We are excited about the conversations around the Strategic Planning Vision as our members and friends provide feedback on the initiatives presented to the congregation. It has been invaluable to hear the affirmations, questions, and thoughts around some of the ideas presented in the Connection and Creation strategic plan. We hope many more of you have an opportunity to visit with church leadership about the plan.
Some of the feedback is surprise especially about the Connecting to God through the Arts initiatives. These initiatives seek to create connections in the church community and the larger community through the arts and jazz. While many people have not considered the arts as a traditional ministry of the church, it has been historically an integral expression of faith through music, painting, and storytelling.
Robert Wuthnow in his book All in Sync: How Music and Art Are Revitalizing American Religion draws on over four hundred interviews in a national survey to document a strong positive relationship between participation in the arts and interest in spiritual growth. As one theologian puts it — we are closer to the Creator when we create!
The Strategic Planning team resonated with this idea as well as seeing the arts as a justice issue. Many underprivileged children and youth do not have opportunities to experience connecting through playing in a band or singing in a choir or being in a play. What if Heartland can create a Jazz/Arts Academy to provide these opportunities for them.
You may be surprised to learn that the seeds of this initiative were present in a Strategic vision for Heartland that was developed in 2006. Heartland was reflecting on ways almost twenty years ago that the arts and jazz can be avenues for spiritual growth and learning!
Grace and Peace,