Spiritual Care for the Creative and Fashion communities
Caring for Artists, Filmmakers, Photographers, Stylists, Editors, Art Directors, Designers, Publicists, Painters, Gallery Owners… whatever their job of vocation might be… caring for those in this community is my great calling. It is my joy to hold space for creative folks as they process their lives and spiritual journeys. Often, these folks are not connected to traditional faith communities, but I have the great honour of walking alongside them as they explore the “sacramentality” of their world. Together, we navigate their healing from or toward Church, and in which ways they wish to mark their life seasons and events. Mostly, I listen to their stories, and provide spiritual care.
A good portion of my ministry is about building bridges between the creative community and the Church. I have often found that Creatives, Artists and those in the Fashion Industry tend to exist on the fringes of faith communities... So my work tends to be about nurturing creatives, and helping clergy to make space in faith communities for genuine creativity and exploration. I am passionate about partnering with churches in this way.
I am also passionate about creating protected spaces for artists to rest, and grow. Having been in residence at several churches and organisations, I understand the importance of a place for creative christians to eat well, share their discouragements, and fill up their energy reserves. I adore the opportunity to provide this kind of healing experience for others. Wherever I am living, whether Paris or Chicago or Traverse City, my home is a space where creatives from around the world can gather to rest, recover, and incubate new ideas. My space also becomes a center for a communities of young, christian creatives to gather several times a week.
Every choice we make is a reflection of our belief or theology. It is my great joy to help churches prayerfully and playfully explore their beliefs in specific regard to the visual and sensory aesthetic of the spaces they inhabit. There are many meaningful ways to design or re-design a space of worship or shared life. Even the scent of a space can have profound impact on our experience within it. Together we can create a meaningful exploratory dialogue around our aesthetic choices.
Workshops + Retreats
I am frequently hosting workshops with churches, schools, and museums; Exploring how we as artists interact with our faith and how our faith is connected to our creative process. I also host workshops on social media, blogging, and Instagram, as these are a few of the ways in which I personally explore and express creatively.
In addition, each year I host a retreat at St. Gregory's Abbey in Michigan. The monks allow us to worship with them as we spend a week hiking, cooking together, critiquing work from the previous year, and worshiping together with fellow Christian Artists.
I am happy to join with your group or church for a retreat or workshop. This can be the best way to explore and inspire new ideas.
Much of my daily schedule is filled with meeting artists and innovators. Together we discuss our beliefs and our creative endeavours. I love hearing about the creative life and process of other artists, especially those on the "fringes" of Christianity. Coffee chats are a great way for me to get to know artists, and to begin to understand their work and how they can connect with the Church (or even outside of the Church). I love helping artists find space within the Church to create, even if they come from different faith traditions.
Creative pursuits are at their core a search for truth and a search for God. As we explore these things our faiths and our world become stronger, more beautiful environments in which to worship.
Commissions are one of my favorite ways to collaborate with a church. Sometimes we start with a specific request such as "We want something visual for our Maundy Thursday Service" or perhaps the church has a verse which carries special importance, and they want it expressed visually. There have been many different starting points for this process, but it always begins with a desire for visual expression, and collaborative discussion.
Commissions are an intimate collaboration between myself and a worshipping community. It is a co-labour, in which I always attempt to include the history, beliefs, and aesthetic theology of the community. Together we craft a vision for a project, and then I get to work.
Past projects have included altar pieces, stations of Advent, murals, sculpture, paintings, and even communion vessels. The completed work, once it has been shared is then available for the congregation organisations repeatedly, loan to other congregations, or even to sell should the need arise.
My most recent project is working with other Queer creatives and theologians to “future” aesthetics for inclusive church. This is a theoretical act of exploring possibilities and dreaming of what we want the future Church to look like. This work is still in its infancy, but I will keep you updated with progress.