Christ Church Middletown Inspires Climate Change Action through Art

Christ Episcopal Church in Middletown, NJ, is mounting an exhibition of ten paintings by New York artist Carolyn Oberst that addresses the subject of climate change.  “The Crosses We Bear” is a series of unique cross-shaped paintings, ranging in height from 15 to 93 inches, that depict landscapes, flora, and fauna endangered due to climate change. Oberst was inspired to create these paintings in the 1990s to “raise awareness of the devastating effects that climate change was having on the planet.” She adds, “tragically, the situation has only grown worse since then.”

The community is especially invited to an Opening Reception with invited guest the Rev. William H. Stokes, Bishop of New Jersey and other dignitaries on Sept. 30 at 5:30 pm.

Regarding her decision to paint on cross-shaped canvases, Oberst points out that “the cross has historically been seen as both a symbol of shame and a symbol of hope.” Her use of this shape reveals the shame of wanton human disregard for nature but also points to the hope that humanity will redeem itself by choosing to act as a conscientious steward of the environment.

As a progressive spiritual community, Christ Church, Oberst’s partner in this project, sees the environmental crisis from a theological perspective. “The church’s educational mission is to connect the environmental crisis with humanity’s failure to respect the dignity of God’s creation,” says Fr. Michael Way, Priest-in-Charge at Christ Church, “this exhibition helps to do just that.”

These works will be available for public viewing in Christ Church’s historic chapel on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, and by appointment. The works can also be viewed after regular worship services (see schedule on church website).

The paintings and related merchandise will be available for purchase.