Colin Brown

Monday, 5 July, 2010

Colin BrownJust over a year ago Colin Brown moved to Cornwall to start a fresh expression of church amongst the artistic community. It's a slow, steady task but one Colin, Church Army and the Diocese of Truro are committed to.

It's not easy starting a fresh expression of church from scratch at the best of times, but when you are trying to engage with a dispersed community of artists on the south coast of Cornwall, it is even more difficult. Colin Brown knows he has his work cut out. "As well as the joys of being in a beautiful place, and doing what I love to do – painting – I find myself with a lot of questions", he said.

Colin Brown - FlushingAnd it is quite a list: "How do I follow God's lead in this? Where do I put my energy today? How do I go about meeting people who don't go to church and help them to become aware of God in their lives… in their art? What might church look like for them, and what part do I play in developing that?"

But slowly and surely the way forward for Colin is beginning to emerge. He started with prayer, valuing the importance of listening, silence and space, and then realised God was leading him to meet certain people and opening certain doors. He was asked to help with chaplaincy work at the local art college, given the chance to mount an exhibition in a local pub, found a temporary studio space in a local vicarage and began to meet other artists at a weekly night class.

Colin Brown - FerryColin is at the stage of building community amongst those he meets. It is something which he believes he needs to take slowly and gently, and is grateful that both Church Army and the Diocese of Truro, who support him, agree. "They have given me the freedom and the permission to be here, as an artist amongst fellow artists, to be inculturated in the artistic community, and to be accepted".

He is aware of the risks he is taking too. He has worked for the church for 15 years but his pioneering work in Cornwall seems to be much more fragile. He's realised how important it is to gather those around him who 'get it' but still admits that things may not work out.

Colin Brown - harbour"I know that in this particular moment I need to be faithful to my sense of where God is leading me, but it may be that it all just fizzles out. But I know that I have been true to myself and I know God is saying to me 'Colin, enjoy it, enjoy the journey and don't think too much about what is going to happen tomorrow'".

And deep down Colin has a dream – to see lots of artists in and around Falmouth discovering and expressing a deep sense of God coming through their work. "And who knows where that might lead," he wonders.

Updates to, and learning points from, this story

Monday, 5 July, 2010 On Demand clip

Colin Brown discusses moving to Cornwall to start a fresh expression of church amongst the artistic community.