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2022 Artists Network

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    Artists Network
Equipping Christian artists in Europe to fulfill their calling

G.K. Chesterton wrote, “The function of imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.”

Artists of all types are tasked with inviting their viewers and hearers to see and listen. To make facts into wonders. Art is uniquely suited to enrich our prayer lives, catalyze renewed engagement with the Bible, foster empathy, enhance our spiritual perception, challenge our beliefs in healthy ways, and bring us into more intimate contact both with our Lord and the world. It invites us to slow down and gaze deeply. Art communicates, questions, and holds accountable. It stirs and reveals.

The arts in all their forms are good gifts from God, intended to be cultivated and employed, communicating God’s message for humanity. As artists, we need to mindfully consider how to practice the habit of seeing and listening on our own in order to create. At the 2022 gathering of the Artists Network, we will approach this way of contemplative seeing through the lenses of music, painting and visual arts, film, literature, and more.

Applicants should be artists who are engaging with society or the church. The Network provides a haven where Christian artists gather in community for relationship, spiritual nourishment, deep thinking, professional growth, and strategic possibilities.

Network Leadership

Charles David Kelley is Latvian-American, a citizen of both countries. He serves as co-leader of the ELF Artist Network and the LausanneARTS Coordinator for Europe. Born in Los Angeles, he has lived in Oregon since 1980. His professional training is in Bible, theology and missiology. Before founding Bridge Builders International in 1994, an international ministry that focuses on the Baltics, Charles served in pastoral ministry in California, Texas, and Oregon for 21 years. He is chairman of BBI’s Latvian affiliates, "Partners" and serves on the board for "Eagle's Wings Camp” in Latvia. He co-founded the Baltic Pastoral Institute in Riga and founded the Imago Dei Artists Network, which ministers to artists and musicians in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He is the LausanneARTS Coordinator for Europe; co-leads the European Christian Artists Network (ELF) and is a member of the Arts Plus Roundtable and the Arts Centre Group in London. He is also on the board of the Thomas Kinkade Museum near San Jose, CA. Charles is an author, pianist and painter. He lives in Latvia for 4-5 months per year. He has been married to Nancy for 44 years and has four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Natalie Meeks, co-leader of the ELF Artists Network, is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Bridge Builders International, which ministers to artists in multiple countries. As a freelance writer, she has penned articles about ministries all over the world. She is a lover of the classics (secular and spiritual) and enjoys reading and writing poetry. Her Christian faith and confidence in the Scriptures inform her understanding of, communication with, and ministry to artists of all kinds. She and her husband of 18 years reside in Greenville, South Carolina. They have six children, including an adopted son from Latvia. Natalie’s hobbies include reading, reading, and reading.

Network Speakers

Cristian Cazacu is a songwriter, worship leader, and performing artist for over 25 years. His passion is to see Christian artists engage their craft theologically, as an act of worship and witness to the risen Christ. Cristian is the director of imagoDei Romania, an emerging initiative designed to cultivate community among the faithful artists by means of spiritual formation, theological reflection, networking and culture-making, for the purposes of the kingdom of God.  He also coordinates the Artists Network as a part of the Romanian Leadership Forum. Cristian holds an M.A. in Intercultural Studies (Global Christian Worship), from Fuller Theological Seminary (2010). Cristian and his wife, Bella, have three sons, living near the city of Timișoara, Romania.

Andrew Fellows was appointed pastor of a church in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1988 where he served for seven years. In 1995 his family moved to the English branch of L’Abri Fellowship, where they lived and worked for 21 years. From 2011 to 2016 Andrew was the chairman of L’Abri International. Now based in Cambridge Andrew is the pastor of a newly formed church alongside his work as Director of Apologetics for Christian Heritage. He has a special interest in reaching sceptics and encouraging followers of Christ to develop the life of the mind so it includes the whole gospel to the whole world with all of its implications. Later this year IVP are publishing his book 'Smuggling Jesus Back Into the Church; How Not to be Worldly'. Andrew is married to Helen. They have four children and two grandchildren.

Charles David Kelley is Latvian-American, a citizen of both countries. He serves as co-leader of the ELF Artist Network and the LausanneARTS Coordinator for Europe. Born in Los Angeles, he has lived in Oregon since 1980. His professional training is in Bible, theology and missiology. Before founding Bridge Builders International in 1994, an international ministry that focuses on the Baltics, Charles served in pastoral ministry in California, Texas, and Oregon for 21 years. He is chairman of BBI’s Latvian affiliates, "Partners" and serves on the board for "Eagle's Wings Camp” in Latvia. He co-founded the Baltic Pastoral Institute in Riga and founded the Imago Dei Artists Network, which ministers to artists and musicians in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He is the LausanneARTS Coordinator for Europe; co-leads the European Christian Artists Network (ELF) and is a member of the Arts Plus Roundtable and the Arts Centre Group in London. He is also on the board of the Thomas Kinkade Museum near San Jose, CA. Charles is an author, pianist and painter. He lives in Latvia for 4-5 months per year. He has been married to Nancy for 44 years and has four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Angela Courte MacKenzie is a broadcaster, pianist, vocalist, and worship leader. Her music has travelled all over the world through her Facebook live events and weekly Power of Praise program. Whether in person or through media, Angela’s music has been a witness to the glory of God in almost all of the continents. Angela has a B.A. degree in music/vocal performance from the University of Central Florida, and more recently an M.A. in apologetics from Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Angela also holds a number of non-executive positions on several ministry and charitable boards both in the US and the UK (where she currently lives.) With her marriage to Kenneth MacKenzie back in 2014, Angela now has an immediate family of 30 (18 grandchildren). Through media, music, and speaking, Angela continues to advocate for her vision of a place where the artist and the Christian thinker can collaborate.

Natalie Meeks, co-leader of the ELF Artists Network, is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Bridge Builders International, which ministers to artists in multiple countries. As a freelance writer, she has penned articles about ministries all over the world. She is a lover of the classics (secular and spiritual) and enjoys reading and writing poetry. Her Christian faith and confidence in the Scriptures inform her understanding of, communication with, and ministry to artists of all kinds. She and her husband of 18 years reside in Greenville, South Carolina. They have six children, including an adopted son from Latvia. Natalie’s hobbies include reading, reading, and reading.

Liviu Mocan is a Romanian artist living in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania. The rich Christian legacy that he inherited from his parents, from church, and from mature artists and theologians has guided his philosophy of life and formed the essence of his creation. His many and varied works – which can be can be found exhibited in private collections, indoor and outdoor, on all continents – are a testimony to his commitment to the visual expression of his beliefs. He is currently developing various art projects centered around the major themes of the Bible while experimenting with various materials and new technologies. Actively involved in his artistic community, he strives to be a witness among Romanian artists.

Rodica Mocan is Professor at the Department of Cinematography and Media, specializing in digital media and the new media arts. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology (2005), with a focus on e-learning and a Ph.D. in Theater and Performing Arts (2016), with research on interactive digital art performances. She earned her Habilitation in Cinematography and Media with a thesis on Digital Media Arts. Her current research interests are on the impact of digital technologies on different aspects of life, particularly in the field of interactive digital arts and emerging artistic genres, such as interactive documentaries. She has multiple publications including various academic articles. Dr. Mocan is the founder and coordinator of the Digital Interactive Arts master program and a Ph.D. supervisor on digital arts themes.

Network Programme

Sunday, 22 May

Tim Keller said, “The church needs artists because without art we cannot reach the world.” Why? Because artists speak a powerful language that unlocks the soul, the language of art. From the moment of Creation, continuing throughout the New Testament and into the early church, artists have served the Lord with their gifts. Art is the language of imagination, values, creativity, experience, and emotions. Artists are especially created with the capacity and calling to speak to hearts.

In his book Surprised by Hope, theologian N. T. Wright states that “art at its best draws attention not only to the way things are, but also to the way things will be, when the earth is filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.” If Wright’s argument is correct, then faithful artists must continually look intently and intimately at the risen Christ, through whom all things have been created and are held together, for the purpose of reconciling them to God, through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:15-20). In this session, we are invited to explore and make room in our minds and hearts for the theological reality that the new creation is central to our living and art-making.

Monday, 23 May

Author Madeleine L’Engle wrote, “In art we are once again able to do all the things we have forgotten; we are able to walk on water; we speak to the angels who call us; we move, unfettered, among the stars.” For L’Engle, there was no distinction between her Christian faith and her art; the disciplines that strengthened one, strengthened the other, and the distractions and temptations that drew her away from one weakened her in the other. In this session, we will consider what it means to be a Christian artist – one called to love his neighbor and be a fruitful member of the Body of Christ – and glimpse a vision of a reality in which we may thrive as artists and as disciples of Christ.

In chapters 25–31 and 35–40 of the book of Exodus, the Lord God instructed Moses to build a special tent where He would meet with His people: the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a travelling exhibition of the most significant art in history with each piece representing eternal truths. God’s instructions began with highly skilled artists who were filled with the Holy Spirit and created the objects of art according to the Lord’s detailed instructions. In this session, we will consider how God used art in the tabernacle as an object lesson to help His people understand these deep truths, and we will examine the significance of these chapters for artists today.

Tuesday, 24 May

Because the New Testament doesn’t mention the connection of worship and the arts, artists in the modern church tend to turn to other sources for ideas on worship - friends, books, personal experiences, and culture. Yet, God has given us a “North Star” to know him and to know how to worship him in the Psalms. This seminar will unpack a biblically-based definition and vision of worship, demonstrating how worship can take a wide variety of forms.

Why does apologetics so often feel like an intellectual exercise? How can we engage the non-believer with all of God’s creation and all of God’s truth? This talk explores why living in a post-truth culture makes the arts critically important, and how this can be worked out practically. 

Wednesday, 25 May

Scripture speaks of 200 leaders during the reign of King David who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12:32). Today we have the same need for well-informed leaders – including artists – who also understand the times and know what to do. New ideas circulating and influencing our lives find new forms of artistic expression. This session will address some of the new emerging media arts and the ideas that inspire them, proposing a discussion on how we should relate to them in a post-Christian society.

In the final session of the Network, participants will reflect on the insights and outcomes of the week, identify take-aways, and spend time together in prayer.