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Faith leaders visit Army's art contribution to Lent

Faith leaders visit Army's art contribution to Lent

Faith leaders visit Army's art contribution to Lent

15 May 2016

Leaders of different faiths in London gather to view the Sea of Colour patchwork at The Salvation Army's International Headquarters during Lent.

By David Giles

Salvation Army international leader General André Cox, along with Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women’s Ministries), Chief of the Staff Commissioner Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries), welcomed the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and Bishop of London, Right Reverend Richard Chartres, to International Headquarters during Holy Week.

The faith leaders were beginning a pilgrimage to a number of the Stations of the Cross – art installations which have been exhibited across London throughout Lent, to help people of different faiths to reflect on Jesus’ journey to Calvary. IHQ hosted “Sea of Colour”, a unique patchwork of discarded child refugee clothing, handstitched by artist Güler Ates. The piece reflects both the moment when Jesus was stripped of his clothes on the way to the cross and the modern-day plight of refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.

Cardinal Nichols read the account from John’s Gospel before co-curator of the Stations of the Cross initiative, Dr Aaron Rosen, invited Ms Ates to speak on what had inspired Sea of Colour. She spoke movingly of her own experiences as a Kurdish refugee and the impact on her of TV news images showing three-yearold Alan Kurdî, a Syrian refugee who had died on the Bodrum beach that she was so familiar with. “It could be my son, it could be anyone’s son. And not just from one faith either. To me, that was very painful,” Ms Ates explained. “Jews, Christians, Muslims [are] all together here.”

Having viewed the patchwork, Rev Chartres reflected that: “One of the most moving things about this ... is that sentence, ‘Why did my son have to die?’,” referring to a message handwritten on to one of the garments by a refugee volunteer. “One of the great things about creative pieces like this,” he continued, “is that we don’t hurry on to give a glib answer.” The bishop concluded: “As we make our pilgrimage through Holy Week, that’s very salutary. We have to stay with that question: Why did my Son have to die?”

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