Arts Festival boost for younger Christians

Dec 12, 2019 by

A three day Christian Arts Festival has helped over 150 young people to develop their creative skills.

The ground-breaking event was organised by Christians in a country where it is difficult to be open about their faith and which we cannot name, but it proved to be an important development.

Last month’s event looked at the liturgical calendar and sought to build up a resource of sound Christian hymns and art that would ‘encourage and bless’ the Church in this part of the world where resources and access to teaching and ministry are low.

Organisers explained that significant stresses in early life suppressed the creative and critical faculties in young people who ‘regressed to a survival mode’. Further, they said that a culture which only allows art within strict religious limits means that the natural creativity of young people is suppressed.

The opportunity provided by this second event for creativity in a safe Christian community has seen a doubling of numbers since the first festival a year ago.

Participants came from around the country and the organisers said that it is ‘hoped that the encouragement that faith in Jesus gives for creativity will spread widely’.

The festival’s name suggested ‘An Unshakeable and Unmoveable Faith in Christ’. The organisers said it was designed to encourage ‘authentic expressions’ of the culture of this small Christian community who are a ‘tiny, almost neglected and forgotten percentage of the population’.

An observer commented that those attending ‘were far from the victim culture which western society expects of those who experience violence, oppression and denial of many human rights to get sympathy and where possible compensation and money.’

If people can show that what they claim as their rights have been infringed, then they present themselves as victims.

‘We are not victims. We are a people who have God’s grace on our side. We may not have rights, but we have grace and we have His promises. We will stand firm. We will not give up’, said one organiser.

‘The problem with playing the victim is that it denies personal responsibility – your problems are always someone else’s fault and someone else, usually the government must put them right. Victimhood infantilises people. Also it sets up conflict between groups as people claim that they are living in a far worse dustbin than others. Finally it keeps us looking to the past, to wrongs that we claim were done yesterday rather than looking forward to tomorrow.’

A spokesman added that the participants were ‘certainly not victims’, saying that they were confident in their Christian identity and in the value of what they were creating, and looking to the future.

At the end of the evening, when the lights shone on a 15 foot brightly painted cross which was prepared by the participants over the week, the Bishop who preached at the event said to the 150 participants and 400 guests ‘We are more than conquerors, we are overcomers. Our General is the Lamb John saw on the Cross. We have to get behind Him. He was slain, He overcame, We are on the winning side. Go out and bless your communities. Get behind your General: the Lamb of God. Go Serve’

Church of England Newspaper December 12

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