Name: Jill Ford
Organizations/Affiliations: All Nations Christian College
Arts Release previously known as Resonance Arts/WEC: www.facebook.com/loveartsrelease
World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission
Arts Plus Europe
Christian Artists Seminar
How did you get started in ethnodoxology?
My journey in ethnodoxology began through my working partnership with Ian Collinge (of Arts Release), who introduced me to the concept back in 2004 when he ran the first World Worship Music module at All Nations Christian College. I caught the vision and subsequently made sure that we not only maintained Ian’s vital teaching role with All Nations but also that this concept expanded from music into all of the arts as we started to develop the All Nations creative curriculum. We also began to explore opportunities to foster multicultural worship training in the UK.
One area we have developed is through the practical ministry training at All Nations where we have a team called “Hearts for Mission.” This team goes into local churches to deliver “bespoke” services, designed for each church, incorporating multicultural worship and using art forms specific to that congregation. This helps to mobilize and encourage the churches in local, national, and international mission. We have also done a number of multi-arts events for churches in London as a group called “Imagine,” and recently we have been focusing on Indian contextualized worship in the framework of a “Satsang.” This is a model understood in the Hindu context that has been adapted and contextualized for Christian worship. This has been received very positively at the popular Greenbelt Arts Festival in the UK as well as in churches trying to reach out to the Hindu community.
What has been one of your favorite moments in ethnodoxology?
Modeling it through our Multicultural Events at All Nations. These are evenings where we celebrate cultural diversity through a range of art forms, showing members of local churches and the community how God can be worshipped in amazing and varied ways. For example, the program might consist of bilingual worship songs which are easy for the audience to join; art exhibitions showcasing student work where they have studied and produced art forms linked with aspects of our culture and identity; food from all over the world provided by international students; or guest artists like Suzanna Harrington, who danced the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 24 in the Indian Bharatanatyam genre, thereby demonstrating to the audience how dance forms from an Indian context can be used worshipfully. These Multicultural Events are the culmination of the multi-arts training that our students receive at All Nations, but they also demonstrate to the audience how God can be worshipped, praised, and celebrated in culturally diverse and imaginative ways, and that these artistic forms are accessible to the local church and can be used by them too.
What do you hope will be different in 25 years through ethnodoxology?
That Gatherings of mission-minded global world leaders seeking advancement of the Kingdom would embrace the beauty and power of ethnodoxological expressions, and that this perspective would infuse all Christian gatherings around the world, as well as the local church.
That theological and mission training schools would seek to foster and incorporate the arts and principles of ethnodoxology in to their curriculum, and that they would value and affirm the relationship between the arts, culture and faith.
To see towns and cities transformed for the Kingdom through worship and the arts. Again that the principles of ethnodoxology—using culturally appropriate art forms to express our relationship with God—would impact major cultural events. That people would see afresh the relationship between art, culture, and faith, and that the church would take a positive lead in recovering, restoring, and celebrating that connection.