Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recharging at the Women of Faith Conference in Hartford

A Reminder of How Arts are an Important Part of FaithBy Lauren Yarger
I enjoyed a nice break from the routine last weekend with a stop in at the Women of Faith Imagine Conference at the XL Center in Hartford. Speakers Sheila Walsh, Henry Cloud, Luci Swindoll and others gave women an opportunity to "escape from the everyday and be refreshed, encouraged and inspired."

The Friday night session brought home to me how the arts play a vital part in ministry. It's not that I don't know that. I head a Christian performing arts ministry and write for and about theater while encouraging those who minister in the arts everyday. Having others in the arts minister to me at the conference just confirmed how vital these media can be in conveying God's message -- especially when we're tired.

I had just returned home that day, at about 2:30 am after two weeks of being displaced. First a freak October snow storm robbed us of power for 10 days. Then, prior ministry commitments took me away for about 10 days. And somewhere along the way I had managed to lose my keys. I was exhausted, but the reward of getting to spend time with my friend and author/speaker Lucinda Secrest McDowell motivated me to drive over to the XL Center instead of to dive under the covers. I'm so glad I did,

First, Nicole Johnson entertained us with a talk about the many different roles played every day by women. It was accompanied with humorous costume pieces and dramatic elements to bring home the message. How effective drama is, I thought. A speech about the many aspects of a woman's life and all of the people depending on her for different things might have expressed the same sentiments, but the dramatic elements used by Johnson -- a little song, a construction hat, a chef's hat, a boa -- said so much more and stuck in the brain longer than a bunch of words could have.

Then we laughed, until we hurt, as comedian Ken Davis recounted experiences going through airport security, disciplining children and of all things, losing keys (boy, could I relate). God was able to use a servant's gifting as a storyteller to bring home a message about experiencing joy in the Lord. I know women got that message regardless of whether they knew God personally yet or not.

Then we were treated to the vocal talents of Natalie Grant who gave a concert and led worship.

It was the perfect battery charge for this servant who had been zapped of energy (both literally and figuratively) and a confirmation that the work I do is of vital importance.

The tour continues in 2012 with "Celebrate." To find out if it is coming to a city near you, visit http://www.womenoffaith.com/events/.

Christian Arts News Briefs Week of Nov. 14

  • Two $1,000 scholarships will be offered to the best male and female performer at the Christians in Theatre ARts (CITA) Secondary School Theatre Festival Jan. 27-28, 2012 in Greenville, SC. Representatives from Anderson University, Rocky Mountain College, Asbury College, Abilene Christian University, Lee University, North Greenville University and more will be attending. The festival is an opportunity for students who share their common faith and passion for theater to connect with one another during a weekend of workshops, professional performances and student performances for ajudication. For more information visiit the website. Updates also are available via Facebook.
  • Check out the latest thoughts on arts ministry in the church from storyteller/actor Chuck Neighbors at http://www.mastersimage.com/2011/11/09/plant-those-feet/.
  • Christian Theatre Scripts is celebrating two years of ministry. For the resources offered by Sandy Boikian, visit http://christiantheatrescripts.webs.com.
  • The Board of Directors of Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA) has named Tami Heim as CLA's new president and CEO. She will begin in this role on Jan. 1, 2012. Heim brings extensive leadership experience to this role including her service as president of Borders Inc., and as executive vice president and chief publishing officer of Thomas Nelson Inc.
  • Comedian Allen Edge is available for bookings. Transitions Edge Productions 312-458-9399 or email allen_dennis_edge@yahoo.com to book "The Edge of Sanity" for your special event.
  • The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced today that cash charitable giving to ECFA members continues to be very strong, totaling $9.38 billion last year, a 5.8 percent increase from the 2009 level of $8.87 billion. -- Religion Press Release Services
  • The Stoop Concert Series' upcoming concert this Saturday, Nov. 19 presents Paul Phillips Band (8 pm), Jeannine Hebb (9 pm), and Mary Bragg (10 pm). The event will be emceed by Chris MacIntosh (aka “Grandfather Rock”) of WCWP Radio. Doors open at 7:30 pm., and showtime is at 8pm. While the concert is free, The Stoop will be accepting suggested donations of $12. Receive a free gift with the full suggested cover. All drinks and concessions including beer and wine are inexpensively priced under $4. The Stoop venue and concert series is presented by Music Forum of Church For All Nations, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Church for All Nations is sponsoring the series in providing the landmark venue as a contribution to the cultural and spiritual life of Hell's Kitchen.

Project Dance Announces 2012 World Tour

Courtesy of Project Dance
Click on the city to register.

Event Producer: Randall Flinn

Event Producer: Debra Poole

Event Producer: Cheryl Cutlip

Event Producer: Lara Bianca Pilcher

Event Producer: Jeremiah Enna

Event Producer: Autumn Morgenstern

Event Producer: Lara Bianca Pilcher

Event Producer: Jackie Choi

Event Producer: Erin Lovrien

Dance is visual. Learn about the heart and soul of Project Dance by watching their promo video.

Project Dance has a vision to unite dancers who desire to “PERFORM WITH INTEGRITY TO INSPIRE”. Whether you are a professional dancer, student, teacher or choreographer, a company of dancers, a studio, or college ensemble, Project Dance has a place for you.

Dancers who attend Project Dance believe that their dance makes a difference. Dance has purpose beyond the steps and is an ever growing and changing form of expression within them. They also desire to network with other dancers who are like-minded and seek to build community among dancers worldwide. These dancers have a strong desire to train their bodies to their fullest potential. One of the other defining characteristics of dancers who attend Project Dance is the hunger to positively impact culture through artistic integrity. This movement of dancers seeks to bring hope and healing to others through the universal language of dance.

Click on the city of choice above and follow the registration instructions online. All payments will be accepted online in 2012. All registrations are due one month prior to each event. Registration fee does not include transportation, food, or accommodation. Payment method for London, Sydney and Hong Kong will be credit card only.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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