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/ 28 May 2014

Creatives network begins with a Feast of the Senses

Creative. It is a word we hear so often. But what does it truly mean to creatively express and explore faith? Arts and culture are such fundamental forms of human expression yet there is a common perception both within and outside worshipping communities that the Church doesn’t ‘do’ creative.

One of the core elements of Capital Vision 2020 is to be more creative in the ways we reach new people and places in the power of the spirit. A key way for us to do this is through engaging closely with the creative arts and those within the world of arts and culture to explore new ways to express the Gospel.

We are working to build a growing network of vibrant individuals from throughout the worlds of art and culture in London that will resource, support and encourage artists and creatives whose work acknowledges the spiritual dimension of the arts, explicitly or implicitly.

The first of these events took place on Thursday 22 May at St Saviour’s Walton Place and saw over 40 individuals from a broad spectrum of the arts and culture come together to share a meal and discuss the issues around the Church, faith and the creative world.

The evening began with a fantastic performance of Romeo and Juliet from the Intermission Youth Theatre. This organisation connects with young people from London’s inner-city communities who are at risk of offending or who lack opportunity. The aim is to give them the tools to live positively, gaining confidence and self-worth through drama workshops. Following the performance the actors spoke about what Intermission means to them, how it is a safe place and a home.

The Bishop of Stepney then spoke on the link between Church and the arts, highlighting the importance of rediscovering how to engage with the creative arts.

We sat down to take our seats for the central part of our event, a three course meal. Guests moved seats after each dish to encourage networking and between each course grace was sung by Kerry Yong from Grace Church Hackney and a gospel group from St James’s Muswell Hill.

Guests were encouraged to discuss one of the following questions:

  1. How has the Church (in London) helped or hindered your creativity?
  2. How does faith impact on your creative world?
  3. How could the Church engage more creatively with art and culture in London?

These questions are a crucial starting point for us as we begin to decide how we can best support and engage with those in the creative world. The thoughts that came out of these discussions were creatively expressed through the decorating of paper plates – these echoed the theme of a feast and enabled guests to anonymously voice their responses.

Following the dinner we moved into an informal plenary, led by the Bishop of Stepney, where guests could vocalise their answers to the questions. There were many thoughts that came from this but the word that struck me the most was the need for bravery and freedom. Bravery and boldness of the Church and worshippers to open up to the creative world, and freedom of expression for those within both worlds. It was exciting to see a room full of people excited for what Capital Vision will mean for them and to hear the evening described as “affirming” and that they felt “welcomed in” to the Church rather than alienated as so many sadly do.

A particularly poignant thought came from one guest who described how God created those in the room to be creatives yet so often that part is seen as secondary. Instead their God-given creativity should be celebrated as a form of expression.

The prayer is that this event will be the start of something exciting, a forum for ideas to be shared and for God’s work to shine through.

Do you feel like you missed out? If you would like to be involved in any future Capital Vision 2020 Creative events then we would love to hear from you. Just email capitalvision2020@nulllondon.anglican.org and we will be in touch.

Article written by Beth Surgenor.

About Communications

The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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