Church harnesses art to share God's love
Published 20 June 2012
A church in Fareham is embracing the power of art to give hope and speak God's love for the world.
From 29 June to 8 July, 34 inspirational paintings by Southampton artist Anne House will be on display at Holy Trinity Church.
The images were originally inspired by a revelation from God more than 20 years ago and painted onto six-foot long strips of silk.
They illustrate the story of Creation, the Fall and Redemption.
She explains: “The exhibition comes from a prophecy that God gave to a group of Christian leaders in the UK back in 1989. He promises he will raise up a new generation of Christians.
“The paintings I did are divided into three sections – the world God intended, the world we see, and God’s response to that. In the past 25 years it’s been everywhere from tiny churches to a Billy Graham rally in Amsterdam with 10,000 people."
Anne, 63, originally picked up paintbrushes as a hobby to exercise her wrists after having surgery on her tendons.
“The surgeon wanted me to get my hands going and I’d always fancied painting on silk,” she said.
“I’d won £25 on the premium bonds, so I bought some silk and paints. It was like the thing I’d been waiting all my life to do.
“I had an exhibition in Bedford, where we lived at the time, and I felt God was asking for his gift back – that he wanted me to use it for him. I was working as a teacher for children with special needs and my husband suggested I take a few months off to paint. After three years I had 40 six-foot high pictures."
Anne's style of painting is not so much heart-felt as Spirit-led. First she prays and then she waits for a response from God before picking up her paintbrush. It is little wonder that the response to her works is also often a spiritual one.
She shares: "When I first saw it hung, I was overwhelmed because it was so big and extraordinary.
"I think people don’t react to it as a cerebral thing, but it impacts their spirits.
"One time recently someone looked at the same picture for three days and then became a Christian. Someone had been praying for him for 25 years.
"I think it’s because people are tired of words and arguments about faith, and want to connect at a deeper level.”
Anne has also completed an exhibition based on Ecclesiastes and is currently working on an interpretation of Psalm 139.
Her exhibition at Fareham is free and she will also be there in person to talk to visitors.
The mission week will include an official opening at the church on 29 June by the Archdeacon of the Meon, the Ven Gavin Collins, followed by a Songs of Praise-style service at 6pm on July 1 for worshippers across Fareham.
On 5 July, local musician Charles Timberlake will give a free recital in the church from 1pm - 2pm.
A final service of thanksgiving will be held at 6pm on July 8.
The church will be open from 10am-8pm from Monday to Saturday and 2pm-6pm on Sundays. Prints of Anne's artwork will be available for purchase.
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