When we were invited to attend the missions conference and focus on artists, Amy Williams and I decided to teach on discovering the importance of arts in missions. Out in the middle of nowhere, the Faroe Islands are a group of islands above Scotland. It is a rugged country with no trees because of the strong wind. The people are just as resilient.
The villages are spread out on each of the islands. Most islands are reachable via ferries, and recently, they have underwater tunnels connecting the big ones. That means people are interacting with each other more. The nation is relatively tiny, with less than 50,000 people, and a fairly vibrant Christian community is there.
Radio & the Missions Conference
Amy and I started our trip with a radio interview, as this is one of the main ways of communication in the islands. We told stories of how the arts have opened doors into different communities. This is the first missions conference there in over 30 years, so they wanted us to help promote it.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a vibrant Christian community there, but the people there tend to stay in their area. The OM team in the Faroe Islands wanted them to start looking outward. How could we inspire people to reach out to other places like Iceland, which is a very dark country? They started the missions conference with prayer, so we helped set up prayer stations to encourage people to pray for different areas of the world.
The artist track focused on equipping and mobilising artists to use their gifts as part of God’s Kingdom. We went to the local museum and saw that the artistic side of the culture is very active. Singing plays a significant role in the culture, from when they are working to singing the prayer before the meal. While I would have loved to dig deeper into this, we ended up having only a few musicians, and instead, our group was filled with visual artists.
We talked a lot about our inspiration for creating art and worship since one of the purposes of missions is to point people to God. "Worship is our response to the glory of God. Recognising His glory with our minds. Cherishing His glory with our hearts. Proclaiming His glory with our mouths. Celebrating His glory in all of life." -Dr. Ron Man, www.worr.org
Talking about this inspiration was a catalyst for many of the creations to be based on the names of God or inspired by how God has touched their lives. We discussed using different metaphors that people could relate to in their culture instead of blatant Christian symbols like crosses.
In one of the sessions, we had the groups work with different disciplines, and my favourite creation was a group that decided on “live art”, during which a guitarist played a song to accompany two artists painting while another performed spoken word art of Psalm 23.
Visual artists do not usually work together. It is a solitary art, so seeing the artists engage with each other and support one another was beautiful. There was a wide range of people there in ages and abilities. We were encouraged that one of the artists has started a small group gathering for artists. Please pray as she continues to make connections around the islands and encourages other artists. The rest of OM Faroe Islands are thrilled to see arts in mission emerging, and there is hope to have full art training conferences in the future.