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
Ian loves to worship God using music from around the world. When Ian and his family lived in the Himalayas, he learned instruments, composed in local styles and helped indigenous churches express Christian worship in their own way—it became natural to sing indigenous songs when chatting with people!
In the UK, Ian has helped develop multicultural worship in his former local church and others, starting a multicultural band in 2011. As an ethnodoxologist, Ian teaches on world worship music at All Nations College and London School of Theology.
Ian and Helen lead Arts Release, aiming to raise up artists for cross-cultural ministry.
Helen came to know Jesus through the West End musical Godspell and is a committed champion of the arts. With Ian, she joined WEC in 1987 and for several years lived and brought up the family in Asia. They have three married, adult children and two grandsons. IN 2008, Helen and Ian started the Arts Release ministry, with Helen overseeing administration, hospitality, logistics, prayer and pastoral care. She loves multicultural worship and enjoys and encourages all other art disciplines. Helen is a natural networker and likes to be involved with refugees and asylum seekers.
In many ways, Arts Release Drama is Birte’s dream job since it combines three of her passions: drama, theology and culture. From a young age Birte loved drama, and had many different experiences, including in professional playhouses. She studied drama therapy in the Netherlands. Eleven years of missionary work in Mongolia led to a firm conviction that drama is a powerful tool to evangelise, teach and disciple. From 2010 Birte has been performing and teaching all over the world with a vision to enable locals and missionaries to use drama forms appropriate to their culture to help audiences grow in their personal relationship with God.
Tim and Fiona are part of a church in Normandy, France. Before that they were missionaries in Chad, Africa, for 8 years. 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.
Most of Fiona’s childhood was spent in Congo (Zaire) and Zambia as a child of missionaries. Being called to mission, She and Tim worked in Chad, Africa, for 8 years, where she learnt many essential life lessons in her walk with God in the desert. Now, in France, she has been able to develop her artistic gifts, painting and using art to provoke opportunities to share her faith. She is exploring the role of art in the church, as worship and for healing. Together with Arts Release colleagues, she recently helped organize and contributed works to an international arts exhibition in the European City of Culture 2016, San Sebastián/Donostia.
Juan and Ainara Arvelo
Juan and Ainara live in the Basque Country, Spain along with their children Alain and Araia, advocating the use of arts in ministry. They desire to see local Christian artists empowered to use their talents to worship God and reach out to others. Both have been involved with the arts since 2012 when they organized the first ever song writing workshop in the Basque community. They have also been involved with “Welcome Donostia,” an art competition celebrated the same year that their city was the European cultural capital. Juan is currently enrolled in an MA with a major in world arts at Dallas International University and look forward to putting into practice everything he is learning.
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