Abundant Blessings and Meditations at ESAG's Annual Retreat

Participants gather for ESAG's Annual Retreat at the hall in Westminister Abbey

Participants gather for ESAG's Annual Retreat at the hall in Westminster Abbey on June 11, 2016

The Epiphany Sacred Arts Guild's annual retreat at Westminster Abbey, Mission, on June 11 2016, was a tremendous success. Some fourteen participants including ESAG's chaplain Father Lawrence Donnelly, celebrated and reflected on sacred art and the role of the sacred artist, during a full day of activities that included lectures, prayers, 'show and tell', and mass. Guild members were delighted to welcome a few new members to the group at the sessions that lasted from 9am to 6pm.

Morning prayer at the chapel led by ESAG's Chaplain, Father Lawrence Donnelly

Morning prayer at the chapel led by ESAG's Chaplain, Father Lawrence Donnelly

The day kicked off with morning prayer in the chapel led by Father Lawrence, followed by Father Abbot providing much food for thought in a presentation that deliberated the differences and significance between historical, devotional and liturgical images. Eye opening insights and potent illustrations were provided on how placement and architecture played a role in how various types of sacred images are usually displayed in churches and cathedrals.

Father Abbott kicks off the first Conference Session with a solemn prayer that sets the tone for the rest of the day's retreat.

After mass in the chapel and a sumptuous pot luck lunch, Father Donnelly presented a conference session detailing the importance of 'Worship in Spirit and Truth'. His talk explained how 'Worship in Spirit and Truth' referred to the act of worshipping the Father as He is revealed in Christ, through a gift given to persons of faith through the Holy Spirit.

Retreat organizer Patricia Ballard explains her work during the "show and tell" session

Private reflections and 'show and tell' of members work was followed by a second conference session with Father Donnelly on 'Lectio Divina', an ancient way of praying with the Bible. Participants then broke up into groups to put into practice what was being discussed. This was followed by holy hour in the chapel and final blessings in the form of Vespers at 5.30pm, with the resident monks at Westminster Abbey Church.

Visitors from an adjoining retreat including Archbishop Miller (far left) drop by to view the artworks created by ESAG members on display in a mini exhibit of sacred art

All in all, the retreat proved to be a very prayerful, productive and transformative day, thanks to the efforts of organizer Patricia Ballard and the two conference speakers. Our artists were given the prime opportunity to share their work amongst themselves and visiting guests (including Archbishop Miller and his retreat guests) and to discuss the vital role of sacred art in our community today.

Lovely sacred fabrics by a new ESAG member are admired by guests who drop in to view the exhibit

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