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February 4, 2011 - 

A new art ministry called “The Mess” is providing a new avenue for relational ministry in Kingston, Ontario.

Mechele TeBrake of First Christian Reformed Church and her friend Sandi Dodds meet in a spare room of Martha’s Table, a charitable organization that provides daily low-cost, nutritious meals to those in need.

Up to10 people come each week to express themselves through art, with art supplies provided for free.

TeBrake and Dodds demonstrate techniques and work on their own art, and they are part of the group giving critiques of each others’ work.

But the Mess is about more than just art. It is a vehicle for ministry. “It is not so much about creating art as it is about creating relationships,” TeBrake said.

The group has a lot of fun as friendships are developed.

 “I come to the Mess because something great is happening here, and I want to be part of it. Art is a big part of who I am. It is relaxing and fun here and [the] ladies have big hearts,” said Bob, a regular participant.

Another woman who didn’t want to give her name said, “I come because The Mess showed me I like painting. I also come because I know you will listen to me and I don’t get that very much.”

During a recent Mess meeting, someone was having a personal crisis and the group was there to help.

TeBrake observed that she sees people taking steps towards different choices, but she is very clear that the ministry doesn’t try to change them.

“We just love them and let God change them,” she said.

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