In September 2000 a number of Ministers belonging to The General Conference of the New Church met for their annual seminar. During the course of the seminar, presentations on the Book of Revelation were made by Christopher Hasler and Michael Stanley. Such was the interest aroused that a group of colleagues resolved to form a study group.
In the ensuing decade the group has met twice a year for intensive workshops, forming subgroups to pursue a variety of approaches and develop various materials for use by people interested in the Apocalypse. They have included Bible Study sessions, a Spiritual Growth Course, public presentations, and a deck of cards that can be used to help people become familiar with this mysterious book, as well as stimulating them to see personal applications.
From the early days of the project, the visual impact of the images seen by the writer of the Apocalypse was felt to be a vital way of accessing the inner, spiritual meanings of the text. In this respect we have been privileged to have the support of G Roland Smith, whose artistic work has thrilled and inspired us, culminating in this Exhibition of his Apocalypse illustrations.
In all of this, as outlined elsewhere, the group has drawn on the theology and Biblical explanations set down in Emanuel Swedenborg's books. It is these books together with the Holy Bible that provide the basis for the life and practice of the New Church in Britain and across the world.
We are grateful to The General Conference of the New Church for the support given to our work, and most of all to the Lord Jesus Christ for the inspiration and eagerness with which He has blessed us.
Members of the Apocalypse Study Group: Mary Duckworth, Christopher Hasler, Michael Stanley, Clifford Curry, Bruce Jarvis (Co-ordinator) and David Gaffney. David Lomax, currently Principal of the New Church College (Swedenborg Open Learning Centre), Manchester, was for a time a member of the group, and has retained an active interest and link with us. In addition we have had the practical help of David Friend, both over the years as he has displayed copies of the illustrations when they have become available, and especially in mounting this exhibition of the twenty-five original pictures.