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Home  >  Features  >  Pioneer Ministry: 'Incredibly Exciting and Utterly Challenging'


Pioneer Ministry: 'Incredibly Exciting and Utterly Challenging'

Thursday November 7 2019

Pioneer Ministry, a pilot project launched by the Ministries Council of the Church of Scotland in 2015, places ministers in a variety of new settings and locations.
In a weekly series, the five Pioneer Ministers share their experiences.

The Rev Peter Gardner is Pioneer Minister Visual Arts Communities of Glasgow

“My pioneer ministry is among the artists, galleries, workshops and studios of Glasgow, where there is a wonderful vitality and creativity.

“I believe that creativity is an essential part of being human, of being made in the image of the Creator. I believe that God’s love for Glasgow’s artists is beyond doubt and beyond measure and that the Holy Spirit is at work among them. Therefore, the tasks of Pioneer Ministry are to love those whom Christ loves, to discern what the Holy Spirit is doing among Glasgow’s visual arts, to get involved, and to nurture supportive, faith-filled community

“Some artists describe what they do as a ‘calling’, a ‘vocation’, saying, ‘this is who I am, I can do no other’ and their work is a way of exploring the deepest questions of existence. Yet, at the same time, many of them struggle, they work incredibly hard, working long hours, feeling isolated, undervalued and misunderstood. Their art is often created at huge personal cost, it comes with a lack of income and an insecure future.

“I work in a studio in The Briggait studio complex, keeping the studio door open in welcome as much as possible, valuing listening more than telling. I meet with artists in their studios, offering pastoral care and a listening ear. My wife Heidi and I work together under the artists’ name, Gardner & Gardner. We have developed an art practice in site-specific art installations, choosing to share the Gospel through making rather than preaching. I am part of The Morphē Arts Glasgow group, which meets in my studio, preferring to nurture faith-filled community in partnership with other Christian organisations, rather than in competition with them.

“The last two and a half years of Pioneer Ministry have been incredibly exciting and utterly challenging. I constantly feel overwhelmed and surprised by where God has taken me in ministry and have to keep reminding myself to be brave and to trust the Spirit that God has given us, who is not timid, but a Spirit of power, of love and a sound mind’”

For more information visit

Last week: Chris Blackshaw, pioneer farming minister

This feature first appeared in October's Life and Work. Download a single issue for £1.99 or subscribe from £12.