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Detailed information about the 2020 Forum is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2019 Forum for a look at the quality of instructors, teaching, and content that will be available in the 2020 Network.

2019 European Artists Network

In the Cleft of the Rock: Art, Artists, and the Glory of God

God revealed His Glory by showing His Goodness and other attributes. Is the ultimate purpose of art any different purpose of life? If so, what is the purpose of life? The old Catechism states “The chief purpose for which man is made is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

When Moses was on Mount Sinai, he asked to see God’s glory. Then God put Moses in the cleft of the rock, and then His Goodness passed before him. That goodness has multiple expressions of God’s person. 

He manifested himself in a cloud, in a bush, on the face of an old man, in a big tent - the tabernacle, in a magnificent temple. Does our art manifest his glory?

The European Artists Network strives to meet vital needs with real solutions. As artists who follow the Lord Jesus Christ come together they are encouraged and equipped to pursue their artistic callings with greater insight, passion, support, and encouragement.  This at once impacts other artists (believers and unbelievers), the church, and society. The European Artists Network provides a setting where Christian artists gather to discern and discuss calling, vision, relationship, and collaboration.


Network Leader

Charles David Kelley is Latvian-American, citizen of both countries. Born in Los Angeles, he has lived in Oregon since 1980. His professional training is in Bible, theology, and missiology. He began ministering in Latvia in 1985. Before founding Bridge Builders International, an Oregon based mission that focuses on Latvia, in 1994, Charles served in pastoral ministry in California, Texas, and Oregon for 21 years. He is chairman and director of BBI’s Latvian affiliate, “Partners.” He serves as Dean of International Relations at Baltic Pastoral Institute in Riga. Charles is founder of the Imago Dei Artists Network in Latvia and co-founder of the imagiNATIONS Annual Art Festival for Estonia and Latvia. He is a member of the Arts Centre Group in London and is the LausanneARTS Advocate at Large for Europe. Charles is an author, pianist, and painter, having studied at the feet of two masters, professors both, from the Latvian Academy of the Arts. He lives in Latvia 4-5 months per year. He has been married to Nancy for 40 years and has four grown children and nine young grandchildren.


Network Speakers

Beat Rink is the founder and director of Crescendo, an international ministry of Cru amongst professional musicians (classic / jazz), also serving other artists  ( He has studied history, German literature, and later theology. He is an ordained pastor of the Swiss Reformed church. He has published several books on arts and faith and his own poetry, and he edited for many years the TUNE INs (weekly spiritual / theological thoughts for artists). He is the co-founder of ARTS+, a Christian art ministries network operating in several countries. He lives with his wife, originally from Finland, in Basel.


Delta David Gier has been called a dynamic voice on the music scene, recognized widely for his penetrating interpretations of the standard symphonic repertoire, passionate commitment to new music, and significant community engagement. Orchestras Mr. Gier has conducted include the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, and the Minnesota Orchestra. In Europe, his engagements include the Bergen Philharmonic, the Polish National Radio Symphony, and the Bucharest Philharmonic, along with many other orchestras in Italy, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Turkey. He studied at the University of Michigan under the renowned conducting teacher Gustav Meier, along with studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and Aspen Music Festival. He was a Fulbright scholar in eastern Europe from 1988-90. He has chaired the music jury of the Pulitzer Prize and is a frequent panelist for the League of American orchestras. The Lakota Music Project was developed under Gier’s direction to address racial tensions between Native Americans and whites in the region the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra serves. Other engagement projects with the SDSO have included Arab, Chinese and Sudanese/Somali refugees.


Tim Basselin is Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Worship at one of the largest seminaries in the world: Dallas Theological Seminary. He teaches classes on the intersection of theology and culture, including classes on film, art, literature, and disability. He is also the director of the Media Arts apprenticeship program at DTS and enjoys collaborating with his students. He serves on the editorial board for Christian Scholar’s Review. He and his wife, Robin, have four children and enjoy travelling and camping.


Todd E. Johnson (Ph.D. University of Notre Dame) currently holds the Brehm Chair of Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary and is the Theological Director of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts. As a faculty member for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies, he began the PhD concentration in Christian Worship. Before coming to Fuller, he served on the faculties of North Park Theological Seminary and Loyola University Chicago. Ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church, he has 20 years of experience in church and campus ministry and has been involved in inner-city youth work and community projects in Chicago and the surrounding area. Johnson is coauthor of Living Worship: A Multimedia Resource for Students and Leaders (2010) and Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue (2009), coeditor of Common Worship in Theological Education (2010), and editor of The Conviction of Things Not Seen: Worship and Ministry in the 21st Century (2002). He is a vice president of the Liturgical Conference and serves as an editorial board member for Questions Liturgique. He is also the recipient of grants to develop pedagogical resources for teaching theology and worship, including interactive software and web apps.


Network Programme

Day 1

And God Said "It Is Good"

Charles David Kelley

Socrates and Aristotle taught that great art lives at the intersection of truth, goodness, and beauty. This classic understanding ruled the world of art and artists until the twentieth century, when higher purposes of art morphed into mere artistic expressions. When art is reduced to self-expression, it risks losing its ultimate purpose. But prior to the Greek philosophers are the first recorded words of our Creative God: “It is good.” Why did He say this? Why did He repeat it so many times? What did He mean? How does this narrative inform not only our understanding of God and His redemptive plan, but also the way we understand our callings as artists?


Artists in the Cleft - Between Church and Marketplace

Beat Rink

Artists who are Christians understand their talents as God-given. Therefore, they are ready to use them for the Glory of God and to be fully included in a church. Yet many of them express that they don’t feel really understood by other Christians. On the other hand, they neither feel that they are full members of the “marketplace”. How to solve this dilemma? What could help “Christian artists” to be active members in churches and to play at the same time a significant role in the marketplace? What could be the role of the church, which needs the artists and the arts as well?

Day 2

Speak the Truth in Love: Why We Do What We Do

Delta David Gier

We have been gifted by God; what, then, is our responsibility? How do we best serve God and our fellow man with the gifts we have been given? Our motivation is a key factor in our effectiveness in communicating through our art. And what is it we intend to communicate? Hopefully, truth – both from ourselves and, most importantly, from the larger perspective of our relationship to God and our shared humanity.


A Little Leaven: The Effect of Art on the Church and Society

Delta David Gier

This session will explore the good and bad effects art can have from both sacred and secular angles. The need for good art is obvious to those of us involved in its creation, but how do we best communicate its importance to those who do not think of art as influencing our culture for good or ill?

Day 3

Art, Artists, and the Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer

Tim Basselin

Prayer whispers our deepest longings to God, for ourselves and for those around us, and listens for God’s response. Artists practice similar longings and vulnerability as they reach beyond themselves to receive new insights and share their hearts with the world around them. This talk will discuss similarities between art-making and prayer, as well as consider how the practice of doing art might help others practice prayer in new and helpful ways.


Art, Artists, and the Spiritual Disciplines: Fasting

Tim Basselin

Fasting teaches us to deny the self for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Artists tend to practice forms of fasting for the sake of their art. In carving out time to practice art, artists must deny the many demands of other aspects of life in order to bring about something new. Understanding this practice in light of the Kingdom of God is helpful for artists. Also, Christians can learn from artists how to practice fasting more effectively.

Day 4

Anatomy of Art: Communicating and Interpreting Meanings

Todd Johnson

How does one have a thought, feeling, or an experience and communicate it to another person? St. Augustine was vexed by this question, and his answer helps us understand not just basic communication, but understand how arts are an important part of our communication. This session will explore the meaning of art and how the performance of art shapes its meaning and interpretation.


A Body of Meaning: Performance Arts and Human Development

Todd Johnson

Human beings are physical creatures who think, feel, and explore their world in and through their bodies. In the same way we create and experience art through our bodies. Using the performing arts as a test case, we will examine how understanding the gifts of our bodies helps us understand nature of humans art artists and the embodied nature of our faith.


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