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Clergy to wear plastic fished out of the Thames

28 March 2018

SARAH WILSON

The Profane to Sacred cope (see gallery for more)

The Profane to Sacred cope (see gallery for more)

AN ART and design student has created a cope out of plastic waste from the River Thames, to raise awareness of the problems that pollution causes.

Sarah Wilson, who is working for a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at the City Lit, in London, has designed and made the cope out of the discarded plastic that she collected for her final project, which she called turning the “ordinary into the extraordinary”.

SARAH WILSONCanon Roger Hall, wearing the cope

Mrs Wilson, a mature student, said last week: “I live on the water. I saw this rubbish every day, and I decided to do something with it.”

She said that she trawled through the Thames foreshore in Mudchute and Limehouse, and collected more than six kilogrammes of plastic waste to use in her artwork Profane to Sacred.

“I was trying to show that plastics that are thrown away can be something wonderful and inspiring, but also remind people about our waste, and inform the public about what happens to the plastic they throw away,” Mrs Wilson said.

The Revd Roger Hall, Canon of the Chapels Royal, has agreed to wear the cope on Easter Day, and the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, has asked to wear the cope at choral evensong on 30 September, as part of the Totally Thames festival, to raise awareness of plastic waste.

Mrs Wilson said: “Inadvertently, I managed to get into a very topical subject; there was not quite as much awareness when I started. I think the Church needs to be getting involved in combating plastic waste; exhibiting my piece in City churches would help people to understand the problem of waste.”

The C of E has been backing a campaign for a plastic-less Lent, led by the theologian and environmentalist Dr Ruth Valerio. It encourages churchgoers to reduce their plastic use (News, 16 February).

St Catherine’s, Hatcham, in south London, launched a campaign to engage creatively and politically with reducing the country’s plastic footprint. The campaign, “Message in a Bottle”, was created last week for the Telegraph Hill Fest­ival. Members of the congregation and the local community were invited to decorate a plastic milk bottle, and to place a prayer or pledge inside, which was then hung up in the church.

The Revd Sheridan James, Vicar of St Catherine’s, said: “At a time when our nation has been inspired by Sir David Attenborough’s call to cut back and save our oceans from the plastic toxicity, this art installation and our own Message in a Bottle activity has challenged us to play our part and engage the whole community in taking a stand.”

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