15 October 2004

Methodists go to the trees for inspiration

'Leaves of the Tree', a Creative Arts in Methodism event to pursue new ways of being church, took place
last week at the Guy Chester Centre in Muswell Hill, London.

The crowd, gathered around the theme of art and healing, held prayers under the great horse chestnut tree in the garden. Most were lay Methodists from around the Connexion, keen to develop their role as District Creative Arts Contact.

The event programme drew on a network of artists and crafts people, some professional, others in full time presbyteral ministry, seeking to use creative skills in worship, pastoral care and outreach.

After prayer in the garden, the newly appointed connexional visual arts team led art activity in the studio and a discussion about the role of the Church amidst growing popular demand for spas and holistic therapies. Aromatherapy hand massage was enjoyed in the lounge, while wood carving inspired by South American and Korean artists was displayed during a break for Fair Trade refreshments.

Sarah Middleton, Coordinator of Creative Arts in Methodism, said: "It is vital that we develop local churches' appreciation of the creative arts and encourage people to use their creative gifts, which can be both an aid to worship and a tool for mission."

She enthused: "The event was inspired by the keynote scripture, 'The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations'. Everyone enjoyed the interactive Bible study on this, and participants went home with many fresh ideas and resources."


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