Sunday, April 23, 2006

alt.worship and mission

maryresize.jpg I don’t think you can separate worship and community and mission. Perhaps it’s because I’m a realist and when I see someone come to faith, I suspect that the two of us will want to worship together; ie worship and community and mission. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Baptist and when I think church I think gathered and community; ie worship and community and mission. Perhaps it’s because I believe in the Trinity, that God is found in relationships, that this Triune God so loved that world that God opened Godself to gather the world in relationship; ie worship and community and mission.

All of this by way of introduction to what I think is a great example of worship and community and mission. It comes via Jo Wall; who blogs here. They took their worship, their Easter art. They went to local shops in their community and asked them to host their art, and thus created a Easter Art Hunt that led back to the church, where they had turned the church into an Art Gallery for a week. It sounded a great example of worship and community and mission, so I interviewed Jo this week.

Jo, it sounds great. Tell me more. Each Art spot had an art piece connected to the theme of Easter and what it means to Kiwis. So in the local travel shop (Holiday Shoppe) we had a kiwi beach scene. In the library (where we have our annual Christmas memorial tree) we had a scrapbook grief meditation. In local supermarket (New World) we had “Easter in Godzone” which was a painting taken from the Baptist Maori ministries kowhaiwhai. The other spots had Easter “cross” type art pieces in different mediums and Fragments of Grace had a small statue of Mary in mid flight in front of a series of paintings of the empty tomb.

At the Gallery (back at church) we had a large Narnia display complete with 20 live trees and a wardrobe to go through. Together with more art works including an Easter DIY scene “Dad I have finished the work you gave me to do.”

So tell us about the Easter Art Hunt part of the project. Well, it included a booklet of activities for kids. Find the card with Easter bunny on it for preschoolers. For older children there was a trail of activities based around John 3:16 including drawing around their hand and drawing their faces on posters. If they wanted to come on to the Gallery there was an easter egg waiting. We invited the children from local schools to provide some of the art work by running a colouring competition.

Now on your blog, you mentioned how the out of bounds church book helped shape what you did? I’m curious as to how? I like the metaphor of spiritual tourists (from Postcard 5 in the out of bounds church book) and wanted to apply that to everyday life in the community of Kaiapoi. Trusting that God has people in our community on a journey we hoped to put things in their everyday path that they would stumble upon and ponder what Easter is all about. The Gallery (back at the church) was open all week and follows the idea of a “navigable space” (discussed again in Postcard 5 of the book). There were interactive exhibits including a place to wash your hands and to scrub dirt from the world. There were songs to listen to on a listening tree and background music that wasn’t churchy. I think it was in your book (again Postcard 5) that I read about a church that rented a shop and had an image of Jesus and a place to wash your hands.

When we started planning our Easter project we looked for a shop to rent to set up a small gallery. We were’’t able to rent any of the empty shops in Kaiapoi so the plan evolved into using a small space in various shops. We hoped this in fact increased the “stumble upon” factor. The gallery was an attempt at a cross between a peg community and an Easter festival.

What other influences shaped it? The planning started Easter 2005 when I walked into our church and saw one of our Easter art pieces. I wanted to drag it out into the streets so we could share it with the community. Each Easter for the last few year the people at KBC have contributed Easter themed art to our Easter celebrations. Josephine Mallinson who had made the piece I saw in 2005 this year did the Easter DIY piece, which provoked much discussion. I have greatly appreciated Opawa’s Easter Journey over the last few years too and wanted to do something that reflected the interactivity of that and similar events. Spreydon’s Christmas grotto was also an influence with the progression from Santa to Christ’s birth as a journey for people.

In reflection, what pleased you about the Easter Egg Hunt? The willingness of the shops to be involved was great. Some we had relationship with and others we just approached. No one said no and we didn’t have enough art pieces for all the shops we could have used. The effect for the shops was good too as Kaiapoi’s layout makes lack of foot traffic an issue and there were reports of new customers. A blessing both ways.

I was very encouraged by the team that gathered to put together the project. Lots of our church community was involved and many people took up their part and exceeded my dreams with their results.

We told the Easter story and our stories well and for an inaugural project we were thrilled with how it looked. We don’t know what seeds were planted but we could see growth in some visitors to the gallery.

More about Jo’s community here.
More photos of the Easter Art Hunt here.
Out of bounds book here;
Out of bounds book blog here;
More on spiritual tourism here.

Posted by steve at 07:02 PM


  1. Great story Steve (T) and Jo. Thanks for sharing it.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — April 24, 2006 @ 9:49 am

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Steve – its a long time since I have done any sort of interview. Having a good holiday now …

    Comment by Jo Wall — April 27, 2006 @ 9:46 am

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