Colin Brown - update Jul10

Monday, 5 July, 2010

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

Duration: 4:15   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: Just 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 is committed to. He explained why.

Colin Brown: The early days of this vision began with my own desire to reach people for Christ, but also my desire to paint. I trained as a commercial artist, years ago, and that was my career before becoming a Church Army evangelist. And I thought I'd left all that behind, but God had other ideas. And I started painting in a time when I was in between jobs and found that I really loved doing it again. And surprise surprise, those paintings began to speak to people when  I exhibited them and they were affected, some people, to tears – and not because it was rubbish painting hopefully.

Introducer: And Colin realises that forming church in a specialised community of artists isn't easy.

Colin Brown: I'm supported here by Church Army on a stipend for at least five years, for which I'm very grateful. They've given me the freedom and the permission to just be here, be an artist amongst fellow artists – I think that's important, to be inculturated in the artistic community, to be accepted as an artist – but also they recognise that this will take a long time. I say at least five years, the recognition now is that we're talking about seven years to see any major fruit. Now that is also being supported, and that level of length of time is being supported by the diocese, in this case the Diocese of Truro. They're also recognising that these things take time. It may be of course, and under God it can be, that things happen a lot quicker, that we begin to see some real fruit before that period of time. And in some ways I hope so.

Introducer: And despite the beautiful surroundings of south Cornwall, and what many would see as a dream job, Colin is aware of the challenge he faces.

Colin Brown: At times it's felt risky to do this, to give up some sense of security – I think working in the church as I have done for the last fifteen years, there is a sense of well I know what to do on a Sunday morning or a midweek group, or even in terms of the mission of the church, enabling evangelism and mission in a local setting, and that was my previous work. But launching out, sometimes feeling quite vulnerable and isolated, has felt risky. I feel it's important to gather people who are with this, who get it, around the project, to be supported in their prayers, but also in just being able to talk it through with others who are on board so to speak.

Introducer: Colin is realistic, he knows he's doing something new, and knows that mission like this is daring.

Colin Brown: It may be that this just comes and goes, you know, it's just for a time. Who knows – God knows. I just know that in this particular moment I have to be faithful to my sense of where God is leading me and this work. As I say, my hope is that there are lots of people who are painting with a knowledge and love of God coming through their work – and who knows where that might lead – as well as a community forming. But it may be that it all just fizzles out. But at least I will have tried. At the end of the day, when I've had my time here, I will know that I've been true to myself. And one of the key things I keep hearing God say to me in this time is, Colin, enjoy it – enjoy the journey. Don't go too much thinking about well what's going to happen tomorrow. Live in the present moment. And I think that's a hard thing for me to do, and maybe for us all to do, but it is an invitation that has a lot of life to it for me.

Introducer: Colin Brown. And there's more about what Colin's trying to do in the stories section of our website.

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