August 9, 2019
The Beginnings of a Liturgical Guild
A group in our church has recently formed that is focused on engaging in a variety of craft projects. Some of these projects will be directed toward making items that will be donated to others, and some will be part of a longer-term process of holding a craft faire to sell items to the larger community and thereby raise funds for the church.
The current project that these folks, women and men, are engaged in, is the creation of small bears that will be donated to a cardiac unit at a hospital. These crafters have cut out the patterns, sewn the two pieces together, and stuffed as many bears as they could before running out of the stuffing material. They will convene again soon to finish the stuffing, sew the final few stiches, and add ribbons to the bears.
It was amazing for me to stand back and watch these people work. There were about seventeen of them busily engaged in this project so as to offer a gift to others. And, equally amazing, and gratifying, is that I have had nothing to do with the creation of this group other than to coordinate calendaring with them. It is a wonderful sight.
Now, I also know that sometimes people will pass off such craft-related ventures as just a throw-back to former times when churches, and especially the women in the churches, did this on a regular basis. Yet, this is creativity in action. This is group building. This is an intergenerational activity, at least in this case in this church.
And what excites me further is that I have before me the possibility of developing some kind of liturgical guild, a group of people who can unite in a vision to create visual elements for our worship space. These are people with the skills to create banners, or other artistic creations, that can become a part of the worship space. These are people who obviously enjoy creating something for which they have a specific vision.
As I continue to re-read Nancy Chinn’s book, Spaces for Spirit: Adorning the Church, which I have referenced before, I am reminded of the intentional process that one needs to go through in organizing such an arts-focused group. I will be attentive to that process, but I am anxious to explore the ways in which this group, or at least some of the members of this craft group, can expand the use of their talents in celebration of the church’s worship gatherings.
August 2, 2019
Photography is an artform that is at once as much a craft as any other art medium, and yet at the same time is something that is accessible to just about anyone. While we can certainly discern the difference between a professional photograph, one which the artist may have spent hours preparing for and waiting for, and the quick shots that many of us take when we see something of beauty or interest, still, there is a “canvas” here that is more approachable for people than are many other artforms.
There are many photographers of great repute. Those who are among my favorites are Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter and Annie Leibovitz. Yet, amateur photographers can also become quite accomplished. My wife’s grandfather was a photographer, among his may other interests and abilities. He was, by profession, a surgeon, but it is obvious to me that photography was a great source of creativity and enjoyment for him. He experimented with arranging subjects to get the look that he wanted, he once used salt to build a scene that looked like a winter landscape, and he printed in black and white, sepia and color. Although he was an amateur photographer, he has three or four photographs in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian. This is a medium that is approachable and through which both professionals and amateurs can find great satisfaction.
I am adding an element to this website. I am going to occasionally post a photograph and offer a reflection upon it. This will not be on a weekly basis like my blog post, but two or three times a month, unless I happen to be particularly inspired and will then perhaps post something more often. I am in no way imagining that these photographs will be considered great art. On the contrary, many of them are apt to be quite mundane, with glimpses into the everyday experiences of life. These are meant to offer a source for reflection, using the medium of photography to open the door to those thoughts.
I have posted the first of these. As always, I invite your thoughts about anything that I post. Have a great week.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.