I refer to most things that go on at the Dwelling Place (heck, the Dwelling Place itself) as an ongoing experiment. This is because when it comes to starting a ministry or running with an idea, well, you can’t be afraid to fail. Helping to run the “Big Kids Place” inspired me to tweak a few things about Creative Space.* Now, Creative Space was tweaked last year to incorporate our work with some of the homeless teenagers from Outreach Inc. This summer, since my kids will be home for the summer, and likely driving me nuts (and I mean that in the most deeply spiritual sense), I was trying to figure out what we could do to stretch ourselves creatively and occupy our time. But let me back up.

The Sunday after Easter, instead of having the kids back in our classroom, I had them stay in with the rest of the congregation, in the back. He Who Would Be Head Pastor was doing a sermon examining how the Resurrection changes everything in our lives. I was having the kids draw pictures to describe what the Resurrection means to them. I was so impressed with what they came up with (and what parts of the Resurrection story captured their imagination – without realizing it, they essentially covered all of the stations of the cross). I then spread the pictures along the communion table so that the congregation could have images to think about as they took Communion. With that, I had my inspiration for Creative Space summers.

Basically, we’d have a series of structured projects:

-Collage Art: the kids will interpret themselves through pop culture, using magazines and newspapers to cut out images.

-Art Journal: this is a four week project where they will craft their own journal. This will be a mix of crafts and words as they will take turns describing: 1) themselves 2) their friends 3) their family 4) their beliefs

-StoryTeller Sculptures: will be a two week project where we will sculpt the main story teller in our lives. We will then write a story that the storyteller has told us as well as a story about the story teller.

-Photography week: I’m letting the kids loose with cameras.

-Scrapbook week: we’ll be scrapbooking the images captured the previous week.

-Comic Book weeks: we will be telling a story using pictures (and some of the photos).

I was definitely not encouraged to pursue this by my son’s suddenly taking the arts seriously (and having a piece displayed at his school). On the positive side, this will double as a pilot project for a larger arts ministry that a few of us around the city are working on. And I’m following my own advice: I might as well keep experimenting … my dating life alone inured me to the prospect of failure.

*Not that writers are superstitious or anything, but all of the stories except one that I’ve written at Creative Space have sold. And my friend and I just finished the first draft of our movie script. So as far as getting actually projects completed, I’d consider that part of the experiment a success.

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