Art and Spirit
Expressions of Our
Spiritual Connections

An Inaugural Exhibition to Celebrate
the Opening of the New ECVA Chapter
in the Diocese of Vermont

by Ruth Councell
Chair, ECVA, Diocese of New Jersey Chapter
Chapters Chair, ECVA


The Rev. Diane Nanckivell stands under the wing of “Good News Angel”, a 12 foot high sculpture in plaster and mixed media by Melinda White-Bronson



On Sunday, April  29 at St.  Paul's Cathedral in Burlington, Vermont, an inaugural exhibition and reception were held to celebrate the birth of a new ECVA chapter.  The exhibition was entitled "Art  and Spirit: Expressions of our Spiritual Connections".

Fifty-eight pieces of art in various media by Episcopal artists from all over the Diocese were displayed in the Narthex and Nave of the Cathedral. The event was well attended, and an organizational meeting for the new chapter was held.

Peggy Poppe, a watercolor artist, and the wife of the Cathedral Dean, had invited me to attend the festivities and give a brief talk about ECVA in general, about the New Jersey chapter, and about my own art and faith journey. I began my presentation with the Collect for Artists and the Gracious Spirit prelude from the Visual  Preludes DVD.

It was wonderful to see the very fine exhibition, to meet the artists, and to help inaugurate the new chapter, just as Krystyna Sanderson of the New York chapter had done for us in New Jersey in 2004. I especially enjoyed rekindling my old friendship with Peggy and her husband Ken, and meeting Judith McMannis, whose work I have long admired. Both Judith and Peggy, have a real sense of the mission of ECVA and vision for their chapter.

Judith McManis, has been creating liturgical  art for more than thirty-five  years. Beginning in 1971, she has created striking and unusual designs for stained-glass, banners, altar  hangings, and appointments and vestments. Her work is currently featured in the ECVA online exhibition  'Image and Likeness', on view here.

St. Paul's has had a Cathedral Arts program for over 20 years, with continuous rotating exhibitions, and this new step represents a branching out to the wider diocese. It fits in perfectly with their concept of a "Cathedral without Walls".  Dean Poppe lent his support to both the forming of the Vermont ECVA Chapter, and to the inaugural reception.  It was a special added bonus to have Diane Nancekivell, former Dean of the Cathedral in Trenton and instrumental in the founding of the New Jersey chapter, present to add her support.  Dean Nancekivell is now retired and living in Vermont.

For more information about the Vermont ECVA Chapter, Contact Judith McManis:

For more information about forming an ECVA Chapter, visit Chapters at Episcopal Church and Visual Arts.

For more information about forming an ECVA Chapter, visit Chapters at Episcopal Church and Visual Arts.

Bronze and wood sculpture "John 1:14- ‘The Word Made Flesh’ " by Joellen Knight, installed  in the Nave of The Cathedral Church of St. Paul Burlington, VT
Guests view the exhibition Art and Spirit : Expressions of Our Spiritual Connections.  Above is “Magdalene”, a fabric banner by Judith McManis.

  Ruth Tietjen Councell is a painter who lives and works in the area surrounding Trenton, New Jersey. She is the founder of the ECVA New Jersey Chapter, and directs Chapter Formation for Episcopal Church and Visual Arts, Inc. Her art is exhibited widely; her painting 'In the Father's Embrace' can be seen in the ECVA exhibition 'Art and Faith - A Spiritual Journey' here.



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