Monday, October 3, 2011

A Busy September!

I've been back at home for about a week, after having been out out of town for two weeks in September.  I wanted to give a report on what I've been doing, since all of it related to arts and missions.

I spent Sept. 6-10 in the U.K. at the Arts in Mission 2011: Training for Cross-Cultural Ministry conference at All Nations Christian College (I arrived a day late).  The conference was sponsored by All Nations, the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE), SIL International, and the Mission Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).  Approximately 60 arts advocates and practitioners from more than 20 nations attended.  The main goal of the conference was to receive training through (and provide feedback on) an EthnoArts Field Manual (the curriculum for AiM 2011).  This manual will serve as a practical guide for arts workers, church planters, and other missionaries as they help communities draw on their artistic resources to respond to spiritual, social, and physical needs.

It was great being around so many different kinds of artists (visual, musicians, drama, etc.), all of whom are currently using the arts in some aspect within missions, whether far or near.  During the conference each day we worked through the contents of the manual and applied it to the arts and culture of the Sakha people of Siberia, where AiM leaders Bill and Robin Harris had worked from 1994 to 2004.   The focus of these explorations was to examine Ohuokhai (round dance) of the Sakha people, and how this cultural expression could be used both in the life of the local church, as well as helping to preserve for all Sakha people.  We even broke into groups and wrote lyrics for our own Ohuokhai.

Later in the conference we again broke into small groups and focused on one specific art form, and tried to apply the steps from the manual for examining that art form.  I, of course, was in the visual arts group, where we looked at henna as an art form and an expression of the Gospel.  You can see some of the results of that session here, here and here.

Then from Sept. 19-24 I got to teach at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in Dallas, TX.  I taught a one-week visual arts "module" for a course called Expressive Form Analysis.  The course essentially teaches the EthnoArts Field Manual, and is divided into various 1-2 week modules, each of which focuses on one art form and how to analyze it in another culture.  I thoroughly loved teaching this module, as I got to talk a lot about nonwestern visual art.  And, of course, there was henna again!


  1. Great to hear about all that.
    Any way to know more about the art in mission

  2. The manual is due to be published by the end of next year as a part of a larger missions handbook called Worship and Mission for the Global Church: An Ethnodoxology Handbook, to be published by William Carey Library. Once I hear that it's printed and available in 2012, I'll post a link.