This morning I went to church – as indeed I do on most Sunday mornings. I go to a different church in each Sunday of the month and it never fails to amaze me how different village churches are. They have been standing at the heart of their parishes for sometimes hundreds of years. Each has the same purpose and each has the same basic features – a nave, a sanctuary, an altar, pulpit, font and so on, but no two churches are the same,
Each has evolved over the centuries, receiving the gifts and skills of countless parishioners and each is a work of art of which most communities are very proud. Pews have been made by long forgotten carpenters. Gargoyles were carved from local stone and made functional and yet amusing as they may have been modelled on local characters
And churches are also custodians of less long lasting works of art. Some last for many years before they have to be replaced – I’m thinking here of textiles, embroidered or crocheted by village fingers. Others last only a few days or weeks, like flower arrangements or children’s art exhibitions.
A few years ago the church I was at this morning had this crucifixion displayed. At first glance it is fairly conventional but look again. It is actually made up of numerous slices of burnt toast, scraped to create a picture. It’s not an art form which I’d want to take up but someone used his/her creativity in a very imaginative way and I’m glad that the church was able to display and honour the work of art for the few weeks before sadly it had to be used for the benefit of local birds.