Aug. 6, 2018.

By Lay Minister for Worship & Arts Susan Bennett.

As they sometimes do, an experience in worship at UUCF has stayed with me. The Sanctuaries DC was leading worship last month and, in his opening words, Rev. Erik Martínez Resly asked how many of us thought of ourselves as artists? He was visibly pleased by the many hands that went up, remarking that usually only a few hands were raised and then he explained that creativity was the birthright of all. Whether we label ourselves artists or not, we all possess inherent creativity. Whether we create what we think of as art with a capital A, use it to find new solutions to tricky problems at work or find unique ways to parent a challenging child, we bring our creativity to every aspect of our lives.

As the service proceeded and different people shared creative reflections, sharing themselves through musical and spoken art, I reflected on how UUCF has been a nurturing place for me to explore my creativity in a safe and welcoming community. I realized that 15 years ago I would not have raised my hand when asked that artist question. Over my time at UUCF, I’ve come to view creativity as an integral part of my spiritual practice and my identity. I’ve had many opportunities here to take chances, create and collaborate with others in plays, Vespers, storytelling for the children on Sunday mornings and creating many Wheel of the Year rituals with the Women’s Ritual Council. I’ve grown as a spiritual person and as an artistic being in part because of my engagement at UUCF.

I’ve found that what works to expand my creativity is to be intentional about setting aside time for creative pursuits. Just showing up at the writer’s desk or the easel is the first step. Exposing yourself to different types of art and music and new ideas helps too. Taking a class to learn a new technique can jumpstart your creativity. Being willing to be not so good at something is a good beginning as well. I’ve learned you have to write a lot of bad poetry before you write a pretty good poem and that it’s not my job to judge the work, it’s just my job to create it.

So even if you wouldn’t raise your hand if asked “are you an artist?” consider how your life could be enriched and enlivened by some creative engagement. UUCF has many ways you are invited to participate in the arts. Our music program has opportunities for engagement at all skill levels. You could lead (or co-lead) a Vespers, try out the Poetry Club or the Memoirs Writing Group or submit a work of art for display in our ARTspeaks space. I hope as activities resume this fall you’ll consider trying something new, taking a risk in this safe and nurturing community. Who knows where it might lead!