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Arts+ Europe: Annual Gathering in Sofia/Bulgaria (8-11 Sept 2022)

Living Proof of a Loving God to a Watching World

Report by John Baker

In Arts+ the relationships and fellowship are as important as the business to be done, so coming together again and sharing over the first dinner was a great joy.

After dinner, Jill Ford led a Panel Discussion based on the four areas of Arts+ ministry, involving Paul Hobbs (Artist), Bishop for the Arts Rob Gillion (The Church), Amy Williams (Academy/training) and Jim Mills (The Marketplace).

Respective topics discussed were:

How do you express your faith through your art?

What are some of the ways you have expressed your own creativity in the Church?

How did you become involved in the training ministry of Inspiro Arts Alliance?

How have you been involved with artists in the marketplace in the European context and where do you see the need for creative renewal?

Lively discussion followed around future challenges and opportunities in the four areas of Arts + ministry.

The next day we explored the importance of artists (and others) having ‘spiritual mothers and fathers’ - people who can watch over them as they develop, giving wise guidance when needed and helping them to be accountable.

Two interactive training sessions were held on ‘The Arts and the Church’ and ‘The Artist in the Market Place’ led by Executive Leaders Beat Rink and Jim Mills.

We also heard encouraging updates from each of the National Roundtables and held a training session on 'Launching a Roundtable.’

The room in which we met was filled with inspiring art from Bulgarian artists, a taster for the superb Local Arts Evening which involved Bulgarian instrumentalists, singers and poets, evoking Bulgarian culture.

On Saturday we had a lively meeting with around 20 Bulgarian leaders and influencers involved in the arts and, happily, it was firmly resolved to form a Bulgarian Arts+ Roundtable.

Worship sessions on both Saturday and Sunday were filled with a cornucopia of cultural inputs and reflections based in a variety of artistic genres. This included multicultural worship, a deeply moving talk on ‘Hope in Times of Crisis’ by Bishop Rob Gillion, and reflections and prayers on the Ukraine conflict led by Fred Heumann.

Meals together at ‘The Palace of Happy People’ were times of lively fellowship and enjoyment and, as ever, we finished with dinner for all.

The Group (a few are missing):

Photos by: Regula Lustenberger, Krisztina Tarjányi, Beat Rink, and Verena Schnitzhofer.


The executive Team says "Thank you for joining the Arts+ Europe network!"


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