LOVE DEMANDS EXPRESSION THROUGH ARTS
Arguably, all arts of any form originally began in connection with some form of worship. At Union Church Berea we believe that love demands that we recover the place of arts in worship and also work to create a space that will be welcoming and spiritually enriching to all kinds of people. It could be said that the artists of a society embody that society’s emotional expressions. Certainly, in the wider society of today, arts and artists are not finding the support and welcome that they need to thrive, and it is our belief here that if arts and artists don’t thrive, none of us can thrive. We know that all of us benefit as the arts enrich our experience of God’s word, God’s call, and God’s vision.
We take extra time and effort to make all forms of art a part of not only our worship services, but a part of our lives. If you are an artist, we welcome you! If you are a person who loves art, we welcome you! And if you would like to participate in any of the categories below, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
The church itself is something of an art gallery. We have paintings, drawings, and photography on display throughout its rooms. The Worship Team sometimes borrows one of these pieces in a given week to use as a centerpiece of one of the Embodied Prayer stations or perhaps as an altar display. On the landing of the main staircase leading down to the Community Room, we have created a changing exhibit that often has some theme or honors a particular artist. We are sometimes given a special piece of art done just for us by an artist who wishes to show gratitude to God for the love they found here.
Music is a large part of most worship services everywhere, and Union Church is no exception. You can enjoy our music as a listener, or participate in our chancel choir, handbell choir, or various other musical groups–or you can be a soloist. Learn all about our music program here.
Sacred dance is not as commonly a part of our services, but we do have liturgical dance offerings at various special seasons of the year, and also sometimes offer seminars on movement prayer, yoga, etc. We are open to more ways of sharing our spiritual/emotional selves through dance.
We have an inside joke that Rev. Kent could start his own fabric store. There is a closet at Union Church from which the worship team can bring yards and yards of cloth of any color or style desired to help create the sacred space we are seeking to enrich a particular theme or Bible passage. Much of this is “just cloth” that becomes an item of prayer when thoughtfully displayed, but much of it is special, from some particular part of the world, or made by a particular community. Beyond that, we have astonishing, intricate quilts, embroidered pieces, felt creations, banners, and other fabric arts that bring a special attitude or mood to many different services. For some of us who have been here many years, particular pieces displayed at particular times of the year bring deep emotions, as well as reminding us of the heart and hands that designed and made them.
We have clay sculptures and wood carvings, often made by people we know and love, also throughout the church. This kind of art has held the emotions and values of a community for centuries and millennia, and our pieces are no exception.
St John’s Bible
In 1998, St John’s Abbey and University commissioned the first hand-lettered, hand-illuminated manuscript of the Bible in over 500 years. Only 299 copies of the original were made, and Berea College is incredibly honored to own one of those. Union Church members have been privileged to be able to see some of the volumes, with a gloved person turning the pages. It is an incredible work of sacred art and faith.
Union Church then purchased one of the smaller reproductions, and we use it on a regular basis in our liturgy and sanctuary art.