By Megan Graham
How often do we take time to appreciate our unique and wondrous ability to create something new? Do we value all the steps along the way – the first glimmer of an idea, the way it comes together in our minds and the final result?
The process of piecing, shaping, designing or gluing something new into existence is an exciting one, particularly for younger members of our community just becoming aware of their creative potential.
In August last year, a group of parents joined their children in making a water feature to mark the centenary of Highfield Road Uniting Church.
Twenty four young artists-in-the-making designed and decorated the water feature with mosaic tiles featuring baptismal images and other Christian symbols.
Once each child had decided what they wanted to make, they were taught how to realise their imagined designs, including the process of cutting glass. The finished tiles were then stuck onto the bowl of the water feature.
The church’s minister, Rev Peter Gador-Whyte, originally came up with the idea for the project which was overseen by artist Sioux Dollman.
A barbecue was shared amongst those in attendance before Ms Dollman gave an introductory talk on the planned workshop – which was a special way to remember and celebrate the involvement of children in Highfield Road UC’s 100 year history.
“Every time these kids come to the Highfield Road Uniting Church now they walk past the water feature and admire their work, telling others: ‘I did that section!’
“It’s a powerful statement about how our Church values children, and appreciates the way they enrich the life of the whole community,” Mr Gador-Whyte said.
“Their art has been honoured in a solid and enduring way that will ensure they will be seen and admired by many people involved in the church in future.”
Sometimes in church settings the contribution of children – to debates, worship and decision-making – are overlooked or deemed irrelevant. Too often, kids are sidelined as being a ‘cute’ addition to church activities and little more. Events like these take seriously the importance of children in our congregations and the ways they can enrich our faith communities if we let them.
The children themselves also learn a valuable lesson in the process – that they can imagine something, put their mind to making it and then bring it to life in a way that is meaningful. It says their efforts to express themselves have merit.
It also teaches young people the life-affirming truth that everybody has the power to create and contribute – we needn’t be restricted to being passive recipients of what life throws us; we can be proactive in making good things happen. A powerful message, indeed.
For more information on Mission and Service funding please visit: www.victas.uca.org.au/givingisliving