The Bishop of Barking writes:
"Historically The Diocese has a history of excellence in the support of the arts. Bishop George Bell of Chichester was a pioneer in relating the arts to Christian worship. In the thirties there was a Chelmsford Diocesan Director of religious drama.
The relationship of the arts to Christian worship, witness and ministry is not in doubt, and involves individuals and churches across all traditions. Whilst there are many examples of excellence and good practice in the Barking Area these are often unco-ordinated and would benefit from support and encouragement. There would be benefit from sharing good practice and learning from other people’s experience, both good and less successful.
Last year I initiated a network of fine artists and sculptors under the title ‘Commission 4 Mission’ (web address http://commissionformission.blogspot.com/). It has been my aspiration for several years to initiate a complimentary network of those in the Barking Area engaging with the performing arts. Over the past six years I have come across musicians, directors, mime artists and story tellers of different ages and ethnicities - including a number of clergy. I am aware there will be many more performers within our churches that as yet I do not know.
I have recently identified a self supporting clergy person, The Revd Kathryn Robinson who has experience and professional background in Research and Development and the creative arts. Kathryn is offering to the Barking Area, two days a week to help network, co-ordinate, and promote good practice around the Episcopal Area. She will continue to be supported by St John’s Church Leytonstone where she has served her curacy. She has the backing of her Training Incumbent, Raymond Draper, who is supportive of this project. It is well known that the creative arts, especially at community level, tend to flourish in times of recession. As you know Raymond Draper is our Diocesan Lead Adviser on recession and redundancies. Kathryn’s appointment would therefore complement his particular role within the Diocese. Kathryn will continue to serve at St John’s Leytonstone as an Associate Minister."