Local Church in the U.S. Finds Ways to Connecting Faith and the Arts

In Colorado, Campion Academy congregation emphasizes God-given creativity.

Ardis Stenbakken, Rocky Mountain Conference, and Adventist Review
Local Church in the U.S. Finds Ways to Connecting Faith and the Arts
A pottery class by a professional potter emphasized spiritual lessons while allowing participants to develop creativity. [Photo: Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church]

The connection between faith and the arts, the creating of something new and beautiful, has been around since Creation, when God Himself put beauty in everything. So, the Campion Seventh-day Adventist Church in Loveland, Colorado, United States, dedicated the month of October and a few days in November to celebrate this connection and invite the public to join in a Faith and the Arts Festival.

The festival began with a full choir and orchestra concert on October 7. It featured such classics as Beethoven’s “Kyrie” from Mass in C and the Hallelujah Chorus. “Gethsemane’s Battle,” part of a full cantata written and composed by Leandro Bizama, the Campion church pastor, was also featured and was well received. “It has been a long time since I heard such beautiful music as we had tonight!” one of the guests remarked.

The following weeks included evening presentations by experts in the congregation on topics such as beginning drawing classes, a song writing lab, and a beginner’s pottery lab. The church also offered an oil painting on porcelain demonstration, stories and lessons learned from 40 years of sculpting, and a photography class. It even opened up slots for a paper card workshop, scrapbooking, and Bible art journaling. “One nice feature of the classes was how people stayed around visiting and making connections with the artists and others who had similar interests,” organizers said.

Jamie Autrey, an art teacher and professional potter, presented the sermon on October 14, connecting the work of the potter to what Jesus does as He shapes and changes our lives. On October 21, the well-known Loveland sculptor Victor Issa gave a multimedia presentation, sculpting the head of Christ as it may have been during the Passion Week. Both Autrey and Issa are members of the Campion church.

Dick Duerksen, who had been on campus all week as the guest speaker leading the week of prayer for Campion Academy and HMS Richards Adventist School, presented the sermon, “When God Smiles,” on October 28. Duerksen used some of his well-known nature photography and stories as illustrations in his sermon to show how God reveals His love to us.

The festival has already opened doors for further connection with the community. One of the oil painting classes has led to Bible studies. A woman from a nondenominational church in Fort Collins, Colorado, also shared how upset she had been when she thought she missed the last Bible journaling class on November 4, but then she saw a reminder on Facebook and came. “She loved it and spent some time talking to Pastor Bizama after the class was over,” organizers said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Rocky Mountain Conference news site.

Ardis Stenbakken, Rocky Mountain Conference, and Adventist Review