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O come, O come Emmanuel… we pray that you will…

unwrap our doubt to make a space for love…

unwrap our grief to make a space for joy…

unwrap our resentment to make a space for peace…

unwrap our sentimentality to make a space for life…

unwrap our skepticism to make a space for hope…

unwrap our darkness to make a space for light.

(from a prayer by cheryl lawrie in the book hold this space (see proost.co.uk) – christmas confession)

Watch a video by Jonny Baker with this prayer.

view of hand-painted Good Shepherd mural

view of hand-painted Good Shepherd mural

The Good Shepherd mural was created as a portable backdrop solution for contemporary worship services… it is 20′ wide by 6.5′ high, made of five panels with canvas stretched on a lightweight wooden frame. The mural backdrop was originally created for contemporary / Spanish services at Coburn Memorial United Methodist Church in Salisbury, NC and was used there for about a year. Then it was used in the Spanish contemporary services in the Hispanic/Latino Mission of the Waynesville District, Western North Carolina Conference for a couple years. The mural is currently in storage.

To see the original design, the painting process and photos of the entire mural, go to http://www.dancingdragonfly.info/murals.html. This is an example of the use of visual art in worship.

Here are some other interesting resources / examples of the use of visual art in worship.
1. http://www.calvin.edu/worship/visual_arts/art_in_worship/index.php
2. http://blog.nextlevelworship.com/2007/04/10/using-visual-arts-in-worship/
3. http://www.surfinthespirit.com/art-literature/worship.html
4. http://www.rejesus.co.uk/creativity
5. http://www.halmoran.com/welcome.htm
6. http://www.lca.org.au/worship/visualarts.cfm
7. http://blog.worship.com/worship/2007/04/using_visual_ar.html
8. http://www.artforworship.com/
9. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2096/is_3_52/ai_94983829/
10. visualimagebookcover1 Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue (Engaging Culture) By William A. Dyrness

In my area of Augusta (30909 zipcode) I’ve discovered that there are loads of people who loves the arts… And if you read the Metro Spirit and follow the arts scene, you know that there are plenty of people who wish they could not only experience the arts, but actively participate in aspects of art.

I’ve only been back a short few months to Augusta, after living for nearly 8 years in NC, and once again I’m struck with how much interest and emphasis there is here on the arts scene. I’d like to connect with others of similar interest… to participate and experience the arts scene here, and explore how God can be experienced through art.

Last year I was not able to participate in the 2008 General Conference of the UMC, but I’ve discovered that many people and much work went into creating an experience of God’s presence through the arts. One of the co-directors of the worship plan for the conference was Marcia McFee of http://www.marciamcfee.com/. Her site is called “Creating Worship with Deep Soul.”

“She is known across the country for sensory-rich worship that appeals to “traditionalists” as well as “contemporary” and “emerging” congregants.  Her experience and expertise in coordinating musicians, visual designers, liturgists and technical personnel create an exciting and collaborative working environment.” (from her site, worship.htm)

A sensory-rich worship experience is what we hope and plan to create at Breathing | Space in the future. The beginning steps of such a worship experience will be part of the small group sessions of “Essence,” our first outreach small group offering. Experiencing God’s presence through art, music, visual and tactile participation will allow participants to begin to explore what is it to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

The Breathing | Space alternative worship team will create a once-a-month worship event called breathe | deep. The first event will not be planned or advertised until there are 100-125 active and committed participants /  members of Breathing | Space small groups. All who come to be part of this community will be encouraged to pray for and prepare for the first breathe | deep worship event.

The worship gathering will be designed with some of the following elements:

  • visual art, imagery in worship
  • creative storytelling/teaching about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ
  • prayer and meditation stations
  • communion – the sacred mystery
  • tapestries / wall hangings
  • use of technology
  • natural elements
  • creative writing
  • music – vocal and instrumental

This worship event will be created by a team of people who are a part of the Breathing | Space community. Anyone connected with the community will be encouraged to participate in the monthly planning process and bring their gifts, insights and creativity to the planning  “table”.

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