Epiphany Mission


“Nestled in a scenic valley of the southern Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee in the small community of Sherwood is Epiphany Mission Episcopal Church. People from across the country would visit the little stone church and its walled garden with pools, bricked walkways, multitude of flowers, and open-air chapel. …

“One of the visitors to Epiphany Mission in 1953 was an accomplished abstract artist named Philip Perkins. He was so taken with the place and its work that he wanted to paint a new altarpiece for the chapel – a gift.

“A native of Tennessee, Perkins was an abstract painter well known for his geometric, cubist influenced work of the forties. Although he was an abstract painter, for the new altarpiece he painted a triptych in a style reminiscent of El Greco’s work. …

“The center panel depicts the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. Above Christ is the image of a dove representing the Holy Spirit, and the hand of God is seen reaching out to Christ. John the Baptist is holding a staff made of two branches that form a cross. On the right panel is the figure of St. John the Evangelist, the apostle of love. On the left panel is the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of gardening and wildlife.” Text by Dan Hardison. Read more >

(Please note: The editor apologizes for the quality of the image, which is shown here for its historic value. – Mel Ahlborn)

On View: The study for the Epiphany Mission triptych by Philip Perkins, c. 1953, oil on canvas, center pael 40″ x 28″, side panels 30″ x 10″. Photo by Dan Hardison. The study is a half-size rendering of the triptych that was installed in Epiphany Mission in 1954. The center panel shows the same depiction of the Baptism of Christ that was in the final version. Read more >

As seen in: Art, Community Story, an Episcopal Church and Visual Arts online exhibition.

Past Posts