the creative year
Reviewer: Revd Erica Bebb; Associate Minister Christ Church, Clifton; Pastor for the Arts Christ Church and the Diocese of Bristol.
Ecumenism, the creative arts and the Church
Erica comments on the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese of Bristol in 2014:
"We believe the longer term impact of his visit will centre around the blessing of ecumenism, the priority of prayer vigil and the efficacy of the creative arts in the ministry and mission of God"
The above reflections conclude Erica's general comments on a specific visit in the Archbishop's Bristol itinerary. View the full text here...
"The Creative Year highlights the arts as language – a mode of communication that impacts on the emotional self through the use of symbols, context and aesthetic 'grammar'. The book is a joy and shows in detail how, through the medium of art, our personal selves and individual narratives connect with our corporate human narrative. Inset into the rhythms of the church year, the book is a meeting place of many voices and perspectives, in which the format gives each contributor the floor to express something of his or her unique interests, concerns and talents, and in which we see the creative process in action at close quarters.
I found it fascinating, for instance, to read about the physicality of materials and the way ideas are embodied in textures, colours, sounds and words (for example), and equally interesting to read about the specific material needs of an exhibition, concert or performance – secular or ecclesial. So it is instructive to read how all these things combine with artists' individual contexts and visions to inform their working methods and the creation of new pieces or enterprises. The book took me on a detail-rich journey of discovery with Jane (whom I think of as the nearest thing to a pure artist that I know – like crystal clear water) exploring materials, themes and aesthetics. I found her an engaging and interesting guide with a fine feeling for history and the historical contexts of her subject, which is evident from the moment you open the book.
The book also has a keen eye for local community, and draws much from community groups. Here the same observations of detail apply. We learn, for instance, what is important to each group through individual voices – schoolchildren and their teachers, playscheme organisers, an interfaith group, the local art trail. I was inspired by seeing the amount and variety of children's work, the evidence of strong working relationships, and the imaginative way in which creativity has been linked with liturgy. There is evidence of much thought and research – on the part of a lay writer – into liturgy and the church's seasonal calendar, not least in the way that its festivals and commemorations are vividly brought to life. Above all, I find The Creative Year gives access to the Gospel in thought-provoking, restorative and non-confrontational ways – a book full of possibilities, bursting with goodness, originality, richness of detail, and with a wealth of ideas and high quality imagery. It is an amazing resource: every church in the Diocese should have a copy, though I also see it as providing a resource for church communities across the country and, indeed, for anyone interested in how art and faith co-exist on the ground today since it bridges faith-based and secular worlds.”