Music and poetry as arts festival launches today in Redbridge

Jazz bands, painting workshops and Caribbean poetry readings make up part of a two-week arts festival held by churches in Redbridge.

The activities are part of the Arts Festival for the Barking Episcopal Area taking place from today to October 14.

The festival begins with an evening of Christian music from different centuries at St Mary’s Church, High Road, South Woodford, from 5pm today.

Rev Jonathan Evens, one of the organisers, said: “We try to encourage churches to use the arts in their mission and ministry and one of the ways we do that is to organise an arts festival.

“We are very excited about the whole festival.

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“There’s a really good variety with lots of musical events as music plays a big part in churches.”

Art plays an integral part in explaining worship and Christianity said Mr Evens, and it is important that churches reach out into the community.

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He added: “As Christians we believe that God created us and made human beings creative.

“To be involved is a way of praise to God. Everyone can relate to art in different ways and it gives people a whole different way of thinking about Christianity.”

On October 12, there will be a poetry reading at St Paul’s Church, Cross Road, Woodford Green, from 7.30pm, with storytelling and an Olympic-themed digital art exhibition.

“I’m really looking forward to the poetry evening as that’s one of my favourite types of art.

“We have some really good people coming,” Mr Evens said.

Other highlights include an art exhibition on October 13 at All Saints’ Church, Inmans Row, Woodford Green, from 10am-7.30pm.

It is free and includes works by members of commission4mission, an organisation encouraging churches to buy contemporary works of art.

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