Jonathan's Jottings

Thoughts from Emmanuel's Minister, Revd. Jonathan Froggatt.

Looking behind the image

      What does a face tell us about a person?  During the last couple of weeks, I have been researching online the portraits painted by Dame Laura Knight. During her lifetime (1877-1970) she was one of the most popular and successful painters in Britain. Her achievements were recognised in 1929 when she was created a Dame and in 1936 when she became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy of Arts since its foundation in 1768.

      As I looked at her paintings, I reflected on how each of the portraits expressed a vivid sense of the personality of the sitter. Kathleen Manners, 9th Duchess of Rutland was painted by Laura Knight in 1934. The portrait captures her fragile beauty but also a sadness in her eyes. The role of the wife of a Duke was not an easy one and the painter seems to have a deep understanding of her sitter’s life. This was no doubt helped by the five weeks she spent at Haddon Hall, the family seat in Derbyshire, working on the portrait.

Continue reading
  1647 Hits

Quiet Time

I was talking to a friend recently about the books we had been reading over the last few months. My friend, who has a deep interest in Methodist history, had been reading Roy Hattersley’s biography of John Wesley. I have immense respect for Mr Wesley and revere him for his vital role in the founding of the Methodist church. However, my friend confirmed my suspicions that John was the patron saint of workaholics. He woke to pray at 5.00 am and never seemed to slow down and take things easy. I suppose the reality is that if he hadn’t had such an amazing work rate, Methodism would have remained an obscure sect; active around Bristol, the wilder parts of Cornwall and nowhere else. Of course, it was his burning Christian conviction that drove him out on his horse, preaching and teaching across the country. However, having said all this, I still feel like saying to him and others who follow in his footsteps, slow down a bit.

One of my favourite poems is The Bright Field by RS Thomas. He wrote in his poem about missing the opportunity to stop and relish the beauty of the sun breaking through and illuminating a field.

           Life is not hurrying on to a receding future,
           nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning
           aside like Moses to the miracle of the lit bush. . .

I believe that God calls us all to have that ability to stop and be quiet for a while; to really enjoy a painting, a flower or a sunset. Maybe those quiet spaces will be one of the times that God can speak to us.

This Lent and Easter time I pray that you will all have time to be still and reflect on the wonder of God’s amazing grace revealed for us all in Jesus Christ.

God bless you all


Continue reading
  1991 Hits

Hope in a hope-less world!

What does it mean to have hope?

As you read this piece, I hope that the world may seem a different place from what it is like as I write this article! As I sit here, the country is still bewildered about its future – a minority government voted in and trying to rally support from even smaller political parties; people in our society are still reeling from the terrible atrocities in Manchester and London for which we have little in the way of explanation or understanding; the Brexit talks are soon to get underway and what the result of those will be is anyone’s guess at this time. All in all, the world seems to be in a ‘hope-less’ state.

Continue reading
  4767 Hits

Christian Tolerance

I’m sure that very few of us go through life without joining some kind of club or group. Some people take great pride in their membership of a whole range of different groups, from the local neighbourhood watch to an international charity. For some people, the more select a club or group is, the better they feel, as they believe that membership of such a club gives them a particular status in their society or group of friends and acquaintances.

The actor, Victor Mature, renowned for taking on acting roles that quite often saw him portrayed as a rather leaden romantic actor, applied for membership of one of the most prestigious clubs in America – the Los Angeles Country Club. His membership was turned down with the comment, ‘we do not accept actors’. Victor was quick to reply, ‘I’m no actor, and I have a string of 64 films to prove it!!’. He may have been right, but he still didn’t get in!

Continue reading
  5109 Hits