Guelph Church Hosts Student Art Show

New Life Christian Reformed Church in Guelph, Ont., recently hosted an art display by nine Redeemer University College art students on the theme of the Temple.

The church’s ‘Art as Worship’ ministry plans five exhibits each year, inviting artists to display their work in the church and integrating that work into congregational worship. “We’re so pleased to finally host students of the Redeemer art department; this has been a goal of ours for a number of years,” said Worship Ministry Coordinator Nicole Ensing.

The nine students were part of the Intermediate Painting class at Redeemer. All were working on The Temple Project as their final assignment when the invitation came. The project required them to “reflect on the connotations of the word ‘temple’ and create an oil painting that brings size, materiality, imagery, and visual language to bear on the theme,” said professor Phil Irish.

The preaching team at New Life used the theme “The Temple” to integrate the art into worship, developing a preaching series for the Pentecost season based on the theme and the idea in 1 Corinthians of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

The students developed the theme in a variety of ways, looking at nature and the body as temples, the experience of worship, and the temple among world religions. “Each painting offers a unique take on what the temple represents,” said student Rachael Bosma of Hamilton in a media release. “They will add a new depth and richness to the conversation about the temple.”

The Temple Project was on display at the church May 24 through June 14; an event on June 7 involved six of the nine artists, as well as Irish. Thanking the church for hosting the students’ art, Irish said, “Moving a project from the personal into the public realm is a significant step for anyone wishing to shape culture and, for some of the makers here, this is their first step on that road.”

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