Here are just a few pictures and a video from a fabulous day at the CDFB National Conference.
These verses are packed with so much stuff, recently I heard Cathy Madavan speak about the fear of the unknown in relation to these set of verses. Several things she spoke of really resonated with how life can be for so many of us.
What are you like when you are in a physical waiting room, such as at the doctors surgery or hospital, or outside an interview room? We often find ourselves pacing, twiddling our thumbs, taking lots of deep breaths and other things to keep ourselves distracted whilst waiting for the answer, some news or the next step.
Moments in our life will seem like God has put us in a waiting room, but what are we doing in that waiting room?
Are you wishing for answers, thinking of what you could do, where you could go, what you could be? Does it get you anywhere? Why do you not progress forward?
Cathy spoke about, how, when we are in those times of waiting, we can be fearful of what is to come, fearful of the outcome and how God may answer the situation. Fearful of the unknown. To work through this, we need to be able to live with God in the present season, and not wish for seasons to come. After a waiting season always comes a fruitful season.
Our ability to work through this fear lies in how our patience is and whether we need to grow in the spiritual discipline of patience.
My husband often tells me that I have good patience, which is true when it comes to the children, dealing with lots of people and events. But when it comes to waiting for an answer or a step forward from God, my patience for that isn’t quite as well tuned! I most definitely pace, get grumpy and question the decisions that I have taken so far.
The spiritual discipline of patience is about being active in your patience. YOU decide what to do with your feelings. You can make the choice to keep emotions such as anger away from you, it doesn’t need to come near you. God has the big picture, in our waiting to see that, we need to accept that there will be waiting, that God has given us enough to last through that waiting.
Persistence in the patience and waiting is really important in our desire to focus on living with God in the present season. Look at those that have done it well, Esther, Paul, Abraham, Daniel, David, Mary and Martha and many more.
Think about when you are in that waiting place. Do you worship God or do you worship your circumstances?
I hope this has provided some thoughts about how you can deal with those periods of waiting. We can so easily slip into the mindset of grumbling in our waiting. Lets switch up our mindset and seek to serve, worship and LIVE during those waiting times.
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God encourages us in those moments we need it most, even if we haven’t recognised that we need it. Whilst I was away at Rivercamp, there were several things that struck me.
The first being we all dance and move with the same heart. The second that a whirlwind is created as each of us moves in someway.
Let me share some more.
Part of my journey with UC Grace has been overcoming people’s perceptions of what I do and my heart behind it, as well believing and trusting that I was good enough to do it, and there was a need for it. It hasn’t been easy, at the Going Deeper weekend in July I shared some of this. That in the beginning of UC Grace I judged my ‘success’ on the number of people that came to my events and if I didn’t have many, I wasn’t good enough and doing it right.
Yet I knew the foremost reason that I was doing UC Grace was because it was about the hearts of those that came. The hearts that God needed to work with, take on a journey and grow. That’s what my heart needed to do, in order to recognise the gift God had grown inside me. A passion to share, motivate and grow others in movement and dance with Gods word as central.
During my time at Rivercamp I noticed a group of people that always congregated near a space at the side at the front, and claimed the space so to speak, and as the meeting got underway I realised they were movers and dancers of varying degrees of ability. As I began to watch them, a wrestle began in my spirit. A wrestle to watch, receive and bless what I was seeing, but at the same time resentment, longing, and feeling put out and it was unfair! Lots of emotions that had crept up and I didn’t know where to go with. Except I did, but only because of the journey I had been through with UC Grace.
Let me unpack this.
When I am in an environment where my emotions seem to be getting the better of me, or, better put, the Devil is trying to windle his way in. I check myself. I take a pause, a visible breath. The negativity that I was experiencing was pulling up my insecurities, ones that I had defeated. But there, in that present moment, in a new situation they were trying to come to the surface again. I just kept saying to myself, ‘they have a heart to move too,’ ‘they are worshipping God their way.’
In those moments in the worship, where I was desperate just to be lost in it and dance myself, I had to deal with this before I moved forward. I had to deal with the elephant! So, I began a conversation with God, asking what I have got to learn here, what did I need to deal with, recognise, bless, repent. Tough going!
As I relaxed into his presence, he encouraged me that it wasn’t about me being ‘left out’ or ‘not included’, it was about opening up opportunities for others to experience God.
The essence of UC Grace….
As UC Grace has grown, part of my battle has been addressing how UC Grace is seen, or what it is. It’s only been the past few years that I’ve acknowledged that it is a business. I say this here because it is through that acknowledgment that God presented me with opportunities for UC Grace to grow and develop.
Over the few days after that initial encounter in the tent at Rivercamp, I thought about it more, the impact of my reaction to what I had felt, and asked God to reveal more about it.
I had the most amazing picture.
This is the reason for this post, but I wanted you to understand a few things before I shared it. Every dancer and movers journey is different. You will experience some negativity at some point on your journey about dancing and moving, the key is how you deal with it when you are presented with it.
My heart is to release and equip others with their faith through dance and movement. Jesus will always be the number one person I go to for decisions, reasons and conversations, and that includes business ones. UC Grace is a business, it’s a business God has blessed with growth over a very big journey, the picture God gave me, not only encouraged me in my journey with UC Grace, but the journey of Christian dance organisations, businesses, and individuals. Whether they are moving now, will be movers, or will simply just experience the soaking of the Holy Spirit through someone moving around them.
So the picture…
During one of the last worship times at Rivercamp, the tent had come to a very hushed quiet, what I began to see were small whirlwinds over the tops of groups of people. As these whirlwinds began to move around the place, gold started to be threaded through them.
All the whirlwinds then converged into one. Into a tornado. A tornado of GLORY, filled with gold. As it moved it changed the atmosphere, transforming those it moved over. The more it moved the more different colours came into it. The more it moved it was clear that it was the interaction of what was inside the tornado that was causing the shift in the atmosphere.
As the image faded away, it was an ah ha moment. A moment where I recognised why God had to reiterate to me before about how precious each person’s movement was, and how each individuals movements when converged with others creates something far more powerful than we can ever fathom. It creates a movement in the heavens that transforms those around it.
This is something that I knew, but sometimes you can loose sight of it, when you’re tired and been giving out lots.
There is however more.
My friend told me about a picture an artist had in a tent, that I needed to go and look at. This is it… what do you see?
Two things were brought to my attention. The whirlwind effect of colours spiralling with the reaction to the environment around it. But also, how it fits in with the UC Grace logo. The lady that painted this is Helen Yousaf a prophetic artist and an amazing worship leader.
I was just astounded (again) at how God brings everything together. Are you a dancer? Are you ready to change the atmosphere that you move in? Are you ready to take your whirlwind where God tells you? Get in touch as I would love to hear from you.
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As I’ve been gathering notes for this year’s dance weekend, I started to think about what it was that made people come on a weekend in the first place. Plus, I think it’s always good to remember where our roots are and why we do what we do! In the 9 years I have been running UC Grace, different groups, workshops, training and performances opportunities have evolved, some not even in my planning, but God has placed them in the pathway of UC Grace. At every event I marvel at how God brings it together, who he brings and the impact that the event creates in others. Let me take you on a very short journey of how the dance weekends came about and their impact upon myself and others.
How did it begin?
It began in 2013, when I first started to have discussions with other dancers about whether they’d either value a day retreat or a weekend away, and what it was that they’d see that time away being. Many of the participants at this point had been dancing with me from the beginning and I had watched them grow and develop and were eager for more. However, we all recognised that the odd 90-minute workshop just didn’t cut and we wanted something more! Going back over some of the responses from an initial survey I sent out, it is awesome to see how God has worked in it all.
With just a handful of resources I took the plunge and stepped out to run my first dance weekend. I didn’t know the true amount of work it would take, the people it would bring or that it was just the beginning of many!
My heart was to provide a space that would enable people to grow in their dance worship movement skills, their relationship with God and build relationships and fellowship with others.
So how did it develop?
For that first weekend in 2014, my heart was hopeful that I would get to 15 participants, that didn’t happen. I could have let that disappoint rule how I went forward with my planning. However, God has spoken quite clearly since I began UC Grace that it is about the hearts of those that come to UC Grace events, not about the numbers.
That first year, I was blown away by how God moved, I changed the whole of my Sunday plan on the Sunday morning as I followed Gods lead. We took dancing out of our room and into the centre to bless others in the building, we crowned ourselves with Gods crown, and broke down walls that didn’t need to be there.
We did this by standing on God’s word and letting scripture and God’s voice lead the sessions. Since then, that’s how the weekends have developed, God always goes first, even if I’ve spent a long time putting the plan together, because, His plan is the ultimate plan.
Since that first weekend, I always look with delight at the next weekend that will happen, at who God will bring to come and move and dance and grow, to explore what he lays on my heart and how I can help change people’s perspectives on themselves, their movement and their journey with God as my lead.
What’s the soul of the weekend?
This picture below, sums up the soul of the weekends perfectly.
They say pictures say 1000 words, they demonstrate what can not be said, that is so true. As you look on the outside looking in at this picture. You see a hug, a warm embrace between a group of friends. But what they don’t show you is the journey each of these ladies have been on over the weekend. It doesn’t show the struggles they’ve had to step out in, in their faith, it doesn’t show when times were really tough, it doesn’t show what God has said to them or how they have been taken on a journey.
This picture was taken at the last session of our 2018 dance weekend. We had just had a time of praying and dancing (so important that we do both of those things together), only the ladies in the picture really know what was going on in their journey at that point.
But for me it shows a freeze frame of friendship, support, love, prayer, journey and acceptance that they are letting God lead their journey.
UC Grace dance weekends have turned into a key fixture in our calendar, something for everyone to look forward to. When I ran my first one in 2014, I didn’t think people would be interested in a yearly weekend, and I began to arrange them bi-annually. It gave me time to develop other ideas and continue to grow other areas of UC Grace.
However, God has been gracious and given me opportunities to grow connections, build friendships and have the privilege to journey with others. I felt UC Grace was at a point where it now needed to offer those dancers and participants who had journeyed with it for nearly 10 years, another opportunity that would take them deeper on a more personal level. That’s where the Going Deeper weekend has come from. So my hope, over the coming years is to have a dance weekend every year, but the essence of the weekend will alternate each year.
Going Deeper will provide a smaller more intimate group to develop their dance worship skills and personal faith journey. Creative dance weekends will allow a larger number to gather in fellowship, experience dancing and learning from others, explore the use of arts and creativity alongside prayer and movement, and be a place to build friendships and generate a network that draws people across the country together.
Have you joined us on one?
Going Deeper 2019 is now fully booked, however we have just released the dates for our 2020 Creative dance weekend – 17th to 19th January. Why not join us, as we celebrate 10 years of UC Grace! Booking will open towards the end of June 2019, if you want to be one of the first to hear about when booking opens and grab the super early bird price click here.
What a fantastic day we had learning from each other. The day was split up into 3/4 sections, in each section there was a talk and discussion, an exercise in pairs to put into action what was discussed and then a time of delivery – so practising what they had just planned. Everyone had such different ideas, it was great to spark off each other and encourage those that felt a little shy.
Section 1 – warm up and ice breakers
This is a really important part of the workshop which I chatted about in the blog post 6 Essentials when planning a dance worship workshop. The challenge here was introducing a theme and working out how to devise a warm up based around a theme. The topic of water came up as a common one, but some participants soon realised that they weren’t sure which bit of water to focus on.
Water is a good example of a topic that has so much possibility for a workshop. It’s a key feature in the Bible, creation and our journey of faith. Ideas for inclusion in a warm up included –
- Ice – freeze/ still movements leading to melting and then adding travelling motion in.
- River – how the water flows in and around rocks, some of the children being rocks and others being the water that passed around them.
- Waves – the crashing sound, being tall and small. Rolling on the ground and stretching wide. Spinning a partner out and then having them roll back in along their partners arm.
All the above areas of water can be expanded and padded out loads after the initial warm up. Remember the warm up is an opportunity to have fun, get everyone moving and introduce a small part of the theme.
Section 2 – Planning an under 5s workshop. We looked at Psalm 18.28-33 for this section.
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights.”
The sets of verses above provide some awesome imagery with which to design workshops and themes. We used this passage as a starting point thinking about a workshop for under 5s. Just a few things that came out of our initial discussion was:
- Standing on a rock – strength
- Battle – warfare
- Like a travelling song
- Scaling a wall
Participants worked in pairs and looked at one section of the workshop plan (Read more about the 6 essentials when planning a dance worship workshop here) putting together an outline of movements, before then teaching it to the rest of the group.
Section 3 – Choreographing a dance for 5 – 11 year olds
How many of you have the song ‘My Lighthouse’ in your church? There are several different actions that have been put to the words of this song – your church might already use some. So, I thought it offered an opportunity for participants to choreograph something that they could use within a workshop or group of children.
Working in groups we looked at the different verses and put together some movement. You can check out what we did below.
We begun the day by looking at why we want to invest in children, what the Bible says and the reasons that brought the participants to the dance day. As we finished the day we spoke about how we can encourage a conversation of prayer during the workshops by having some creative prayer exercises. That by demonstrating how to dance and make it a conversation with God, you can encourage each child to have ownership of their journey of faith and conversation with God.
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Planning is essential in all forms of delivery, whether that is for dance or something different. Throughout nearly 20 years of teaching, I have tried many ways to layout a dance workshop or session, today you get to hear the layout I find most useful!
It might be that you want to create a whole session or just one exercise or series of movements, whatever it is, it is still the same process. We’ll talk in terms of a ‘session’ but the same applies to an exercise/ series of movements.
This post is all with reference to leading a Christian based dance worship workshop of some form. However, all that is shared can be applied in a normal secular context without faith.
Before we get going though, there are a few things that you need to have decided in order to plan the workshop most effectively –
- Who will be your age or population focus?
- What is your theme – including the main focus and intended outcome
- How long is your session and how will you divide elements within the session
- What is the number of participants that will be at the workshop, or what are your maximum numbers?
Each one of the above can impact the workshop in different ways, so take the time to make it specific to what you are wanting to achieve.
So what 6 essential things should I include?
1. Ice breaker
Whether you know the participants well, or they are completely new faces, you can never start a session cold. An ice breaker allows participants the opportunity to begin the session recognising that they are in safe space, that their ‘ability’ won’t be questioned, and that they feel welcomed to see where the workshop will take them.
This initial opening/ ice breaker will set the tone for the rest of the workshop, participants will either be hooked and want to go further or may feel unsure about continuing. Therefore this ‘hook in’ needs to grab their focus, allow participants to tune in with others and get ready to learn what is coming.
Here’s a few ideas that are tried and tested, they are all adaptable for all ages and abilities –
- What’s your name and where are you from?
- How has your week been? Can you use one word to describe your week?
- What brought you to this workshop? What’s one thing that you’d love to learn in this workshop?
- Say your name and do an action, everyone else copy, work your way round the group.
- Make a freeze shape of how you are feeling about the workshop at the beginning.
Imagine these 5 minutes (because that’s all it usually is) are your welcome speech, the chance to win the vote of everyone and have them wanting more. Have energy, be friendly, encourage discussion.
2. Warm up
This is so important and should NEVER be by-passed. Not only does it prepare our body, but it also ensures we are safe with our movement, our listening and helps us be our best in the session. So, what do I need to do in a warm up?
Raise the heart rate – it’s important to gradually raise our heart rate and body temperature. This will decrease injuries and increase the body’s ability to move more efficiently.
Create a sense of fun and involvement – look at it as a great opportunity to let them see who you are, how you teach and to get moving with you.
Include dynamic stretches – these are stretches that move and encourage the body to go beyond its normal range of motion, therefore stretching and molding the muscles to work effectively.
Introduce the theme – the warm up is fab place to subtly (or not) introduce your theme. Be creative and be literal, with children a game can be a great place to start.
Before you rush head long into a sequence or main part of the workshop, it’s good to lay the foundation of what the session will explore and provide the chance for participants to learn specific moves which may aid them later in the workshop.
You may prefer to call this section exercises, as it allows set themes or movements to be explored that provide focus. For example, if your theme was God’s Breath, here’s one thing you could do –
In a space focus on taking 3 deep breaths, filling and emptying your lungs as much as you can. On the next set of 3 breaths, take yourself up on a rise as you breathe in, and lower as you breathe out. On the next set take a step forward as you breathe in and step back as you breathe out.
This very simple exercise can be developed in whatever way you want to fit in with the participants, and challenge them more if needed. To lengthen and imprint the impact breath can have on initiating movement, ask them to close their eyes as they do the movement. This will do several things –
- Increase their awareness of their breath and the size of their movement
- Encourage them to work on their balance and their core
- Help them to feel the weight in their movement, therefore adding another dynamic to how it can be developed.
Don’t overthink the exploration that you want to do. Provided you know what you want as your intended outcome, this section can be a real fun section to develop.
Whilst I have called this section ‘sequence’ I recognise that not all workshops will have a sequence as such to learn. So, consider this also the ‘main bit’, the chunk that you really want everyone to grasp from the workshop.
This could involve learning part of a set sequence, group work expanding a Bible verse, song verse, the theme, working with a resource, and so much more!
But what you need to remember, is that whatever you did in the previous section needs to flow with ease into this one, a seamless transition, rather than a stilted connection.
5. Development/ free movement
Up until this point, you will have mostly guided, taught or impressed on participants the best way forward with their movement. This section allows the participant to start to take some ownership over their movement style and how they want to develop.
More often than not, this is where I give my participants a very loose task. I do this because I believe by this point in the workshop, they are capable of simulating movements together themselves and working with a partner or bigger group to create something that flows with the theme from the exploration section, to sequence section to this one. It’s also a great chance for me to sit back and see Gods work in progress, which is the most exciting bit of course!
6. Cool down/ reflection
Just like it’s important to begin with a warm up, it’s also essential to finish with a cool down. This section has two purposes.
The first, to lower heart rates and bring our bodies back to a place they are normally at, using stretches and breathing to do this.
The second, to reflect on the impact of the session, to pray together or with someone individually, or take a moment of quiet. You can never underestimate the impact that a workshop will have on someone. It may not be obvious on the day, but God always moves, even when it’s not visible.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this outline is a process that I have found works well for me. Each of us are individual and all work differently. Take your time to find out what works for you, practise it and let God lead!
Let me know what are your essentials when you’re planning a worship workshop.
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As a Christian it can be hard to remain on track, hard to remember our focus, the promises God has said, the words that our written in his heart about us. Over the past few years I have developed the 5 smooth stones concept, which has become the cornerstone of my faith, and keeps me going in those moments when life gets hard.
Let me explain about the stones first
Take a normal stone, they usually begin quite angular with sharp edges, a smooth stone is one that has been handled repeatedly, so much so, that the sharp and angular edges have worn down and what’s left is a smooth, but firm stone. Which is solid, and in most cases heavy! Imagine carrying 5 of them around, they would be quite weighty! However, they would serve as a reminder that there is something there. Something physical that you can cling to and lean on.
But how is that the cornerstone of my faith?
Each ‘stone’ is a scripture which has become important to me during my journey and they speak to me and remind of what God is saying and how he is there to support us. They help to maintain a strong foundation, that is always rooted in Christ
Here are my 5 smooth stones –
Phil 2.15 – So that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
This is one of the key verses that I started UC Grace with, it speaks so much to me about how each of us is important and can shine a light, even in the darkest of places.
1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous, be strong.
This is one of my most longstanding verses, it was given to me when I got baptised in 2004, and it remains framed in a poster on my stairs as a daily reminder to be firm in what I know and who I lean on.
Deuteronomy 33.27 – The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Such a comfort verse! And a great one to visualise that God is all around us, surrounding us at those times that we feel low.
Romans 8.39 – nothing will be able to separate us from the love God.
Nothing, however small will get in the way of Gods love for us. When I went away to university I was given this verse on a pillow, a daily prompt to know that God loves me. The verse (and the pillow!) has stayed with me since.
Hebrews 13.6 – So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?
Where ever we walk, God walks with us and he is ready to help us. Sometimes we just need to know that God will always root for us and help us regardless of circumstances.
So you see, some of these verses have a long standing history that have been with me a while, others have been added to over the years. You don’t have to have 5, why not just start with a few. As long as they are engrained and you know them, they can support you through your day.
I’d love to know whether you have any smooth stones, why they are important to you and how you let them support you throughout your day.
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Last week, as I sat and looked through the coming events with UC Grace and where they sat in the wider calendar, I suddenly realised that Lent was just a week away. It got me thinking about how Lent is approached in the wider world, and how much emphasis people place on it.
Many people strive to give up things, or try to focus on something specific, but how many actually use those 40 days to draw closer to God, to deepen their relationship with him, learn something new about themselves and God? Probably not as many as we’d think.
Then my thinking all got a bit radical, and I thought, why don’t we dance through Lent??
Lent is set aside as a time of reflection, prayer, and preparation. What better way to prepare ourselves than to move the bodies God has given us in surrender when words don’t suffice.
In him we live and move and have our being… Acts 17.28
This is one of my favourite verses, the essence of dance summed up in 10 words! Tim Hughes song, God of Justice emphasises it very well too, with the phrase ‘move us into action, we must go.’ God moves us into action, fills our hearts and initiates our movements.
So, the idea has grown, to 6 week resource, to encourage us all to step out in some form of movement each day. My heart is that those who are both inexperienced and experienced can access it, with different options for people to dip into depending on their time and circumstance.
Each day there is a bible reference and a themed word assigned to it, the word is there to help you prompt other feelings as you do the study.
Over the course of the 6 weeks we are going to look at 4 areas, the Psalms – 2 weeks, Armour of God – 1 week, God’s Truths -2 weeks, and of course the Easter story.
How will it work?
Each Wednesday the next weeks study will come out. When completing the study, there are two levels. If you’re short on time, concentrate on the first 3 questions, these can be done in 10-15 minutes. If you’ve got more time and want to go deeper, do the next set of 3 questions which will also take 10-15 minutes. So, if you decide to do both it can be around a 30 minute movement time!
How much movement will I do?
That is really up to you, the studies are designed so that you can put as much action into them as you want, or if you just want to isolate a single word and do a single action you can do that too.
Do I need to have danced or moved before?
No, this study can provide a great way to introduce you to movement. There is no right or wrong way to move, if you are putting Jesus at the centre of your movement. My encouragement would be to start simple, by thinking of movements connected to words in the literal sense.
What if I don’t understand what to do?
Drop me a message! Ask in the Facebook group! There is a UC Grace worship chatter group where the main ‘talk’ of the series will be happening. This is so other platforms aren’t constantly bombarded with what’s going on.
This sounds awesome! How do I sign up?
Already on my email list? Drop me a message here which says ‘count me in’.
Not on my email list? Then head here …. and I can make sure you get all the information you need.
It’s been an awesome start to our events this year, with our first Living Colour morning of 2019. Such a privilege to meet with all the dancers and spend time catching up.
Our focus during the workshop session was exploring Proverbs 3.1-8, by looking at 3 main sections, Gods teaching and foundation, his faithfulness and understanding when we are struggling and having help come around us.
There was a great conversation about verse 1, and the different interpretations in different Bible versions. One version talked about ‘storing’ commands not keeping them, which is an image of treasuring the things that God gives you.
In verses 3 and 4 we chatted about how we can forget the small things that God is faithful in, and that it’s important to remember them daily. Participants worked in pairs to pick 3 or 4 areas that they felt God was faithful in. They wrote these down on separate pieces of paper and placed them at staggered points across the space. Working with their partner they put those faithful things into a journey, what they realised as they danced and shared with others, was the importance of fellowship and being with someone as you share in your faithful journey.
Below is short film of Servina and Jane’s, and Caroline and Helen’s Faithful Journey.
Our next Living Colour is planned for Saturday 22nd June, you can check out the info here. But why not join us before that at one of our dance days.
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The word creativity has been on my mind a lot recently, it’s taken me right back to why I started UC Grace, and how Living Colour dance workshops came about. I’ve been reading through previous notes and realising that at times it’s important to go back to your roots.
The ultimate reason I began UC Grace in 2010 was a passion to share with others the impact that dance and movement can have with our faith, and how it can be instrumental in encouraging others in their walk, bringing others to faith, and teaching Gods word. I wanted to acknowledge that God has given us a creative spirit, to explore, move and grow with. To put ourselves outside the box.
But as with so many things in life, distractions arise and before you know it, where you think you were, you no longer are.
A dear friend gave me a card with the saying ‘Creativity takes Courage’. Initially I read it and put it to one side. Until last week, when I was drawn back to it, and the need to understand the implications of what that phrase means to me and to UC Grace.
Creativity has been a fundamental part of how UC Grace has developed, it’s integral to how we deliver our workshops, training and dance weekends and is actively encouraged amongst participants to help them draw closer to God.
However, I’ve felt challenged, that this fundamental root, the thing that shines through our work and sets it apart from others, has wilted. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve delivered all events with the same amount of gusto and passion, but had a feeling like something was missing, but not knowing what.
As this year has got underway, the Holy Spirit has whispered in me more, and I’ve realised its creativity that’s missing. Or more specifically how I share the connection of dance and movement and our faith, by offering a creative channel within which to do it.
Let me share for a moment what I mean by creativity with dance and movement and our faith!
An aspect that we look at a lot, is our journey, how we’ve got there, and where we might be going to. At one particular Living Colour session I asked participants to take a piece of paper and think about the journey that they had been on over the last week, and if they drew it, what would it look like? I then asked them at what points on that journey did they know that God was with them, and to mark it on the paper. From there their task was to transpose that picture into movement working individually initially, but then as a group. You can read more about how they did it, by reading the workshop plan here. But for now, look at the video below to see how they went from a picture to movement.
So why does it take courage? It takes courage, because for a lot of people creativity is something they don’t experience in their day to day. It’s something that doesn’t have a written step by step process, or tick boxes. It’s something that draws us to discover something new about ourselves, by stepping out the box.
The process is as important as the result is, both of which you might not have control over. Creativity takes courage, as it challenges your perceptions, your routine and your mindset. At UC Grace, that discovery happens in a safe environment, where whatever the result is, we support you as best as we can. Most importantly though, you join in as much or as little as you want.
It’s never been about the numbers that come to events. It’s about the hearts. I believe that if you join us at our events, God has put you there for a reason, and I value that. The connection between creativity and people’s hearts is so important.
Over the next month or so, I am looking forward to continuing to weave this strand, across the whole of UC Grace, some of what is on our website currently is not where UC Grace is now. As God moves each of us on in our journey, God also moves UC Grace, and I’m looking forward to delving into putting creativity right back at our heart, as well as revisiting our values and vision.
We started with that phrase in 2010, let’s head back their in 2019 and see where it takes us.
I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences, if you have danced and moved with UC Grace. But also, those that haven’t, how do you use creativity? What does it mean to you?