Bishop Street Methodist Church

Art at the Chapel Explorations into Art and Spirituality

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Venite Cafe Artwork



It had been a long time since I have created any artwork of this size so I prayed as I worked that God would lead and inspire me during each stage of making this piece. I wanted prayer to be woven into its fabric and asked God to bless each person who looked at it once it was installed in the cafe.

It was important to me that all the materials used in this work were sourced from Bishop Street Methodist Church. Inspired by the Triptych format often used in religious devotional paintings and altar pieces it comprises of three hessian covered wooden panels which were once church notice boards. Attached to each panel is a circuit board taken out of the Bishop Street organ during its restoration in 2016-17. The detail and complexity of these circuit boards is fascinating with handwritten tags and labels attached to each wire to note the organ stop it was connected to. The hymn numbers and word cards were once used here in the Bishop Street  Hymn Board and the fabric was found in the choir vestry. By recycling these unused objects to create this piece I was able to give them a new life whilst connecting and grounding the artwork in the history of this church.



The title, ‘VENITE’ means ‘Come Ye’ and is the opening words of the 95th psalm that the ‘Venite’ canticle once part of morning prayer here was based on. “O COME, let us sing unto the LORD; * let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; * and show ourselves glad in him with psalms…….”.

Other words that feature in the work include Te Deum, an early Christian hymn of praise, and ‘Magnificat’ a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary as it is the song that Mary prayed while visiting Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist while they were both pregnant.


The piece also includes various numbers relating to hymns and a Psalm. These include …

Psalm 103  which begins … Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

and hymns including 3 classics:

214 Once in royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed.

236 Forty days and 40 nights, you were fasting in the wild. Forty days and forty nights, tempted and yet undefiled.

486 Who would true valour see, let him come hither.  (John Bunyan)

And a beautiful new hymn:

307 On the day of resurrection, to Emmaus we return; while confused, amazed, and frightened, Jesus comes to us, unknown. (Michael Peterson)


Artwork and text by Ruth Joy




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Christmas Crafts 2016

We had a great time making these Nativity themed Christmas decorations at our drop-in craft sessions at Bishop Street. If you want to find out how we made them please click on the link below for a pdf with full instructions.

The crafts were chosen to offer a range of activities for all ages and abilities and we enjoyed sharing the company and conversation of all who came along to have a go.


Click here for Nativity Finger puppet instructions and free download 

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Poetry Workshop

Journey’s … in Translation

We were very happy to welcome Ambrose Musiyiwa who led a fascinating and thought provoking poetry translation workshop at Bishop Street last week. Engaging with the poems from ‘Over land, over sea’ in this particular and unique way led to very interesting discoveries and insights. It also allowed us to connect to the poems and the subjects they covered such as, journeys, belonging, feeling or not feeling welcome and the concept of home. The workshop went perfectly with our current exhibition No Crib for a Bed which also seeks to challenge us to imagine what we ourselves would feel like if we were forced to flee our homes and travel to an unknown country in order to try and keep ourselves and families safe.

 – Please scroll down to see photos taken by Ambrose Musiyiwa

and read his press release about this event –


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Alan Caine Paintings and Drawings November 2016


alan-caine-stompedGlory be to God for dappled things-

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal, chestnut-falls, finches wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced–fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

           Praise him.


In our climate, leaves present themselves almost anywhere. Their life cycles pass from tiny buds to full-grown presences. They can turn into strange shapes, colourful and curled. Seasons pass, and they change. So, too with grasses, but they tend to be more subtle as they grow and wither. If we ignore the tended lawn, tall sword-like clusters can appear. A whole field of grass – or weeds – growing or dying, changes colours and passes from stage to stage.

Drawings or paintings are not  ‘snapshots’ of things which nature ‘does’. They are meant to release to the viewer, like music, sensations of energy, delight or even piety. They do not need to be named. To draw them again and again, sometimes like dancers, sometimes sober or silent presences, sometimes as almost chaotic carriers of visceral energy can become a preoccupation for weeks or months. Their spirit, I hope, has been ‘digested’ rather than copied.

My childhood took place in North Dakota, a state with a flat topography – where often nothing except perhaps a water tower can be seen on the horizon. We played in nearby fields among tall grasses – and could hide in them. Perhaps that is one of the sources of my delight at their shapes. And leaves? Scarce or plentiful they speak of birth and life and often of elegant disintegration. Gerard Manley Hopkins points to this sort of beauty in the poem above.


Alan Caine

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