LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Arts Series

Last night several arts enthusiasts from our church met to discuss creating a new arts series. We already have a strong worship arts program but this will be a new series of events outside the regular worship arts lineup. One main purpose of it will be outreach to the community. We're just beginning the planning process but are considering concerts, lectures, readings, dance performances, visual art exhibitions, film discussions and more, all intentionally geared toward different age groups. 

We had a special guest join us: our good friend from the UK, Nigel Goodwin. (Nigel was the first person I featured on this blog when I began it two years ago.) A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Nigel worked in theatre, film, TV, and radio for over 10 years. He trained under Francis Schaeffer at L'Abri. Now, as Executive Director of Genesis Arts Trust, Nigel encourages and supports Christians in the arts, both celebrities and as-yet-unknowns, all over the world. 

My husband and I met Nigel several years ago. A common love of the arts brought us together, and we were thrilled to have him take part in our wedding. Since then, he has spoken at our church several times and will do so again this Sunday. I'm hoping to have some time to interview him again for the blog before he goes to encourage artists elsewhere in the US.

If your church has an arts series like the one I've outlined here or if you know of something similar, please tell me about it by leaving a comment. I know of several myself but would love to hear from you.


Dave Von Bieker said...

Nigel Goodwin - boy would I love to meet him! I heard him on "The Kindlings Muse" with Dick Staub and was smitten!

We do something each year called "Bridge Songs". I am on the Lead Team at Urban Bridge Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Bridge Songs started as a live performance from the collective of songwriters at our church, but has blossomed into a full, one night arts extraveganza. We feature live painting, a visual art gallery, a group project from our Photography Group and a solid 2 hours of music from our group of songwriters. The quality of the artwork produced is inspiring, especially when I consider that all of the artists are part of our community and we have less than 100 people total. It's amazing who God puts in your midst.

Bridge Songs is not so much evangelistic in its purpose as it is a way for the artists to come together, see each others' work, celebrate creativity and show the world a sliver of the Creativity of God. Evangelism I think is a natural by-product of such an event, and we certainly have connected with some people our regular gatherings do not connect with.

I have also begun hosting film discussion nights in the community (at a coffeeshop, not at our church. We do not have a church building). The first one went really well, except it was ended early by a loud car-crash right outside the shop! Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

These are just some of the ways our church has been attempting to engage culture with the arts. I'd love to hear what God is doing all around the world in other churches, too!

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...


Nigel is a wonderful man, full of encouragement and profundity and love for others. I feel honored to call him friend.

By the way, I know Dick Staub too. I met him a couple of years ago at a CS Lewis event. He was in town last night to act as emcee for a reception for Nigel. He's also a fascinating man, as I'm sure you know from Kindlings Muse.

His conference on Orcas Island this past July was a huge success. He's planning another for next July. I think it's July 23-26. Lord willing, Nigel will be at that conference too. Keep those dates in mind.

Thank you for passing this info along about Bridge Songs. I like that you said it's amazing who God puts in your midst. We have a small church and we have been amazed at the numbers of artists and creative people in our midst. We want to help them use their gifts and reach out to others with similar gifts. And of course part of our purpose is to educate the church body on the importance of the arts.

I hope Bridge Songs continues to thrive. Thanks for your comment.



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