Methodists go to the trees for inspiration

'Leaves of the Tree', a Creative Arts in Methodism eventto 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 developtheir role as District Creative Arts Contact.

The event programme drew on a network of artists andcrafts people, some professional, others in full time presbyteralministry, seeking to use creative skills in worship, pastoral careand outreach.

After prayer in the garden, the newly appointedconnexional visual arts team led art activity in the studio and adiscussion about the role of the Church amidst growing populardemand for spas and holistic therapies. Aromatherapy hand massagewas enjoyed in the lounge, while wood carving inspired by SouthAmerican and Korean artists was displayed during a break for FairTrade refreshments.

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

She enthused: "The event was inspired by the keynotescripture, 'The leaves of the tree are for the healing of thenations'. Everyone enjoyed the interactive Bible study on this, andparticipants went home with many fresh ideas andresources."