“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” -1 Corinthians 12:24-27
I just returned from Valleta, Malta where I had a rich experience of training in using the Expressive Arts in Transition. Together with 11 other expressive arts practitioners from around the world, I explored exile from the body as a result of trauma and displacement and what leads to embodied health through movement, painting, imaginative storytelling, photography and poetry. I am so grateful for the beauty that surrounded us, drew us together, and fed my soul. Out of this experience, I hope to offer more nuanced and effective restorative arts trainings and support to my International Ministries colleagues and global partners in ministry. I had the opportunity to hone my facilitation skills,
receive valuable peer and expert coaching, and expand my network of global practitioners who can partner in this restorative work.
In October I had the chance to experience this network expansion with fellow Expressive Arts therapist in training, Claire Baldry from the UK. She joined me to co-facilitate
a Restorative Arts training in Kathmandu, Nepal. I was invited by my International Ministries colleague, Carole Sydnor to train almost 60 Nepali leaders in arts-based coping strategies and collective care for teachers, counselors, pastors, youth workers, and emergency first responders.
I was able to mentor and supervise Claire as she stepped into this leadership role. Although it was her first time facilitating a group like this, we discovered that our gifts and styles worked together in beautiful ways. Her experience in movement, drama and musical theater added energy and spark to my hands-on visual arts and experiential education model of teaching. Claire mentioned that one of the key reasons she is drawn to this work is the pure joy she sees in those who are experiencing how much fun the
arts can be. One participant said, “Doing the different activities like drawing made me feel good. The things I learned in the past 3 days are very valuable and I will utilize them in my day to day life.” It was beautiful to be a part of the body that supports in
suffering and rejoices in play like the Corinthians passage alludes to.
Claire and I practiced our co-facilitation in Nepal and in Malta and are planning to do more co-facilitation in January and February of 2020. Part of the Expressive Arts in Transition certification includes supervised implementation of an EXIT group. Claire and I hope to implement a 10-session pilot program in Olympia, WA with folks experiencing homelessness. Please pray that the details for this project willcome together and that it will serve our neighbors and community well. This local experience will provide opportunity for learning that I will share with our global partners and IM colleagues supporting communities impacted by trauma, displacement and transition.
Each one of you is a part of the body of Christ and a part of the global ministry that I am called to. I am so grateful to be a part of something so much bigger than me. Thank you for being a part of it, too. I can’t do this life-giving work without you and your support. Thank you for partnering with me through your prayers, generosity and friendship. You matter!