WHO WE ARE
Arts Release is a collective of creative arts specialists who love Jesus and people of other cultures. We enjoy expressing God’s love through various art forms. Some of us have professional arts training and others have picked up skills on the way. Some of us are full-time, others part-time. We are currently based in England, France, Germany, Spain and Singapore.
Arts Release is the new name for ‘Resonance’, the cross-cultural arts ministry of WEC International. WEC is committed to crossing cultures to make disciples, starting churches where there are few, and praying to see Jesus known, loved and worshiped.
Meet the leaders
BIRTE PAPENHAUSEN - GERMANY/NETHERLANDS - DRAMA/ORALITY
Birte is a drama therapist (BA) and Theologian (MA). Upon joining WEC International in 2001, she lived and worked in Mongolia for more than 10 years. She then became a drama theologian and her passion and expertise is in communicating God’s truth in creative ways, mainly through storytelling and drama. She has been a member of Arts Release since 2009 and conducts training in drama and orality while using it herself in evangelism, discipleship, and teaching. Having been a guest teacher for many years at Cornerstone, and since 2021 as a fulltime staff on campus, Birte is investing into the next generation of missionaries and hopefully multiplying the number of people who joyfully and intentionally use oral communication tools to reach the unreached. She is available to teach at conferences or workshops on invitation. You can listen to Birte’s podcast, “Discover oral teaching” on iTunes, Spotify and other platforms.
TIM FUNG - FRANCE - MUSIC
Tim is a worship leader. Being of mixed cultural backgrounds himself, he loves fusions of music styles. He joined the first WEC multicultural worship band and caught the bug for releasing heart worship through expressions that most profoundly represent the diversity of God’s people. In 2012, God called him to start Arts Release in France and among French-speaking peoples. He loves facilitating times when God brings into being new songs. He uses multicultural music for outreach and deepening true fellowship within the church community.
FIONA FUNG - FRANCE - VISUAL ARTS
Fiona is a self-taught visual artist who uses many techniques: oil, acrylic, watercolour, acrylic ink, resin, Lino printing, henna..., and loves exploring the visual arts to use in ministry. Art is her passion even though she has a science background, which is complementary to her work. Most of Fiona’s childhood was spent in DRC Congo (Zaire) and Zambia as a child of missionaries. In 2000 she joined WEC International with her husband, Tim, and their 3 girls, working in Chad for 8 years, before coming to France. It was in France that Fiona grew as an artist, developing her artistic gifts in painting and using art to provoke opportunities to share the faith, in discipleship in a church plant and on spiritual retreats. Currently, she runs the online French "Studio Créatif", and organises the yearly Global Creative Studio Day online event, to encourage creatives of all kinds and with all levels of proficiency, in developing and using their giftings for God's kingdom. Fiona also offers workshops on visual art techniques and henna storytelling. In addition to Arts Release, she is also on the WEC France Branch Leadership team, and one of the leaders in a small church planting network in Normandy. To see some of her work check out her Instagram: @fionafungart
JUAN ARVELO - SPAIN - ARTS RELEASE CONSULTANT
Originally from Venezuela, Juan joined WEC in 2008 and lives with his wife Ainara and three children in Spain serving among the Basque People in the north. He holds a Master's Degree in World Arts from Dallas International University and is a board member of the Global Ethnodoxology Network (GEN). Alongside his wife, they have been involved with the use of arts in ministry since 2012 when they organized the first-ever songwriting workshop for the Church in the Basque region. They also helped organize an art competition called “Welcome Donostia,” which was held the same year their city was named the European capital of the culture. Their vision is to see the Church embracing their local art forms to worship God and reach out to others.
Chris and Rachel
Chris and Rachel hail from opposite sides of the world, but a love of the arts and a desire to use it cross-culturally for mission and worship sent them to West Asia for almost 15 years. While there, they used foreign and local music styles for public evangelism for majority Muslim audiences in the region, helped to pioneer worship training camps with national believers, and branched into drama, dance and puppetry in later years for other street-based evangelistic events. Now based in the UK, they serve in a new non-English speaking church plant helping with music, and with the Resonance bands.
ANNE SOH - SINGAPORE - ARTS ADVOCATE
Anne is a music educator from Singapore who taught in a secondary school as well as worked as a curriculum specialist for music in the Ministry of Education, Singapore where she oversaw the publication of music syllabuses, textbooks, and teaching resources. Having completed the MA in Arts with Mission at All Nations Christian College (UK) in 2016, she joined WEC International (Singapore) in 2019 where she now leads the Arts Release Singapore team. Her role centres on mobilising and training artists for mission, and organising local and overseas arts outreach activities. Anne keeps a blog where she occasionally writes on K-drama theology, and other faith and arts-related subjects. She co-edited and contributed a chapter to the book Arts Across Cultures: Reimagining the Christian Faith in Asia (Regnum, 2022), and is also a regular contributor to the Biblical Wisdom for Parents online magazine published by Our Daily Bread Singapore.
AMY YEN - SINGAPORE - MUSIC/DRAMA
Amy has been serving in the music ministry since her teenage days. She and her family relocated to Leeds, UK when they joined WEC International under the ministry of Arts Release in 2018. In the UK, she was the Resonance Band coordinator as well as singer with the band. After attending the Arts for a Better Future course with All Nations College, Amy and her husband, Tun I, started the first Creative Studio in 2019 before moving it online with the pandemic. The training also encouraged Amy to explore other creative expressions like storytelling and drama. Besides her foray into storytelling like using STS, Amy is also an active member of an online Playback Theatre group under the mentorship of Birte Papenhausen. Her time in the UK has opened her eyes to intercultural worship and that has led her to be trained as a multicultural worship trainer. Her passion is to really equip and organise workshops that will help God’s creatives to use their talents for His kingdom.
Do you have a calling for the arts in ministry, but feel that you are not able? Many times, we are surprised at who God calls, as this family here can testify.
When God calls us, we often think to change the world. Then, we find that we are more changed and blessed by that calling then we can imagine.
WHAT WE DO
Arts Release focusses on the arts that have the greatest resonance (or ‘ring true’) for particular individuals and groups. This usually reflects the cultures and societies where they were raised. We engage with the arts in various ways:
Outreach projects / Discipleship and healing / Training and mobilizing / Creative Activity / The worship of Jesus
We value people’s own identity. We have discovered that people respond most deeply to the music, movement, art, poetry and stories that connect with their unique background.
This means our usual approach is to be facilitators for others - to help draw out artistic expressions that are already latent in them. At the same time, this does us good! We find our own understanding of God and his truth broadening and deepening through the expressions of others’ cultures
“We all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done”
These kinds of arts release untapped potential for outreach, healing, transformation, prayer and worship.
“Through arts that connect with their unique identities, God seems to speak right into people’s hearts and this leads them closer to Jesus, whether they have heard of Jesus before or have yet to be introduced.”
(Arts Release Leader)
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
See the sections on Music & Worship, Drama, and Visual Art to discover more about what Arts Release does and how to get involved in these areas, including skill levels required.
More generally, we are looking for people for these kinds of roles:
Specialists trainers with cross-cultural experience in storytelling, poetry and movement/dance
Language: Long-termers and full-timers need to have or be willing to gain a good working knowledge of English, especially for international communication. Part-time volunteers need only the language for their ministry. Ministry in non-English speaking countries usually requires facility in the local language, such as French or German.
Specialist Training: Arts Release will recommend specialist training for arts in mission, depending on the work being undertaken.
Finances: In keeping with WEC International’s well-established approach to faith and finance, full-time and short-term workers trust God for their own funds. As members embark on this journey of faith, they discover that God is well able to provide for their every need.
WEC International is a Registered Charity in England, Wales and Scotland, numbers: 237005 and SCO37715