Minister’s art could help you to ‘see the light’

Lightlines installation

A new minister dedicated to the visual arts community has been welcomed into his post with a ceremony that showcased his stunning installation in Renfield St Stephens Church of Scotland in Glasgow.

Rev Peter Gardner, originally from Milngavie, marked the start of his pioneering ministry by creating ‘Lightlines’, made from 153 recycled glass jars suspended from the church ceiling on nylon cords partially filled with water, making each one a vessel to catch the light.

Peter said his work explores the place where art and spirituality meet.

He said: “I try to create art that is meaningful and challenging and makes us question where we are and how we view the mysteries of life.

“Art can help us question and reflect on our spirituality. Often the Christian message is delivered in words, which are definitive. Art is a different language that is visual and engages people through imagination. Art is far more open and gives people the freedom to think in new and very different ways.”

Peter is taking up his new pioneer ministry after 14 years as minister at Renfield St Stephens. The new role was created following a Church of Scotland commitment to spend £1 million on 5 pioneer arts posts to develop new faith communities across Scotland.

Lightlines installation

During that time he built many different types of installations with his artistic collaborator, his wife Heidi.

He added: “I have a deep concern for artists and my primary commitment is to listen to them, to accompany them and to offer pastoral care.

“I see my new ministry as being part of a dialogue between art and faith and I intend to develop this conversation through the creation of new work and the nurturing of a supportive community, a place of making and of faith.

“I believe that this Pioneer Ministry is a sign that within the Church there is a growing understanding that the creator God made us to be creative and a growing commitment to engage with visual artists to create new art and new ways of worship.”

Lightlines installation

At present Rev Gardner is working from Renfield St Stephens Parish Church in Glasgow.

He can be reached by email at pgardner@churchofscotland.org.uk

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