Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Art in Our Time

October 2021 at Fetter Lane Moravian Close

The Pioneer Team had planned a creative week of ministry set to begin October half term 2020 and just like most of life in 2020 things paused. However, our vision was not lost and with funding behind us from the Moravian Church for Pioneer Ministry and a two thousand pounds generous grant from the Royal Borough of Chelsea and Kensington we planned ahead as a team for the event to be rolled out in what we hoped would be a better 2021.

Our Art Week which we named 'Art in Our Time' aimed to bring people together from both sides of our street, the King's Road, where some of the richest folks live opposite social housing. We also hoped it would provide a place where people could come together and process through prayer, laughter, reflection and artistry all that has passed in the last eighteen months (and ongoing) with COVID. Sharing together our stories and experiences, and taking time together and, in quiet moments, apart to process all that has gone on and been felt.

Where is God in that, you may wonder? Pioneer Ministry is rarely as explicit as 'quoting Bible verses at you', although we did wonder about them when it came to several of our workshops. Indeed, this Pioneer Ministry is more about gently discerning where God is in our lives, perhaps in unexpected or unexplored ways. This week intended to gently wonder.
We had one hundred and eleven people across all events attending, not including people who formed part of the Pioneer Team or those who facilitated workshops. Practically, we have contact details formed for future events and people have connected with us who have never been into our space before. It gave us a chance to speak and engage with the financially rich and the more financially modest. It may seem strange to emphasise this latter point but one observation over the last three years living here is how little this happens. It was, therefore, incredibly meaningful to have a family attend from one of our known richest roads alongside a family from our local estate. The importance of this mixing is vital for the healthiness of our areas and for us to work within the vision that God is for all to experience. As we wondered around God's plan and sense of Creation in the Family Land Art workshop it felt like a moment of God being present in this because this is so rare.

My personal favourite session was done by a Storyteller called David Allen who carefully weaved together a story that celebrated all those local, on the ground type heroes who have worked and supported our community throughout COVID. He got the group that gathered actively participating, adults as well as children, taking on drama roles as we thought about and appreciated: cleaners, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, neighbours, delivery drivers - to name but a few. We ended in prayer and it felt like a Spirit-filled moment.

Some written feedback we received from the week included these quotes:
• 'Great, had a lovely time' - a family who attended our Family Art Therapy Session.
• 'Meaningful' - Adult Art Therapy Session.
• 'If church was like this, I would attend weekly' - this came from a self-declared non church going family who attended our Muddy Church session.
• 'It was well organised and enjoyable' - World's End Under 5's Session.

We have learnt lessons in terms of team availability, and we hope to do a smaller festival in the Spring again working with the local community where possible to connect us all more with God, life in this community and the joy of discovering the Spirit of God together. We have also recognised that for now our focus continues to be Art Based but that for the next year at least we are going to be concentrating on families.

Watch this space...

Sr Claire Maxwell
Minister at Fetter Lane

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