The Formation of A Sanctified Art Creative Team
I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.
Have you ever seen someone with a good idea? Their thoughts twirl through their mind like a four-year-old ballerina—fearless, shameless, and non-stop.
That’s how it all happened for me, for us.
Lisle Gwynn Garrity, the founder of A Sanctified Art, and one of my dear friends, invited me to coffee one afternoon in September to discuss a dream she had (because all dreams are enriched by the low hum of a coffee shop and caffeine!).
We sat together at a small urban table by the window, the leaves shuffling down the sidewalk like a fall parade led by the wind. And for two hours my hands stayed clasped around my mug, while Lisle’s hands moving freely through the space—painting pictures in my mind and sketches in her notebook—of this idea she could not name.
We talked about art, about the Spirit, about the church and what She needs. We talked about her training and my lack thereof. We talked about caffeine and seminary courses, and women in ministry. And all along, she was twirling.
I left the coffee shop that day still unable to name exactly what the Spirit was doing, but aware that Lisle had an idea, that the Spirit was dancing, and that Lisle’s stage would be a canvas.
Fast forward eight months and here we are. My how time flies. My, my, how the Spirit moves.
A Sanctified Art, serving as a collaborative team of individuals each packing her own artistic lens, was a pipe dream that Lisle nurtured. She invited the four of us together:
Hannah Garrity—a creative mother with hands that know paint as well as paper;
Lauren Wright Pittman—a painter with fingers trained in graphic design, eyes trained in beauty and grace;
Lisle—a visionary dreaming in color; and
me—the untrained, self-taught craftivist with a deep longing for creativity in worship.
The four of us all met for the first time via skype one brisk afternoon in January, just four months after that first coffee date with Lisle. Together we went around the table and told stories of needing movement in church, of this passionate desire to worship our creative God with the gift of creativity, and our out-of-the-box dreams we could not contain. We instantly bonded over this spiritual longing for artistic expression in worship, and from there, in just a matter of weeks, the Pentecost bundle happened.
Those few weeks working together on the Pentecost bundle were a blur. As I think back to the late nights editing videos, reading the scripture together over and over, handpicking words for liturgy, and watching our designs come to life, the only image I can see is the Spirit pouring down on us like a great flood. I neglected my school work, and we all neglected sleep, but how can you sleep when your heart is on fire? For the first time in a while, I knew with confidence that the Spirit was moving, and when that kind of clarity hits, all you can do is sing, or paint, or run without ceasing.
Every once in a while someone would look at another and say, “What if no one else feels this void like we do? What if this gift we are trying to craft is not needed?” We would fall quiet until someone would say, “It’s possible. However, I have a hunch that if the Spirit if moving in us, the Spirit is moving in others too.” So we would buckle down, keep working, and hope that maybe what we had to offer could indeed be of service to the tired overworked pastors in the world—to the pastors who, like me, are not trained in any professional art skill, but maybe see that the more ways we have to worship God, the more doors we open to being changed.
I still cannot believe that what was once a daydream in a coffee shop by the window is now a living, breathing ministry practice. To our great amazement, so many of you invested in the Pentecost resources we designed than we ever expected, blowing us away with every investment. However, what I can believe is that the Spirit is moving, for when does She ever truly leave us alone?
In the months to come, A Sanctified Art will continue dreaming, aiming to provide resources to help clergy do their job to the best of their abilities. In the years to come, the church will continue changing. And, as both of these evolving realities take place, I hope that those of you reading this will continue speaking up, telling us what you need, and allowing the Spirit to use all of us, together, to worship our Creative God.
It all started out as a twirling idea in a coffee shop—fearless, shameless, and non-stop.
It turned into a hope, a belief, a name, and then, finally, a prayer.
Thanks be to God for a Spirit that pours down on us like Pentecost, and rolls through our hearts like a good idea rolls through our minds. May it never stop.
Psssst. Want to share some of your own twirling ideas with us? If you are a clergy or layperson active in ministry, we'd love to hear about how we can best serve you through our creative resources. Here's a quick survey where you can offer us some of your thoughts. It's only 3 questions. 30 seconds of your time will help us keep twirling along...Thanks!