Location: John Rylands Library
Designer: Al Lowe, Paid Leader of Sanctus 1 - www.sanctus1.co.uk
Location Notes: This library is one of Manchester’s treasure troves. Built in superb Victorian Gothic style in 1900 the Grade 1 listed building gained a sympathetic, but very modern, extension in 2007. The dark exterior belies the wonders inside and the Historic Reading Room is a cathedral in its own right, with towering ceiling and acres stained glass. A home to the Gutenberg Bible, illuminated manuscripts, Methodist archives and a fragment of St Johns gospel, the library was designed to house a predominantly theological collection.
Shrine Notes: Words remain a profound way of conveying meaning and understanding to another, with the written word allowing those ideas to be accessible long after the writer has died. Contemplate the number of words ‘held’ in the library and the combined knowledge it brings. Consider firstly how your own understanding of God is enhanced by words and then secondly how that understanding is limited by using words. Think of the times words have helped you by bringing peace and then how they have been used to hurt and wound. Pray that you will be given a fresh understanding of God in this place.
Designer Notes: I was particularly intrigued by the concept of the ‘word became flesh’ and how this linked in with John’s gospel. I wanted to explore that power of ‘the word’ and how it might come alive for us. I have used a print out of John’s gospel to cover the handle and the box, thus transforming them from every day items into something with a greater depth. I am also interested in how for some people certain words have greater significance than others.
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