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and the word became flesh: a call to creativity and support

September 15, 2011
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(Note: Today’s post is by Gabriel St. John)

You may have recently heard on the Grace Seattle grapevine whisperings of a new Artists and Writers Guild.  If this is the case, then I’m most delighted you already know something about it, but I’d like to take this opportunity to give a definite and audible voice to those hushed mutterings.  And if this isn’t the case, then I’d love to introduce you to this very nascent and exciting project.   Below are some questions about the Guild you may have; questions I have attempted to answer, almost all I have asked myself at one point or another.

First and foremost, what on earth is this Artists and Writers Guild?  It is a group of artists and writers of all kinds – painters, sculptors, sketchers, poets, music composers, song writers, you name it.  I suppose you could call it an umbrella of “artistically-minded” people.

What’s the deal, then, with this Guild, and what does it have to do with Grace?  It’s a very good question.  The deal is this: we want to use this year’s worship emphasis on the Gospel of John to inspire members of the congregation to work creatively and to produce works that will reflect and encourage devotion on what we as individuals and as a church are learning.  We also want community and fellowship to be a vital part of the Guild, and so on the third Thursday of each month there will be a working-soiree hosted at the MacDonald’s, which will be an opportunity to come together to share ideas, to work on projects, to inspire each other, and perhaps even to work collaboratively or inter-disciplinarily.

It sounds awfully pretentious, if not a little intimidating – what gives?  These are fair concerns, but please understand, this is not going to be an elitist clique; no one is claiming to be Michelangelo or Ezra Pound.  Our intention is to mirror the simultaneously profound and humble sentiments of the apostle John himself when he wrote of his Gospel, “But these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah” (John 20:31).  In the same way, we want the things that are written, painted, drawn (etc.) for this project to point not to our own selves, but to our Creator.  That may sound cliché or cheesy, but it’s nonetheless very true.

So are we working towards something, or this an indefinite thing?  There is certainly a time frame: the duration of our congregational emphasis on John’s Gospel (September – June).  Being early days, though, what we are working towards is still somewhat fluid, and there is plenty of space for ideas and suggestions.  Some already thrown out are: an open-house art exhibit, incorporating some of the items onto the Order of Worship covers, and a self-published book of poems.

OK, but what if I’m not “artistically-minded?”  The answer to that question should be, “Are you sure you’re not?”  And here is another aim of the project: to draw out and encourage the creative side of your character, whether it’s a side of you that you know you possess but are apprehensive or embarrassed to reveal, or whether it’s a side of you that you don’t yet know exists.  And if you truly feel you have nothing to offer artistically, then support us.  We want the church behind us, we want people to be interested, we need that encouragement; it’s a part of the community and the fellowship we seek.  So I’d encourage you – all of you, “artistically-minded” or not – to come to the working-soirees, come to the events we may (or may not) organize.  Hang out with us.  Be a part of it.

Below is a video clip to give you a taste of what the Guild has been up to.

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