2021 Review Creative Worship Fresh Expressions

A Typical 3 Months

What does a typical 3 Months in Quartz look like?

This is a bit like asking what typical weather is like in a Scottish day. There will be a recognisable constant of four seasons, and at certain times of the year it is more probable that one will dominate the others. It is quite likely that all four will be experienced in one day though, and it is useful to learn to sunbathe with a wooly hat on.

Likewise, Quartz aims to develop spiritual literacy both within and beyond the St Johns community. It does this through using the arts to help people identify, explore and express spirituality. There is a recognisable consistency to this.

Working like a lead artist in a collaberative enterprise, I involve and support a loose collective of people in doing this together through projects and events – as well as developing my own practice through physical installations, experiental opportunities, and things like this website.

The substance of this adapts with context, follows up leads and opportunties, and also seeks to be ‘present’ in the community to generate opportunities that can be followed up. There is no blueprint, and although there is a Way, the path is discovered and made through walking.

The first phase of the project involved activities such as leading assemblies and RMPE classes in five local schools, attending a youthwork networking meeting, assisting with planning and leading at an experimental service in St Johns. We also put on larger scale multi media experiences. As Quartz we also developed ways of interacting at festivals through the use of things like labyrinths and weaving. Through this we helped people on the street to visualise #SensingSpirituality. In the background time was also set aside for mentoring a handful of young artists and providing hospitality for a student through an international ecumenical arrangement.

The context for this was found in long term background work with the D&G education commitee, and a national review of Religious Observance (RO) provision by the Scottish Government. St Johns was therefore placed to assist in the development and roll out of policy as well as provide continuous professional development training for staff. The support of a team within St John’s, allowed us to experiment with creative worship combining contemporary culture, inherited arts, and the church tradition handed down to us in ways which involved all ages. A long term professional engagement as Wordsmithcrafts with the living history and heritage sectors, provided a summer of events for the young artists to test their skills at. There is also a thriving Arts and Crafts sector in D&G and Dumfries hosts the largest free youth festival in Scotland. When opportunities arose to participate, we experimented. We used the framework for Time for Reflection within schools to develop guidelines for #SensingSpirituality activities in the wider community in ways which encouraged participation by people of all faiths and none without compromising their integrity.

The overall shape of activity was also influenced by the academic and Church calendars. This led to increased Quartz activity during school terms, and left room for the other Wordsmithcrafts activities not directly related to St Johns during the summer.

The previous post has a more practical description of what all of this looked like! And if this account is mostly of the first phase of the project there are probably three more recognisable phases to follow as the context and people involved changed.

If you were part of this stage, please use the comments option below to add your memories!

0 replies on “A Typical 3 Months”

I have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in some of the Quartz both within and out with St John’s. I have found some challenging and always interesting. Learned a lot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.