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Winners inspire contemporary art in churches

The winning entries in the Jerusalem Trust Prize for Commissioning New Art in Churches will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony at the Church of St Stephen Walbrook, in the City of London at 12.30 on Monday, 12 November.

The competition, with a £10,000 prize fund to take the commission forward, was launched a year ago by the Church Buildings Council of the Church of England to encourage parish churches to engage their communities in thinking about a high quality contemporary artwork in any medium to add to the beauty and significance of their church building.

Fifty parishes responded to the first stage of the competition and 11 were long-listed to work up portfolios for the second stage, which will be celebrated at the ceremony, with representatives of all 11 present.  The parishes, from across the length and breadth of the country, are:

  • Kings Heath, All Saints (Diocese of Birmingham)
  • Lanercost Priory (Diocese of Carlisle)
  • Brighton, The Annunciation (Diocese of Chichester)
  • Plymouth, St Andrew (Diocese of Exeter)
  • Wednesfield Team Ministry (Diocese of Lichfield)
  • Lincoln, St John the Baptist Ermine (Diocese of Lincoln)
  • Southall, St George (Diocese of London)
  • Tynemouth, The Holy Saviour (Diocese of Newcastle)
  • Alderholt, St James (Diocese of Salisbury)
  • Kirk Sandall & Edenthorpe, The Good Shepherd (Diocese of Sheffield)
  • Marazion, All Saints (Diocese of Truro)

More information about the parishes.

Media are welcome to attend the announcement (12.15pm for 12.30pm) at St Stephen's Church, 39 Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN.

The competition was organised by the Church Buildings Council and adjudicated by a panel of five judges.

Anne Sloman, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said: 'This competition has given the lie to the perception of a moribund Church of England struggling to preserve the past. The entries came from parishes, large and small, old and new, rural and urban from as far apart as Cornwall to Tyneside.  Their desire to make their churches speak of God's presence in the present and future and not only to their congregations but also to their communities was exhilarating."

Bridget Cass, Jerusalem Trust Executive, enthused: "It was a real treat to be able to have a glimpse of the enthusiasms of churches across the country as clergy, congregations and communities worked out how they were going to change their churches through art."

The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, said: "What has been inspiring about this competition is not just the works of art that will be commissioned, but the way whole communities have been encouraged to think afresh about how their church and the works of art within it speak out about God's glory and vision for the world."

The Very Rev Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham Cathedral, commented: "There has been a fascinating range of projects submitted for this competition. It has been heartening to see how people of all ages in parishes and communities have become involved in working up these projects, and hugely encouraging to know that artistic creativity continues to thrive in every kind of sacred space."

Mark Cazalet, Artist and Chair of the Working Group on Commissioning New Art for Churches, reflected: "Reading through the submissions for the commissioning new art prize has been profoundly inspiring; the breadth of imaginative response, visual ambition, and theological engagement has been a wonderful experience. But very hard to make a final judgement!" 


The Church Buildings Council of the Church of England is a statutory body, which in 2008 replaced the Council for the Care of Churches. In addition to its advisory role to Chancellors and Diocesan Advisory Committees (DACs) under the operation of the faculty system, the Council has a general duty "to promote the care and conservation of churches and greater knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of and artistic activity relating to churches both within the Church of England and more widely among the general public". A great deal of its work, both in terms of casework and wider policy initiatives, relates to the preservation of our remarkable heritage of 12,500 listed buildings. But we are also determined that the legacy we leave to future generations is as worthy as that we have inherited.

The Jerusalem Trust was established in 1982 by Sir Timothy and Lady Sainsbury to "promote the Christian religion". It funds a range of projects, including those in the media, overseas (in Africa and Central and Eastern Europe), in education, in evangelism and mission and in the arts. Its recent funding in the Art category has included grants towards the Hew Locke work in St Mary & St Eanswythe Church for the Folkestone Triennial 2011, the Cross by Stephen Cox for St Anselm's Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, a mural by Alison Watt in Old St Paul's Church in Edinburgh and the font by William Pye in Salisbury Cathedral, as well as support for organisations promoting Christian art.

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