Retreat for ministers to artists: 2013 udpate

It gives me great pleasure to announce our 2013 retreat speakers. Isaac Wardell, captain of the impressive Bifrost Arts effort, will lead our worship and introduce us to some creative congregational singing, while James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, will present two talks related to the imagination. As I mentioned to him in a recent email, my goal over the next three years at the Laity Lodge is, God-willing, to investigate three constituent features of an artist's calling: the caretakership of the imagination, the stewardship of the affections, and the service to sensory-material reality. This retreat will focus on the first feature, and while Jamie will consider it from philosophical and likely literary perspectives with a view to the marketplace, I'll offer a talk on the topic specifically geared to the ecclesial context.

It goes without saying that I feel very lucky to be able to partner with Laity Lodge on these retreats. I also feel lucky to grow and to learn with a group of folks that come from all professions and engagements with artists, from full-time pastors to directors of arts centers to art educators to "regular" lay persons--a humble but infinitely interesting bunch of people, all of whom share a common love of artists and a desire to disciple them well.

To see what we've done in previous years, please go here (2010), here (2011), here and here. Here are some of the things that Charlie Peacock and Sandra Organ-Solis shared at last year's retreat.

If you'd like to register for the retreat, please go here and scroll down till you get to March 7-10, 2013.

As Jamie Smith describes his move from Loyola Marymount University in California to Grand Rapids in the early 2000s, he took up "a position as Professor of Philosophy here at Calvin College where I also teach in the Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies and serve as a Research Fellow of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. I also occasionally teach in the PhD program at Calvin Theological Seminary and have been a visting professor at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and Regent College in Vancouver, BC. We live in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, a wonderfully diverse, mixed-use older neighborhood in the core city. Our family now attends Neland Ave. Christian Reformed Church. We enjoy gardening, cooking, and wine with friends. And at the end of the day, I'm happy to put Derrida and Foucault on the shelf at the office and curl up at home with a book of poems by Donald Hall or a novel by Thomas Wolfe."

Isaac Wardell for his part "has been involved in church music and worship since very early childhood, singing in church pageants and performing sacred music with the Memphis Boys Choir. He began leading worship on a regular basis in high school, and went on to study music at Covenant College. Before coming to Trinity Presbyterian Church, in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2009, Isaac worked as director of music at churches in Tennessee, Georgia and New York. Isaac also works as the director of Bifrost Arts. He and his wife Megan have a daughter. They live in the City Parish." And he's a red-head, which automatically makes him cool. And he once shared worship-leading duties with David Crowder and Israel Houghton, which I was fortunate to witness, and it will probably count as one of the musical worship highlights of the decade for me.

More details on both our speakers and on the retreat itself coming soon. Please pass word along to anyone you think might be interested in joining this wonderful gathering along the Frio River.


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