Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's a Good Day to Fly...

Well it's been a while since I've been on this blog!

But I'm on the road again, this time to Birmingham, UK.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the door is open...but that's here.  There, well, it's England--the suitcase is packed with umbrella, rain gear and woolies needed for England's soggy and cool climate...ah well...there are tea and scones to be had as well...compensation.

Our project? SALT: Strategic Arts Leadership Training.  I go with five other staff to join 24 artists coming from several nations across Europe and North Africa.  Why England?

We are being hosted by Life Hope, a ministry of OM UK that has desired to be arts base so much that they are hosting us for little more than tuppence, including facilities, accommodations and meals.  (Thank you Life Hope!  You can learn more about them here.)  Why are they taking on such an expense?

Last year, Life Hope sent a staff member, a visual artist,  to our school of mission for artists.  (Two other staff members--dancers--visited for a bit during the school.)  The field leader told us the artist came back a changed person; the dancers were inspired and begged for more training.  Could we come and do that at Life Hope?  Could we host a SALT?  Further training to solidify the arts through these three young ladies?  And send some short term teams? It was an offer we couldn't refuse!

We compiled an invitation list, targeting all the field with an arts champion in place, other artists working with them, and others on the field, not practicing, but considering arts ministry and not sure how to begin.  Then we shocked ourselves when we realized we had 80 on the list!  Did we really have that many artists now in Europe?!

Yes.  Not all are directly associated with us, but most are or want to be.  The community of artists we dreamed about for Europe is growing, and now we hope to solidify that community in the next couple of years so we can move this party to the next continent.  SALT is a major effort towards that goal.  Imagine if we can raise up 25 more arts ministry leaders...not just artist missionaries, but leaders.

I very much feel like I'm going 'home' to a reunion.  I know about half the players, but everyone is known by someone on our staff.  We will also be doing some preliminary meetings on the school for artists in Italy (2014), as our logistics man on the ground in Italy will be attending the SALT, also desiring further training in our ethos and practices.

We are also delighted that Erica Logan, Managing Director of Heart Sounds International, will be joining us as one of the facilitators.  We don't get enough opportunities to work with this unique ministry, and are excited to begin forging some joint projects with them.  

The training will be run forum style, with those with a little mileage under their belts sharing what has worked and what hasn't, so the newbies can avoid maybe some of the same potholes.  Then we too as staff will be speaking into various modules, and sending participants home with a flash drive loaded to the max with resources.   

We fly into Manchester, a van takes us to Halesowen (near Birmingham), where Life Hope is located.  After lunch with the crew there, we'll settle into our digs, stay awake as long as we can, then return for dinner.  I'm sure we'll be more than ready to crash into bed after dinner.  The next two days will be planning meetings, and then one more day of planning meetings for the school, and then our participants arrive.  Pray we stay awake during the meetings and are through the worst of jet lag to greet our artists!  

I'd post a picture, but haven't quite figured out the ins and outs of posting pix from mac to blogpost!  Anyone out there got some suggestions?!

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