Rev Paul Clark is blazing the path for innovative worship in the south-east corner. Ashley Goetze talks to the “art church” minister.
From Genesis to Jesus, over the course of 52 weeks, Redcliffe Uniting Church commissioned artists from within their church and wider community to journey together through the Old Testament.
The year-long art project, inspired by a desire to address and help tackle the difficult questions surrounding Old Testament themes, saw the involvement of cross-generational, Christian and non-Christian artists, providing a rich array of biblical insights.
Fitting in with the church’s vision of growing disciples, Rev Paul Clark truly believes that “If people had a robust understanding of the Old Testament it would enhance their discipleship.”
Mr Clark says Redcliffe Uniting “wants to be a church that isn’t inward-looking but one known in the community for our heart.”
From the circumcision of Abraham to Noah’s ark, novices and experts alike signed up to interpret a wide range of Old Testament themes in their own unique way. The opportunity to mull over a particular piece of scripture caused participants to revisit passages often taken for granted.
“Some people have said ‘I haven’t read the Bible in 20 years and I went back and read it’,” says Mr Clark.
According to Mr Clark around 80 per cent of people participating in the art project were from outside the Redcliffe congregation with 50 to 60 per cent attending no church at all.
Mr Clark recalls the story of one lady who hadn’t been to church in over 20 years.
“One day her granddaughter came home from school―from RE—and said, ‘grandma I want to go to church’ and she said ‘I’ve been thinking of going back to church but the only church I know is the ‘art church!’
“So she came and said she’s really loved it. She loves being part of the church,” says Mr Clark.
The 52 complete artworks were presented at an art exhibition held on 30 November, an opportunity the church used to once again invite the wider community inside.