Lately, I’ve posted a few things here and on Facebook about Crafty Pastor. I even set up a Crafty Pastor page on FB. This, plus the fact that Crafty Pastor is in full swing right now and is high on my list of things I talk about, has led to several questions. So, I thought it might not be a bad idea to give a little bit of history and purpose to all this Craftiness.
Sometime back, I assisted with a retreat focused on different kinds of prayer. My portion was to cover art, craft and spirituality; the idea that there is prayer in the act of creating something. . I crammed a whole lot of craftyness into a brief period of time for the retreatants but they seemed to love it! Some of the ladies from my congregation were at this retreat and when we returned home, they wanted to do this again. I tried several different titles, one of which was just Art, Craft, Spirituality. But frankly that’s pretty awkward to say! One of the members came up with the idea Crafty Pastor and it has stuck.
So each week during the summer months we have Crafty Pastor night at the church. We ask that people bring about $5 to cover the cost of supplies and I bring all of the crafty stuff I have from home, including papers, paints, pens, brushes, scissors of different kinds, stickers, ribbons, beading and jewelery making supplies, clay, ornaments and decorations of all kinds shapes and sizes. We’ve done such things as creating a set of prayer beads with polymer clay and other items, prayer boxes intended to be given away to either people you know or total strangers, collages based on scripture or hymns or words that have particular significance to your faith life, painting wooden or ceramic crosses, and other such things.
Last year I convinced a member of the congregation who is a retired art professor from the local college to teach two classes. The first–calligraphy–was perhaps the most popular of all. It wasn’t just how to write pretty letters, though, it was also about the art of writing and the artfulness of words. The second–watercolor–was a very basic introduction to watercolors. We used an image of an icon of St Michael transferred to watercolor paper. While certainly not a class in iconography, it was still a really great experience to paint this image in watercolor.
This year our summer Project Connect intern taught about labyrinths and we made personal labyrinths out of fabric, paint and assorted other things. I’m hoping to continue with this project next year, but continue to add different things as I come up with the ideas and as I run into people who have gifts for this sort of thing!
These are some images from different Crafty Pastors. It may take a moment to load, but they are lovely.
Adults forget to play and since there is a time to play and a time to not play, I think we sometimes end up ‘playing’ when it might be best if we didn’t. So taking intentional time to play, be creative, remove some of the typical qualifications for “perfect” from our lives for just a bit within this context can be a really great thing. For the Christian, the creative act is an offering to God just as the excercise of any of the gifts given to us by God are an offering. Musicians and vocalists who create music in our worship are doing so both as a frame and guide for the gathered assembly to worship and as an offering of the gifts given them by God. They are not somehow outside of worship (or shouldn’t be anyway) providing a performance or liturgical frame for the rest of us. Most church musicians will say that participating in music is a part of how they worship God. This is similar to what I’m aiming to give here. It is not really feasible (or appropriate) to put Crafty Pastor activities into a Sunday Worship setting, but we worship, communicate and relate with God outside of Sunday worship, too. Crafty Pastor seeks to be intentional time, space and supplies for that offering… that spiritual discipline… that time in prayer with God. Ultimately, it is also my hope that those who participate in Crafty Pastor will begin to see the ways in which God is present, active and engaging them in their lives and have that ability to see this grow until it fills every thing they do.