Date: July 7, 2023
This year VTS is marking the moment of 200 years of ministry and mission, of faith and flaws in the name of Jesus Christ. The creative imagination of preachers, poets, playwrights, and painters is helping us to mark the moment.
Later this month VTS will honor a painter who is helping us remember well. Dr. Leo Franklin Twiggs, is a treasured and distinguished son of South Carolina. This American painter with his batik process has long captured the lively, textured culture of his native state which has recognized him with its highest honor, the Order of the Palmetto, a civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina. He has been about “good trouble” all his life. He is a preacher-prophet with his paintings. VTS happily joins the State of South Carolina by giving Dr. Twiggs its highest honor, the Dean’s Cross for Servant Leadership in the Church and the world.
VTS has two, arguably, of his greatest paintings in its collection in Alexandria, Virginia. One large painting recalls with stark clarity and honesty the death of George Floyd in 2020, a tragedy which launched the national Black Lives Matter movement. This textured, provocative painting of “sin” is paired with a hopeful painting of “grace” which honors, in part, our Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry.
The Rev. J. Barney Hawkins IV, Ph.D.
Director of the Historic Bicentenary