New Dramatic Arts Program for Youth in Kingston Starting this October!

Starting October 21st, Faith and Arts Ottawa, in partnership with Sydenham Street United Church – The Spire, will be launching a new dramatic arts program for youth (ages 14 to 18) in the Kingston (Ontario) area called “Sharing Stories”.

This 8-week, dramatic theatre workshop program, centers on the experiences of youth and their questions of identity, spirituality and community.

At each Sunday evening workshop, there will be a shared meal (for the first hour) followed by a two (2) hour theatrical workshop.

Cost: It’s FREE!

When: Sunday evenings, starting October 21st, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Where: Sydenham Street United Church, at 82 Sydenham Street (at Sydenham and William).

Want to register? Need more information? Email the Administrator of Faith and Arts Ottawa, Ashley, at OR email the Director of the Program, Rosemary Nolan, at

Register before October 17th! Spaces are limited.

Sharing Stories v2 (2)

Writing the Sacred: A Psalm Writing Workshop

When: Saturday, October 25, 2014
Where: St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church
473 Cumberland, Ottawa
Workshop: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
Cost: Suggested Registration: $25 | Students: $10
For information or to register phone: 613-237-1821 

Ray McGinnis -  Writing the Sacred

Workshop leader Ray McGinnis brings a splendid range of writing exercises to spark your imagination. At this workshop, come play with words, come nurture your spirit as you learn ways to write your own new psalms. Explore how Psalm writing can deepen personal and spiritual growth.
Ray brings to this workshop simple step-by-step exercises to help you write a new psalm with ease. Come and explore the thin spaces where reflective writing and spirituality meet. This workshop is designed for both those who enjoy writing and those who have never put pen to paper. This is a workshop open to older children, youth and adults. Signed copies of Writing the Sacred will be available for sale during the workshop for those who wish to purchase a copy priced at $25.

Bio: Ray McGinnis is author of Writing the Sacred. He is a graduate of the Center for Christian Studies and is a former national staff person for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the United Church of Canada. He leads poetry workshops, prayer writing workshops, Psalm-writing workshops and journal writing workshops. A popular presenter, Ray has taught over 13,000 participants at writing workshops across North America.  His website is He lives in Vancouver.


The SpiritArt Mission


The SpiritArt Program has a clear mission and goals. 

 Our mission is

  • To provide a safe and welcoming art space.
  • To offer programming that nurtures spirituality and inspires hope, creativity, growth and healing though artistic expression.
  • To build and nurture a sense of community and connection through programming.
  • To provide a structure which will sustain connections made and to provide ongoing opportunities for support for people in their spiritual journeys.

There are many great schools and studios in Ottawa offering instruction in the arts ranging from dance to drama, from painting to poetry.  If your goal is to improve your technique and learn from an expert, then you’ll easily find what you’re looking for.

But if, on the other hand, your goal is to grow personally and spiritually through your art, to connect to the Source of life and to heal your wounds by using your imagination and creativity, then your options are fewer.

Our Mission at SpiritArt is to offer precisely this kind of artistic exploration; art-making that leads to spiritual growth and a sense of  community, the kind of imaginative exploration that focuses on the process rather than the product.

We believe that the creative arts provide one of the best possible paths to growth, healing and healthy community.  Why? Because when we engage our imagination in creating something new, something that doesn’t yet exist, we are – by definition! – open to learning and growing.  And because, when we are learning and growing we are more likely to find the strength and resources we need to face our hurts and pains and overcome them.  AND because, when we’re using our imagination, we are – almost by definition – HAVING FUN!

And fun is something too many of us have too little of.

That’s why SpiritArt has a clear mission and goals that set it apart from most of the other arts-based organizations in the city.


The Creator’s Sacrifice

“The Creator’s Sacrifice” is a cycle of 17 paintings that tell the Easter story as imagined by Ovide Bighetty, a self-taught Cree artist from northwestern Manitoba who paints in the Woodland Cree tradition. They are remarkable for their colour and vibrancy. 

Take a look at this Kisemanito poster, and you’ll see what I mean.

All 17 paintings will be in Ottawa for a two week exhibit, March 23 – April 6th, at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Sandy Hill. For anyone interested in the intersection of spirituality and art, or aboriginal art and Christian spirituality, this show is not to be missed.

Here are a few links for more information:

The God Monologues Project

“The unexamined life is not worth living…”

Socrates, quoted in Plato’s Apology.

What is the God Monologues Project?  A 10 week “documentary theatre” project that explores the spirituality of young adults in their own words, culminating in a performance on March 24th. The script will be created by the cast itself.

(In “Documentary theatre” a cast of actors creates an original work of theatrical art by developing a script from the words of real people.   See the Background section below for an explanation of where we will find the words we need to start the creative process.)

Who can participate?  Young adults who are interested in either live theatre or spirituality, or both.  No previous acting experience is necessary, just a willingness to commit to participating each week from early February to late March.  We’re looking for people with a sense of adventure and fun, who are willing to take risks and explore some profound questions.

Where?  At St. Giles Presbyterian Church, corner of Bank Street and First Avenue in the Glebe.

And when?  Wednesday evenings, starting on February 6th.  Rehearsals will start at 6:00 p.m. with a cast dinner (another great reason to sign up!) at 6 p.m. and will finish by 9:00 p.m.   The program will culminate with a performance on Sunday, March 24th.

Why would I want to do this?  This is an unique opportunity to explore some profound life questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I believe?
  3. What are my values?
  4. How do my beliefs and values influence the way I live my life?

And it’s gonna be a lot of fun.  It is called a ‘play’ after all.

Paradoxically, one of the best ways to learn about yourself is to pretend to be someone else; to explore in depth another person’s thoughts, feeling, opinions, and motivations.  And that’s what theatre is.  The essence of acting is to play a ‘character,’ another person who may be very unlike yourself, to explore what they believe and how they behave, what their ‘voice’ sounds like.  In doing so, you will have the opportunity to explore what you think, what you believe, and how you want to live your life.

How much?  Free. Your only cost is the time you commit to it.  Which will be a significant investment.  If you join, you will be expected to attend all the rehearsals and the performance.  Live theatre is a team sport.

OK, I’m interested, how do I get more information?   Leave a comment on this post, or drop me a line at

Background: The Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood, formerly the Ecumenical Chaplain at Carleton University and still a professor there, has spent the past three years investigating the spiritual lives of young adults who have rejected the religious institutions of their parents and grandparents.  He has gathered about 400 first person statements from young men and women of differing religious, ethnic, economic and geographical backgrounds.  Taken together they paint a fascinating picture of the diverse and creative spiritual lives of young adult Canadians today.

Part of the mandate of Dr. Sherwood’s research is to share his findings as widely as possible, to give a ‘voice’ to his subjects.  As part of that mandate he has partnered with Faith and Arts Ottawa to create a live theatre production based on the words of some of his study participants.