We are delighted with the results of the painstaking work completed by Dr Andrea Kirkham, a specialist in the conservation of wall paintings. Andrea identified up to 3 layers of texts and decoration in the painting towards the front of the church, the top and most visible layer dating from around 1630. The layer beneath is also from the early 1600s and is identified particularly from the deep red arcs of paint. The Friends group will be developing more information about the project and the paintings, but in the meantime here is a brief summary together with 'before' and 'after' pictures.
East end texts (towards front of church)
The rather ugly repairs have disappeared and although a lot of the words are missing, those that remain gave us early clues about the text referred to. The word “Solomon” and the number “15” led us to the book of Proverbs, which from chapter 10 are described as the proverbs of Solomon in the Authorised King James translation.
We are now sure that the original text is a quote from Proverbs 15:3 KJV and would have read:
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good saith Solomon”
Saith is an old version of the present day word say.
West end texts (towards back of church)
Here we can see a lot more letters but we have so far been unable to identify the text referred to in the painting. We can also see some parts of letters from the previous layer which was covered by a thin whitewash which makes interpretation more difficult. We can’t promise a prize to whoever solves it – but all ideas will be welcome. Remember that it’s the Authorised King James version you need to be looking at!
The fragments (on the wall of the children's corner)
The wooden frame opposite the vestry door has been completely indecipherable since fragments of wall paintings from other parts of the church were placed together many years ago, and we did not hold out much hope for making much sense of them. However they proved to be a real bonus! We can now see scraps of text and decoration which tie in with the material in the two main texts. Thanks to Andrea’s work, enhanced by improvements to the frame by Edwin Jones, it’s possible to imagine that the church once contained large stretches of wall paintings.
If you come and visit the church and the paintings, we would love to hear from you and what you think of them now.
Our next Welcome Afternoon is Saturday 13th July 2-4 pm where there will be people who can talk you through the work done, while you can explore the church, ring the bells and even try the organ.
Borderlands Mission Area arranged for a Bereavement Course to be hosted, after people from the area had voiced they wanted more support on dealing with bereavement, something that most of us will face over our lifetime. We met in Emmanuel Church, Penyffordd with attendees from across the Mission Area and from over the border in Chester.
The course was created by Care for the Family, a national charity which aims to promote strong family life and to help those who face family difficulties. For over 30 years, they have been providing support to families, motivated by their Christian compassion to those of any faith or none.
Alison Utting lead the course, and shared about her experiences of losing her husband. She explained how death has become a taboo, and she is pleased that in her role she is able to talk to so many people about something so often ignored.
Kirsty Blain, a Worship Leader at Hope Parish Church, said about the course "I have learnt so much today! The course was not only informative and useful, but gave practical tips on how to respond to a bereaved person. The most important thing I learnt was that bereavement can affect people in ways you wouldn't expect. It has motivated me into looking at whether our church is able to provide more support for our community and those who have been bereaved."
For more information about the course click here.
The following day, Pentecost Sunday, the congregations of Emmanuel and Hope gathered together in Emmanuel for a special service at which Bishop Gregory preached and celebrated Holy Communion.
At Hope.4.All this week, we discussed how and what to pray with theme of Thy Kingdom Come, a global wave of prayer calling Christians to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.
Thy Kingdom Come suggest that for the days between Ascension and Pentecost, we pray for 5 people each day. After discussing various ideas on where we can pray, including in the shower, we started two activities focused on different ways to pray.
Everyone split into smaller groups where they were given the beginning to prayers following the intercessions, and were asked to add events or people that affect their lives.
Once written, they were given a chance to say these prayers together in their small groups.
We all then moved to the creche area near the back of the church, where we discussed how when we see a rainbow, we are reminded of the promise from God to us. Names were put onto the hearts, and added to the rainbow cloud for all those people who we want to pray for, and the cloud has been left in the church for all visitors to see over the next few weeks.