The Missional Heart Behind A Local Art Show

26 Oct 2023

By Amy Galliford

Two churches of Christ communities in the ACT joined forces to hold a weekend-long art exhibition in late September, with a particular missional focus on the city of Canberra.

In the building where members of NationsHeart church usually gather for Sunday morning church services, Canberra locals gathered to appreciate a showcase of paintings, collages, jewellery, pottery and photographs – all creations of artists both known and undiscovered in the area.

“It was about creative people coming together, but mostly it was about building community between two churches that welcome people on the fringes,” says Naomi Giles, Ministry Team Leader of NationsHeart.

The event was the idea of Missionheart, a sister church of NationsHeart Christian Community, which has held many similar art events over the past 15 years.

With its distinct focus on reaching out to the homeless and marginalised, Missionheart gathers for church in a local park beyond the walls of a church building. When leaders approached NationsHeart for a venue, the two churches decided to host the show together.

As well as continuing Missionheart’s widely enjoyed tradition, this year’s event raised money for its emerging ministry and to develop an outdoor community space at NationsHeart.

Missionheart has purchased a property and is renovating it so people from challenging life circumstances can come to live alongside healthy Christian families in pursuit of freedom and wholeness. It is being called Missionhouse.

Kelly Hayduk, a leader at Missionheart, explains, “We’re getting Missionhouse ready so people with various life issues can come and live here – not as a refuge, but as a long-term option for getting their life back on track.”

For both churches, however, the fundraising effort was peripheral to the goal of building community, especially for those often on the fringes of church and society. An arts and crafts show provided a captivating centrepiece for this gathering, catalysing new conversations and creating space for people to share the stories behind the artworks.

Beyond this, the event offered an outlet for Missionheart church members to express the talents often buried by the chaos of their circumstances – this being the original goal of the church’s art shows.

Kelly Hayduk walks closely alongside people in such situations, explaining,

“Sometimes I think the people who end up in addiction and in difficult life circumstances are incredibly misunderstood. They’re quite creative, and they think creatively. They are actually quite talented people who just need an outlet to be able to express that and share it with other people.”

Both Kelly and Naomi recall the red grand piano, which was featured at the event as a highlight. The red grand is the only one of its kind in Australia and provided another creative element to the weekend. Sourced by a NationsHeart member who works as a piano tuner, it was played by various community members who responded by quietly sharing their musical talents in a way that really added joy to the event.

Missionheart welcomes prayers for its ongoing Missionhouse preparations as it continues alongside NationsHeart to provide spaces where all are welcome, and where people’s talents can be nurtured.

Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE