Worship Night at Intersections 2019

We sat down with Mark Tootle, Music Director at Faith Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, the host for our upcoming Intersections gathering, to talk about our upcoming Intersections Worship Night on Friday, March 8, 2019.

Mark, you’ve been a part of the arts scene for a long time in the Sacramento area. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I was part of Warehouse Christian Ministries from the early seventies through 2005. Due to the vision for the arts that Mary Neely had, the Lord blessed the church with amazing creativity. Worship was embraced by almost all the arts—music, spoken word, art, film, dramatic arts—and this filtered out into the community through exhibits, concerts, recordings, and fellowships centered around various art disciplines. To be part of that was rewarding and exacting, challenging and satisfying. Along the way I finished a degree in music composition, with some post-doc work.

After that, I was in a downtown church, First Baptist of Sacramento (founded in 1860). A smaller church, but I tried to maintain the same standard that I learned at Warehouse when it came to the arts.

I’ve been at Faith Presbyterian Church since January, 2017, a thriving, giving community of believers in the Pocket Area near Florin and I5.

Why do you think the arts are important to our faith?

Well, first I have to say that I am no expert on faith or the arts. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings on these things. Most of the time I feel that I’m just riffing on a moment’s inspiration instead of speaking from a lot of studying and living.

But I think art and faith are intricately connected. Although we can talk about them separately, they always happen together. Art is worship of some sort because all art is inspired. It begins when an artist has faith in something or someone. The art that comes out of this faith is giving worth to, or worshiping, that thing or person. This worth is given to the degree the artist believes it should be given, and therefore affects how much effort is put into the art. The artist can’t help it, they’re using their faith whether they know it or not, whether the art is ‘transcendent’ or not, ‘successful’ or not.

Can you tell us what we can expect from our upcoming Worship Night? Do you have any surprises for us?  

Friday night, March 3, will be filled with music, singing, dance, spoken word, and live painting.  Faith Presbyterian’s pastor, Jeff Chapman, will give a devotional based on the passage from Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus invites all of us to learn about Him and His ways. It’s from this passage, as translated by Eugene Petersen, where the conference gets its title, Rhythms of Grace. We’ll worship our Savior by exploring this passage in various ways through all these different disciplines.

We’re excited about the Worship Night on Friday night, March 8, beginning at 7 PM. There will also be a fellowship time afterwards as well. Please feel free to bring your friends, your fellow artists of faith, and family. Finally, you might consider bringing along your pastors and church leadership, to give them a sense of how the arts can be incorporated in more significant ways into corporate worship. Register here for this free event, and for the all-day Gathering on Saturday, March 9.

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Stepping Into Community…

nik-macmillan-151041-unsplashBeing an artist can sometimes be an isolating thing. Often times, we may find ourselves alone—playing in our bedroom recording studios, or painting in front of our easels, or writing in front of our computer screens. But the arts are a gift from God, meant to be shared for others and expressed with others. That’s how God wired us.

And that’s one of the reasons why INTERSECTIONS: FAITH & THE ARTS gatherings exist. To inspire, inform, express, and draw us together as artists in our common faith in Jesus. We’d love to have you join us at our next gathering on March 8th and 9th at Faith Presbyterian Church, 625 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA. It’s free and open to all artists and creatives, young and old, visual artist or performing artist, from amateurs to seasoned professionals. We believe that everyone will experience a rich time of inspiration, fellowship, and God’s presence.

INTERSECTIONS will be in two parts this time:

Friday, March 8th,  7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  A Night of Worship through the arts. Join us as we incorporate dance, painting, music, and other artistic expressions in worship with the theme “Rhythms of Grace.”

Saturday, March 9, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The Spring Gathering, our day-long, free gathering of artists of faith, themed “Embracing the Everyday Rhythms of Grace.” We’ll focus on embracing the spiritual aspects of our artistic practices so that we can become not only better artists, but also more spiritually connected with God through our craft.

Here’s our tentative schedule for Saturday morning:

8:30 a.m.  Registration & Refreshments  Art Gallery will be open, so you can mingle and enjoy the art from other attendees.

9:00 a.m.  Opening Session: Embracing the Everyday Rhythms of Grace. This will include an introduction to the topic, creative practice, and a panel discussion.

10:45 a.m.  Breakout Session 1: Break into discipline-specific groups, where you can talk spiritually and practically with others like yourself! Breakouts include Writing, Dance, Visual Arts, Music, Technical Arts, Theater, Spiritual Direction, and other topics. A dozen or more groups will breakout during this time.

12:00 p.m.  Lunch!  A free lunch will be provided by our host church, Faith Presbyterian Church. They’ll cook up a marvelous potato bar for us (yay culinary arts!).

1:00 p.m.  Breakout Session 2: All Breakout Sessions will be repeated so you can go to any two over the course of the day!

2:30 p.m.  Closing Session: Reflections on the day.

3:00 p.m.  Mingle & Goodbyes

For more information and to register for this free gathering, please follow the link. Please tell all your friends, and come to make more friends!

[Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash.]

Spring Gathering 2019

img_4154-1It’s certainly an exciting time to be an artist of faith. Churches are becoming more open to the idea that the arts can be a fundamental—even essential—expression of our faith in Jesus Christ. Books are being written, groups are being formed, and artist communities are banding together to share their art and their faith. Moreover, artists are feeling the freedom to express their faith in greater and greater ways, inside and outside the church—through music, dance, theater, poetry, film, and other ways.

The Sacramento area is no different. Over the past few decades, our area has seen many different artists sharing their faith in exciting ways. And one continuing expression of this is the INTERSECTIONS conference, now entering into its ninth year in the Sacramento area.

Our next INTERSECTIONS: FAITH & THE ARTS gathering will be held in two parts at Faith Presbyterian Church, 625 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA

Friday, March 8,  7 PM  to 8:30 PM – A Night of Worship through the arts. Join us and enjoy artistic expressions of worship.

Saturday, March 9, 8:30 AM-3:00 PM – The Spring Gathering, our day-long, free gathering of artists of faith-themed  “Embracing the Everyday Rhythms of Grace.” We will focus on how we can embrace the spiritual aspects of our artistic practices so that we can become not only better artists, but also more spiritually connected with God through our craft.

Malcolm Gladwell speaks of “ten thousand hours,” the idea that to be uncommonly great at anything, we must devote ten thousand hours to our craft. As artists, we understand that excellence in our craft demands both discipline and focus. The question is, where does God fit into those hours? Can our artistic practices also be spiritually helpful in strengthening our faith and increasing our intimacy with God?

img_4142-1We will explore these issues in practical and discipline-specific ways. If you are a dancer, painter, musician, writer, another artist, or are aspiring to be an artist, there is something for you.

The last few INTERSECTIONS gatherings have been rich in community and artistically inspiring. The only thing that’s missing is you.

To register for this free conference, please hit the LINK here, or click the Registration tab above. See you there!

[Photos: (1) A community mixed media art piece created by attendees at the INTERSECTIONS Spring 2018 Gathering; (2) A visual arts small group breakout.]