos from YouTubeStandard accounts will not be considered, and

Submit an artist statement for each entry and one artist bio, together about 300 words. If a work has been collaboratively executed, please submit a group artists' statement and group, and,

Include your preferred email address and your contact phone number that the curator can use to contact you with questions.

Send your submission by email to entry@ecva.org.

Contact Joy Jennings, ECVA Exhibitions, jjennings@ecva.org
“It is the policy of Episcopal Church & Visual Arts, Inc. that all rights in copyright shall remain with the creator."