Five days is a long time for a short report.
The last five days were spent at a gathering of arts and ministry leaders from the UK, France, Hungary, Switzerland, US, Austria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Bulgaria who use their art to express the values of the Kingdom of God, and disciple, mobilize, and encourage others. The Arts Plus event (https://www.artsplus.info/events) took place in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to encourage and help Bulgarian brothers and sisters to do the same. Professional musicians, sculptors, painters, actors, dancers, filmmakers, pastors, and catalysts–all strategizing together.
I gave a report on our work in Ukraine and the situation there and led a time of prayer and intercession. Both sessions were very intense as the outcome of the war has major repercussions for all nations in Europe: e.g., Sofia is only 400 miles from the nearest Ukrainian border.
It was a great time for building relationships and the chance to think and plan how we could work together to come alongside Ukrainian artists and musicians now and in the future. We heard from some amazing young Bulgarian musicians, saw the work of professional painters and sculptors, discussed, shared meals, prayed, worshipped, and laughed together. I loved my time with new friends from the UK–Bishop Rob Gillion from Streatham and Southwark, London, and mixed-media artist Paul Hobbs.
You must see the work of Bulgarian sculptor/painter Nickolay Steffanov on the Prodigal Son (http://nickolaysteffanov.wix.com/gallery) and Paul Hobbs’ work on modern martyrs. (https://www.arthobbs.com/unknown-martyrs)
It was also good to connect with Jim and Anne Mills who have been working in creative ministry in Europe for decades and have many relationships in common with us! (Kirk and Deby Dearman!)
Special thanks to fellow IWS alum Jill Ford, Amy WIlliams from OM, ACT colleagues Diane and Glenn Collard who invited me, and ACT’s Steve Thrall who works in France. Everyone attending prayed and expressed active support for musicians and artists in Ukraine.
I loved my first time in Bulgaria, and experiencing the hearts and gifts of the dear brothers and sisters we spent time with.
In just a few hours, I fly to Warsaw and Krakow, Poland where I will meet up with long-time friend and ministry colleague Jim Gilbert as well as former students and see more opportunities for ServeUkraine before heading into Ukraine on Thursday. Please pray.