One very important community for me is within the church. Several years ago as I sat in worship I thought about how art is used in churches. It seemed to be all visual, if there even was any art, and the design and implementation was relegated to the "Artists". That bothered me and I began to think how art could be more than just something we look at while sitting in the pews. So I developed what I call "Participatory Art in Worship". At the church where I was a member at the time, the minister, music director, and myself formed a worship team. Together we led the worship attendees through a new creative involvement. It would be too lengthy to go into details in this post of the many installations we led but you can read more about them if you click on the side label Ecclesiastical Installations. Here is one link but there are several others, http://studiojottings.blogspot.com/2010/03/ecclesiastical-installation.html. From these posts you can get an idea of how this art form developed over several years.
So that leads me to today and the work we are doing at Pilgrim Church in Duxbury, MA. Advent is a time of preparation. Over the four weeks of Advent to help us prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child we are using participatory art as a way to "Prepare the Way for Hope, Peace, Joy and Love" in our lives and the world. We are weaving (get the connection?!) a journey through word, thought, music, and art.
The first Sunday in Advent was Sunday, November 30. The theme for our Advent Journey is "Prepare the Way of the Lord". During the service, we reflected on where we see signs of HOPE as we prepare the way for hope in our lives and the world. In preparation of the Christ Child's arrival we are building a manger as the centerpiece of our installation. Each person in worship was asked to write their reflective word or phrase on a paper log which later we added to the manger. The children during the Children's Time brought driftwood (since Duxbury is an ocean town) as a symbol of building the manger.
After worship during the coffee hour our paper logs were added to the manger frame. These written reflective thoughts are prayers which are offered as part of the manger. All were welcome to help attach the logs and the driftwood to the manger frame.
Each week in Advent we will add to the installation as we think about preparing the way for Peace, Joy, and Love. The completion of the installation will be Christmas Eve. I'll share pictures of the process and each week's installation. Keep checking back to my blog and follow along on your own journey of preparation. Better yet, if you live near Duxbury, MA come join us! http://pilgrimchurchofduxbury.org