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A Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation in New York has garnered controversy for its decision to host a pagan sculpture on their property.
United - Presbyterian - Church - Binghamton - PC
The United Presbyterian Church of Binghamton, a PC(USA) congregation associated with the pro-LGBT group More Light Presbyterians, hosted a fifteen-foot tall totem sculpture known as the Sviatovid.
The sculpture, which was created by Bart Kresa Studio designer Akira Wakui, was put on display at the church earlier this month as part of the LUMA Festival.
Sviatovid - Sanctuary - Binghamton - United - Presbyterian
“Sviatovid will materialize in the sanctuary of Binghamton United Presbyterian Church with additional content,” noted an announcement on LUMA’s website.
“In an homage to the striking 19th century architecture of the church, the students of the BARTKRESA academy will build an original 3.5 minute pre-show. The church spire, pipe organ and stained glass inform the new work.”
Hosting - Sculpture - Attention - Group - Institute
The hosting of the sculpture received the attention of the theologically conservative group the Institute on Religion & Democracy, which reported on it last Thursday.
“Sviatovid (alternately known as Svetovid, Svantovit, Sventovit, or Svantevit) was a local Slavic god of war, fertility, and abundance in the Baltic region,” wrote Josiah Aden of the IRD.
Purpose - Sviatovid - Context - Interest - Something
“Admittedly, and thankfully, the purpose of Sviatovid in this festive context is not worship, but mere interest. Yet, there is something inside that recoils at erecting an ancient Slavic deity in a church chancel of the same God who commanded, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3, ESV).”
Aden went on to speculate the reasons for the sculpture being based in the church, including “the spirit of multiculturalism” or “a subtle nod to universalism.”
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