Worship Can Be Fun!

A hall full of young people.  A band playing. People talking, texting, laughing.  Tables strewn with paper, magazines, playdoh, markers, pens and pencils, pipe cleaners of all colours.  This is Rideau Park U.C. on Saturday, October 26th when young people and their friends gathered from across Ottawa for The Point, the United Church’s seasonal youth worship service. 

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After singing, praying, and listening to St. Paul enumerate the fruit of the spirit in his letter to the Church in Galatia, the crowd split up and enthusiastically dove into all kinds of art-making.

At one table, a group coloured, cut and pasted, and sketched to create a huge banner.  At another, busy hands worked with play-doh and pipe-cleaners to make colourful and inventive sculptures.  At yet another table, a group of lyricists and musicians put their ideas to music.

Meanwhile, in a quiet room upstairs a dedicated gang  of four wrote in silence, setting down their poetic response to the scripture.

And, in a noisy room downstairs, a larger gang laughed and improvised their way to a skit  illustrating how some of these spiritual fruit might be found in a high school today.

After 40 minutes of preparation, the crowd came back together and finished their worship by sharing what they had created.  Sculptures, drawings, poems and reflections, a banner, new music, drama; they were all there, all a part of responding to the words of the Bible.

Everyone was engaged, and everyone had fun.  There was lots of laughter, and lots of off-topic teasing, but there was also lots of serious intellectual and imaginative engagement.  (At one point, a member of the drama group exclaimed, “Listen, this is Paul, we’re dealing with neo-Platonism here, we need to get over it and move on.”)

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It didn’t look, sound or feel much like ‘church,’ and that didn’t matter at all. What mattered is that, for a couple of hours on a cool autumn evening, a group of young people engaged their minds and imaginations in a creative conversation with the great story of the Christian faith.  Judging by the chatter as they left, they didn’t find it boring at all!

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2nd Annual Artistic Expressions Studio Art Show

The amazing artists of the Artistic Expressions Studio are holding their second annual show and exhibit, with special concerts and panel discussion to complement the art they have prepared.

Here are the details:

The Artistic Expressions Studio is holding its 2nd annual ART EXHIBIT. The public is invited to view the work of these artists and attend events presented by Special Guests of the Studio on Nov. 13 and 14, evenings, and Sat. afternoon, Nov. 16. The Special Guests include:

  • Nov. 13, 7-8 pm, in the sanctuary, The Centretown Brass Quintet, featuring Peter Crouch and Cameron Walker, trumpet, Michel Levasseur, french horn, Trevor Argue, trombone and Corey Rempel, tuba, performing a program of some jazz and blues standards and some original works for brass;
  • Nov. 14, 7 pm-9 pm, pianist William Blais of Ambient Melodies playing in the gallery;
  • Nov. 16, 1-3 p.m., in the sanctuary, a panel discussion, “Living the Dream – A Healthy Society for All” sponsored by the Douglas Coldwell Foundation. The panel will feature authors and physicians, Vincent Lam and Ryan Meili, and former MP and journalist Dennis Gruending.

    The Artistic Expressions Studio is a joint project of Centre 507 and Centretown United church. It’s purpose is to provide an equipped studio space to artists of our community living with a variety of serious challenges. These artists may frequent drop-ins, live in rooming houses, shelters or on the street. Despite these circumstances they are talented and serious artists and their work deserves to be exhibited, admired and collected. Following the events on Nov. 13th and 16th the audience is invited to view The Art Exhibit in the gallery. The Exhibit and all events and will be held at Centretown United Church, 507 Bank St. at Argyle. All events are free but donations to the Studio are welcome. For more information see centretownunited.org or centre507.org. Free parking is available at Glashan public school, 28 Arlington Ave.

Last year’s show was a huge success, this year it will be even better. Hope to see you there.

 

Partnerships: the name of the game

Here’s how we define our Mission at Faith&Arts Ottawa:

“to engage people in deepening their spiritual lives by offering arts-based spiritual growth programs to the Ottawa community, and by creating a faith community of people committed to sharing their lives with one another. “

We have employed many art forms in pursuit of this mission: journaling, poetry, creative writing, music, sculpting, drama and more.  As we have grown our programs we have met a lot of wonderful people who share the vision and have offered their own gifts in partnership.

Like the amazing congregation of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Sandy Hill who have turned their former chapel into a fully equipped art studio and are partnering with Faith&Arts Ottawa to create the SpiritArt studio and SpiritArt program (www.spiritartprogram.ca).

Like Eleanor Crowder and Anna Lewis, two of the principals at the Bear & Company Theatre company (www.bearandcompany.org) who led our ‘god Monologues’ verbatim theatre project back in the spring of 2013.

And now, like Jonathan Harris and the good folk of the 9th Hour Theatre company (www.9th-hour.ca) who are partnering with us to create a remarkable piece of original theatre called “Grain of Salt.”  More about that later, but for now we are delighted to find kindred souls at 9th Hour, who define their mission this way:

“9th Hour Theatre Company exists to creatively engage the art of storytelling in order to explore, examine and express themes and questions of faith and spirituality, including the person and characteristics of God.”

With a Mission so closely aligned with Faith&Arts Ottawa’s, the only surprise is that it took over a year for us to seek one another out and begin collaborating.  Now that we have, and we are, you can look forward to lots of engaging, spiritually challenging theatre in the years to come.