In 1997, a concerned group of church members realized the treasured liturgical arts of the Episcopal Church were quietly fading away. The desire to preserve these traditions and create a space filled with fellowship resulted in the development of Faith, Art, and Creative Expression: A Liturgical Arts Conference at Kanuga.
“Our goal was to create a conference where people could come and learn how to do the liturgical part of an altar guild—how to make linens, vestments, and kneelers,” says founding member Marnie Smith. “It was something we wanted to do, because the people who were doing it were dying out, and the younger people didn’t know how to do it.”
Sharing, Learning, and Touching Lives
The idea quickly became a reality with the first conference boasting a host of knowledgeable teachers and 50 guests. As years passed and Lark Howell joined as conference coordinator, the conference grew and changed. It added other offerings such as photography, painting, and art journaling. While these classes are not directly tied to altar guild functions, they provide a way for people to draw near to the Divine.
“It’s called the Holy Spirit,” says Robin Smith, Marnie’s husband and a photography teacher at the conference. “Yes, we do art. Yes, we do linens, but lives are also changed dramatically.”
Growing Spiritually through Art
This year, the conference includes a variety of tracks including flower arranging, photography, embroidery, illuminated letters, art journaling, watercolor painting, and free studio time. While each class is taught by an expert in the field, guests shouldn’t be surprised if they leave with a renewed sense of spirituality.
“This is a far reaching conference—people go home ready to practice their talents more deeply and more spiritually. And they also go home enriched in mind, body and spirit,” says Robin. “And that’s the goal. It’s not so much about sewing or creating a piece of art. It’s about getting in touch with yourself.”
Sign up Now to Attend
For those who yearn to grow spiritually, but are unsure of their artistic skills, the conference is open to all. “Come on anyway; you’ll learn,” says Robin. “If you have the desire, you’ll learn. It’s great watching someone with a great attitude come out and blossom.”
This year’s Liturgical Arts Conference is held August 19-24 at Kanuga with scholarships available. For pricing and class details learn more on the conference page.