St Peter's Church
Angel Wings Bench
Unveiling the 'Angel Wings' Bench:
A functional Angel Bench sculpture by
Luke Perry in collaboration with St Peter’s Cradley.
A Sculptural Bench by Luke Perry was unveiled at St Peter’s Cradley on May 15, 2016 by the Bishop of Dudley, Rt Rev’d Graham Usher. A short service took place when the sculpture was blessed by the bishop and the event was followed by refreshments in the church.
St Peter’s, Cradley’s is set in nearly 8 acres of greenspace which the congregation would like to develop into a place which fosters peace and prayer, through nature and the arts. We wanted to celebrate the local history in metal 'bashing' with something made by a local artist and as our first public art work. Luke Perry of Industrial Heritage Stronghold is a talented artist with connections to St Peter's and we were thrilled that he accepted the commission. His forge can be heard from the churchyard and his interest in local history was helpful in our developing the 'Angel Wings' concept.
The sculpture was paid for by money left for a suitable memorial by
Benjamin James and Edna Bloomer, and by St Peter’s Cradley.
At St Peter’s we are developing the site into the Cradley Wildlife Garden and using the arts to highlight our trails. The new sculpture is a functional work of art much in the Cradley tradition of working with metal. It draws inspiration from angels, those elusive but very present messengers of God in the Bible. Angels are God’s messengers reminding us that the Church too are to be messengers of the love of God. Luke Perry’s Sculpture is a reminder to the Christians of Cradley that we too are called to be messengers of God’s love and forgiveness, locally and to the ends of the earth. An angel led St Peter out of his prison, we read in the Book of Acts, so the sculpture will be a symbol of God’s protection and guidance.
The bench is modelled on bird wings. This makes the wings a suitable symbol for our churchyard nature trail with its core feature of owl, bird and bat boxes . Jesus used the image of God as a mother hen protecting her chicks borrowing an image from Psalm 91, which speaks of people finding shelter under the wings of the Most High. So, as people come to sit on the bench, we pray that each one will sense the wings of the Angel Bench, like the ‘wings’ of God protecting and comforting. God has also been described as an eagle with clear vision of the earth from the heavens, so the wings will remind us of God who loves us always having sight of us on this earth. We hope too that the angel wings will be an art work which attracts local weddings to the church.
Luke Perry - the artist
We are also working on extending the Prayer Sculpture trail into other parts of the churchyard, as well as LED lighting the church tower, making it something uplifting and beautiful to light our nights for a few hours.
Restoring the Compton Organ is another aspiration in St Peter’s – our young organist James Brookes is working on this project. Anyone in the community interested in participating or funding any of these projects would be welcome to contact Rev’d Katryn Leclézio.
Rev'd Katryn - the vicar
St Peter’s Cradley has also recently commissioned a local artist to make Stations of the Cross for the inside of St Peter’s in miniature using clay tiles thus drawing inspiration from the history of clay firebrick making on the other side of Homer Hill in Park Lane. Cradley fire bricks were of such high quality that they were exported all over the world.
Anyone in the community interested in participating or funding any of these projects would be welcome to contact Rev’d Katryn Leclézio.