The Banyule Network celebrated the 40th anniversary of the inauguration of the Uniting Church by holding an art and craft show at Scots Church in Heidelberg. This may seem to be a strange event for such an occasion but the organisers thought it gave expression to a number of key convictions of the UCA.
A dazzling array of quilts laid across all the pews of the church was awe-inspiring in colour and design. This beautiful display was arranged beneath the sanctuary arch which proclaimed ‘Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’. It was a clear affirmation that the God of Christian faith is a God who creates and delights in beauty.
The extraordinary giftedness of ordinary people who make up the membership of the church in the Banyule Network was on display. Arts and crafts created by members of the congregation included hand-painted porcelain, wood and leather work, needlework of all kinds and even a three-and-a-half metre Heron Class cedar sailing dinghy in the church’s drop-in centre. There was also a demonstration of the art of poetry through a performance by ‘Bloomin Bards’, a local poetry writing and reading group.
The art show was officially opened by Christina Rowntree, the artful faith coordinator at the Centre for Theology and Ministry.
In her opening remarks, while marvelling at the diversity of the art and craft displayed, Ms Rowntree said, “We stitch together relationships over time, threads connecting us to family, friends and the faith community.
With wood and leather, metal and glass we mould, shape and form our faith communities. We attend to the materiality of our sacred spaces, bringing our best craft to enlivening worship spaces.
“And so this exhibition acknowledges our church heritage… Here is a metaphor for us to wonder… How might we bring our imaginations, our art and our skills to join the work of God’s Spirit at work transforming the church?”
Tribute was paid to Barb Brook, the Scots drop-in coordinator, and her team of helpers for taking on the suggestion of an art exhibition and turning it into an inspiring reality.