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Home  >  Features  >  Looking Back: Church Arts Centre

Looking Back

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Friday March 4 2022

Looking Back: Church Arts Centre

From March 1947, an early attempt at what we would now call a 'Pioneer Ministry'.

Church Arts Centre


WHEN Nehemiah, after looking over the broken wall of Jerusalem, called upon the people to rise up and build, he was stating not just a metaphorical platitude but a literal truth. The Church is conscious that in our own day we must get back to that sense of being part of a creative order. In this the relationship between the Church and the artist is very important; creative activity is in fact Art.

In order to strengthen this relationship the Church of Scotland, through its Youth Committee and Home Board Committee, have embarked upon an important and significant scheme.

The Davidson Church, Eyre Place, Edinburgh (a disused church), has been taken over to become the Church’s own Art Centre. It has three main functions:

(1) To experiment in the use of the Arts in the service of the Church. For example, to construct exhibitions which can convey in a living and direct manner some of the issues to be faced in the world today. At the moment about 60 young people are there from the Presbytery of Edinburgh, constructing with their own hands their own Exhibition which will be shown in Edinburgh before touring the country. Here is real creative activity. It is also planned to “step up” the publicity of the Church along the lines of posters, leaflet design, etc.

(2) To encourage and stimulate an appreciation of Art in the whole of life, not only in painting and design but in the everyday things of life. There is a great need to realise the part that beauty and creation play in life. Ugliness in life and in worship can only be a negation of God.

(3) Education. With the rise of so many of our living young communities in the form of Church Clubs and Fellowships (a healthy sign in the Church) there has come the need to hold classes in Arts and Crafts and in all forms of creative activity – in other words, to bring a sense of purpose and creation into life.

The man in charge of this new experiment is an ex-airman. He is the Rev. James Chisholm, M.A., Director of Arts and Crafts to the Church of Scotland. He is himself an artist and has experience in leading Youth Clubs and Community Centres.

New Ministry to the Arts Begins

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