In her editorial for issue six of ArtServe magazine, Richenda Milton-Daws explained what drew her to ArtServe and how she now sees its role.
‘Are you passionate about the creative arts? Do you want to explore how they can be used in worship?‘ Reading that in an advertisement for potential trustees was what prompted me to put myself forward. Involvement with ArtServe, I thought, would be a way to bring ‘the arts’ into corporate acts of worship. Wouldn't it?
At the start I thought it would be about using my creative gifts – and my gifts of appreciation – in a church setting. But I was wrong. Actually it is first and foremost about worship. Worship is itself a form of creativity – an authentic response to God the Creator, the One who created us. Even corporate worship involves an individual flame in the heart of each person making up the congregation. And when we worship with our whole heart, of course we want to bring the best that we are to that – the love and the talents that were given to us by God in the first place. All good things come from God, and we desire to acknowledge these gifts in God’s service.
So ArtServe is not primarily an organisation that exists to satisfy its members, but rather one whose members share aims and activities. It becomes a community, whose members work together to use the generous range of artistic talent God has given us so that we may serve each other and worshipping people everywhere.
Over these past three years I have come to understand that ArtServe Creative worship or worshipful creativity? does much more than ‘support the use of creative arts in worship’. Primarily, it supports worship – worship that is individual or corporate, and transforming in its creativity. This is demonstrated most powerfully when we come together – as at Swanwick in October – supporting, sharing with and encouraging each other to worship wholeheartedly the God who created us. I hope and pray that in time ArtServe membership will be sufficiently strong and widespread to enable groups to meet in their local areas, with some degree of regularity, so we can pray together, support and encourage each other, and find ways of drawing our wider communities creatively to God.