Christine did a series of four illustrated talks for the Church of the Redeemer on ‘Art in the Church’ up to 1600s. They were mostly viewed on line and You Tube has been carrying them as well. It is a fascinating subject, how Art was affected by the split between the Eastern and Western Churches. The Eastern remained more God centered and mystical utilizing icons where as the West became more humanistic and pointed towards man and his achievements. Christine is very interested in where art’s function is in contemporary Christianity; especially how that relates to the fundamentals of iconography in the American Christian culture today. She has been exploring a post graduate study in this subject, possibly in London.
Here are the you tube links for the talks- they are great!!
Michael, continues with his chaplaincy work in the local hospital when specific terminal calls come in. The Covid transmission is expanding again and inevitably the deaths are increasing too. Spending even a small amount of time around the nurses and patients on the front line of this pandemic, there is no doubt that to downplay the seriousness of Covid 19 is an arrogant deception, as some news stations have purposely and tragically successfully done.
Thank God, that within nature we can also be reminded of the creative hand of God. In deed that is so significant at this extremely pressured time to turn our eyes onto what is good, as Philippians 4:8 always reminds us.
‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is
pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’
Also to seek the truth, not be led by deception away from focusing on Christ but swimming in the spirit of politics, which has surrounded the recent election, as 2 Corinthians 11:3 warns.
‘But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’
So my prayer is that we keep eyes on God and the Blessings he continues to pour into our lives through this New Year, filled with new opportunities for the church.
Sending you all our love and prayers for a blessed, healthy and Happy New Year!
We are going to make the Kindle edition free for two days, October 11 and October 12. It is also on Amazon in the UK for our UK friends- also free Kindle on Oct 11 and 12.
One thing we would ask, is that you leave a review on Amazon- it can be just a couple of sentences, but Amazon will notice and perhaps if we get enough reviews, they might promote it.
Christine has worked hard all summer on this and we are delighted to be able to share it with you!
From Michael: This book is really significant in that it ties together not only Christine’s personal journey but also reveals what Art in our world today has rejected. This is a work from the Lord through Christine and it is worth every hour of its conception.
We have our house in Philmont on the market and feel the season in Philmont is coming to an end. We will probably return to the area in the future but there is also a strong calling in Bradenton, Florida, for Michael as a chaplain and for Christine to continue her iconography based from there.
Icon Writing Retreat in September
Christine has just led another successful Icon writing retreat at Holy Cross Monastery that focused on sacred geometry. The attendees, coming from as far away as Jamaica, Canada, and Washington DC, completed an icon of St Francis. All the Icons were blessed by Brother Aidan at the Diurnum service.
Christine’s New Book!!
The big news is Christine’s book, ‘Eyes of Fire’, will be published any day now. Here is some of the PR which has been prepared for it, please forward it to anyone who could may have an interest in it. When it is published we will send you a link for it as it will be available free for a short period and we would love you to get a digital copy.
‘Eyes of Fire’ written by Christine Simoneau Hales, is not only a book on the journey of an artist finding her way through the contemporary ‘Art World’, but more importantly, a summation of how God has been mostly neglected and rejected by the ‘Art World’ since the renaissance, but is now being powerfully presented through a grass roots resurgence of Iconography.
Christine Simoneau Hales, is an award winning artist and the founder of the American Institute of Iconographers, she has been a pioneer in the awakening of iconography across gender, laity, denomination and contemporary artists.
Through a close encounter with the Holy Spirit in a nunnery in France, Christine’s life changed, a deep hunger for learning about, writing and eventually teaching iconography developed. She realized at that point that Icons held all the elements of good art as well as being grounded in a deep relationship with God and prayer.
‘Eyes of Fire’, puts a perspective on contemporary art from a Christian’s point of view and points to a revival of the visual image in Holy worship. It will be published on Amazon soon!
The phrase ‘do not be afraid’, either in those actual words or with that meaning are in the Bible at least 40 times.
Jesus also uses those words many times in addressing the disciples. I’ve always interpreted them as an instruction or an encouragement. Last week in prayer I received them as a command. A command from God is not to be ignored. ‘Do not be afraid’, is a clear command.
Do Not Be Afraid!
To receive a command and act on it, we have to accept that it is coming from a higher authority, an authority we are subject to. When we undertake a command we do so in the context of an assurance from a larger body, as when a soldier carries out an order he knows he is part of a larger army and acts within its mission and protection.
When we give our lives to Jesus Christ we subject ourselves to His authority, mission and protection.
When I got this revelation, I realized God was giving me a wake up call. He was not encouraging me. He was commanding me.
I began to realize I had been afraid all my life. My inner child reminded me of how frightened I had been as a child. I began to write out the things and times I had been afraid throughout my life, from fear of wetting my bed, of people arguing or fighting, of meeting people, or remembering their names, that my father was caught up in the Biafran war and might never come back home, fear of talking and being ridiculed with what I said. The list went on as I reviewed my life, particularly as a freelance photographer never knowing where work would come from for forty five years.
I found that most of my fears were based on what other people would think about me; Proverbs 29:25 addressed that with, ‘The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe’.
I realized that when I have relied on myself the result inevitably was fear.
So what was the larger teaching God had for me here? 1 John 4:18 answered with, ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.’
Love Not Fear!
God was commanding me to not fear, but to love. When I stepped into God, the result inevitably would be love.
1 John 4:8.‘Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.’
This command from God was a gift to correct and to equip me. 2 Timothy 1:7, ‘for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.’
God’s command for me to not be afraid, was to enable me to pick up the power, love and self control God wants us to use.
I hope this message touches someone else as well because fear keeps us back from fully loving and walking as God would have us, in power and self control. Often when we loose our self control the root cause is fear. If we can not stop drinking or being drawn to pornography, or any other addiction the root cause can be found in fear.
That is why it is a gift as well as a command. Do not be afraid for God is with us and will always be so. When we are free from fear we can accomplish so much more for the Lord.
Sending you all love and prayers, until next month!
Our house is on the market, I have no freelance work lined up and I am praying for what God has for me next. This is a time of transition.
Looking up the word ‘transition’ in the concordances of three different bible translations, I found no listings. For a while this bothered me because I thought, ‘everyone goes through transitions during their lives, how come I cannot get any direction from the Bible?’ So I followed it up with a search for ‘change’, and came up with the parable of the two sons who changed their actions, doing the opposite to what they had initially said they would do. This bothered me further, because I did not think that applied to me directly, essentially my desire to continue serving God in my life and work has not changed, in fact I want to do it more.
Then I remembered how throughout the Bible God ensures provision for sojourners, or people who are passing through or undergoing a journey. In fact Peter refers to believers as ‘sojourners and exiles’. This state of being ‘in transit’ for believers on the earth, is a normal condition for Christians whose final destination is not earthly any way. We are all on a journey of some kind and sometimes it does not appear to have an, ‘earthly resolution’, perhaps we cannot find work, or do not have a home or even a church we can be comfortable with. The paradigm that, as believers we will be accepted by the world is not biblical, indeed we do not fit. Jesus told us the night before his death that we were not a part of this world, even though we are sent into the world.
14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a]16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. John 17:14-18.
So as we pray for our next steps in our journeys with God, the one thing we can rely on is that God him self does not change, He will always love us, it is only our own knowledge and the fullness of our love of God, which is in transition.
Christine taught an Icon writing class at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY, and it was incredible to see how nine students went through three days of prayer and icon writing to complete the ‘Good Shepherd’ icon. Each student created the same icon but they were all slightly different, but each one beautiful.
These students were very accomplished in their lives, as pastors or denominational leaders, but each had come to the haven of the monastery to spend time in prayer and to learn about Icons. Christine is a gifted teacher and also carries a fervent mission to further the knowledge and understanding of icons across the different rivers of Christianity. These classes are extraordinary in their power and everyone involved is very aware that God has them on a journey. We are travellers going through continual change becoming new creations in Christ.
Monasteries through the ages have been places where sojourners could go to find shelter, a time away from the world and a place to come closer to God; in fact hospitality is one of monasteries main ministries. I am making a short video for Holy Cross Monastery, to show what it is like to be a visitor of the monastery, because I believe it is important that we support the continued existence of monasteries as havens of prayer and contemplative lives. Even though the monks are themselves living a stable life in a monastery, God has them on journeys as well, moving closer to Him.
Please pray for us, especially that our house will sell in a timely way, and let us know how we can pray for you.
The mission of The Fra Angelico Institute for Sacred Art is to deepen the prayer life of Western and Eastern Rite Catholics by evangelizing the truth, goodness, and beauty of God through education and the prayerful creation of sacred art. People of all faiths are welcome.