Fall Quarter Update

This fall, we launched into the work that was made possible through the Calvin Worship Grant.  At the heart of this work is the exploration of the creative process and how that can inform and shape the Sunday Worship Service. But what is the creative process? And how does that inform the Sunday worship service, if at all?  

THE RETREAT

We set out asking these questions at our Fall Retreat where we gathered with local artist, Scott Burnett, to talk about the human creative process.  

As a visual artist, Scott led us through various drawing exercises that encouraged us to notice our own creative process. While sitting in a circle on a Saturday morning, writers and musicians explored light and shadow, edges and negative spaces, relationships and being. Rather than receiving training, the whole process felt more like an existential expedition into the areas of life that we cannot easily put words to. How can we talk about where the light ends and the shadows start?  How can we recognize the importance of shadow in our ability to see light? What happens when we bring our attention to the negative spaces? What happens when we notice the edges - where one thing ends and another thing begins? We found that these questions make much more sense when you put your pencil to the paper. The creative process, rather than something that can be taught, is something that deserves practice.  And in fact, though these very simple creative exercises, we noticed that everyone was able to contribute regardless of skill. The creative impulse is universal.  

One of the driving convictions behind this grant was that the creative process is universal. It is not only a luxury, it is part of the necessary human experience. 

CREATIVE SPACE

We needed a regular ongoing meeting that would help us not just to talk about these ideas, but to practice them. We launched Creative Space in October as a way to provide more opportunities to practice. We gather every other Monday at a local home in Seattle to practice and share in the creative process. Though we offer space to share creative work, this has not been the primary use of this time. We want to cultivate and nourish the creative pathways.  

One of the results of the exercises of Coastland Commons Creative Space.

One of the results of the exercises of Coastland Commons Creative Space.

We continue to meet every other Monday at 7pm. Contact Coastland Commons for the address and next meeting.  

Dani reading from the book of Jonah, our orienting story for the year.

Scott Burnett illustrating a point via one of his paintings.

Scott Burnett illustrating a point via one of his paintings.

EMMAUS EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS

House Emmaus Experience in Queen Anne

House Emmaus Experience in Queen Anne

When we began this experiment, we gathered around the convictions that all human beings are creative and that as Christians, we wanted to engage the Scriptural text in our creative process.  We wanted it to be a living partner.  

The first story that we committed to was the story of Emmaus (Luke 24). This text was the springboard for the upcoming album EMMAUS, to be released in February 2016. The songs were born out of dialogue with the Emmaus story. We wanted a way to put the songs in partnership with the text in fresh way, and to invite others into the conversation. The Emmaus events provide a way to share this music over a meal.  

But we wanted more conversation, participation, and creative voice from the people present. We launched a workshop that would help those present find a way to enter into the event. They would create collaborative poems through a written exercise, and then offer a reading over the course of the event.  

Emmaus Experience at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church.

Emmaus Experience at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church.

We didn’t know if this would work - if others would even want to bring their voices into such a large scale event. We discovered again that the creative process is universal. Not only did people participate, they wrote group poems that were presented during the course of the event.  

A participate in the workshop reading his groups poem.

A participate in the workshop reading his groups poem.

The poems were then compiled into parts of the liturgy for the Sunday morning worship service.   This was one of the largest questions that we started with: can the creative process impact and strengthen the Sunday worship service? In this recent event, we found that it could. 

What’s Next? 

-EMMAUS Album will be released in February, 2016 

-Creative Open Spaces Continue every other Monday // Beginning again on January 25

-Cascadia Worship & Arts Conference – February 19-20, 2016 - Register for our workshop! 

-Two Events and Workshops upcoming in early 2016 

-We are looking for people to write for our blog! If you are interested, let us know!!