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Our Journey

2017

The first weekend Essence Christian Arts Festival took pace at the St Madoc Centre, Gower, South Wales.  We were able to utilise the excellent facilities at St Madoc with its many buildings and access to 76 acres or outdoor space along with a short walk down to the local beach. This event was in any ways a trial or prototype festival and ran over the Easter weekend.

 

We knew that Easter activities would probably put a dent in numbers attending which it certainly did with many people busy at their home churches, but we wanted to at least ‘land’ the festival idea. We used the space, tried out the concept and had a good weekend again coming out of it with plenty of ideas to build on.

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2018

We often consider 2018 to be the first proper Essence Festival. We had prayed, advertised, planned, and prayed a bit more. We had a timetable of seminars and workshops, with plenty of people involved in helping us get Essence to the place where it was beginning to look like a festival!

Numbers weren’t huge, but we have been learning, (and keep on learning) that it’s not about numbers. It is about bringing our ‘loaves and fishes’ to God and letting Him deal with any multiplication. Every single person involved or who attends is important and the more we time and space we can give to people, the better. That was the understanding that 2018 gave us, but the Essence weekend went well and we believed we were on the right track!

2019

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2019

We were on a roll and the festival was really taking shape with multiple venues running different seminars, workshops and have a go sessions. There were interactive art installations, a campfire, open mic and spoken word evenings. Again, numbers were not where we wanted them to be but we had time to develop relationships with those who came. God was at work amongst us, and plenty happened that weekend that has moved people forward in both their walk with God and into creative activities and outlets. It felt like we were finally starting to earth the concept of Essence and walk it out practically.

 

There was a stirring toward the third part of our Essence vision, (encouraging and empowering people to take creativity back home to their lives, family, church, community and even to the market place or streets). It was that concept of taking creativity back to the streets that really began to stir again and the concept of creativity in evangelism and creative acts or worship, was once again sparked. Little did we know of what was in store in 2020!

(11) Create Your Own Song Part 1 Introduction - YouTube and 5 more pages - Personal - Micr

2020

Covid came and the momentum we had generated at the festivals was somewhat slowed. We did however manage to connect with many creatives who helpfully put together video sessions that enabled us to run a taster event online in June with a full online festival day later in August. Suddenly people had to learn how to film and present in a different way, but we filled a day with video seminars on everything from story telling to sand art, music to mime! We even had a coffee house online so people could chat and although it wasn’t the real on the ground festival, we captured something of Essence even if it was diffused a little.

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2021

Covid was still around but some lockdown measured had eased so we looked at a multi-faceted plan, to continuing to share the Essence concept with people. Firstly, we had an online festival day at the end of June, with a mix of pre-recorded seminars, and live online workshops. Secondly, we feel strongly that Essence is about making a real connection with people, not just running an event. So, we decided to put on a number of in person gatherings at different places so as to meet people face to face wherever we could. It became a very small sort of Essence roadshow, with a sand art day, create in nature day at a local woodland, and a community drumming day.

 

 As I write this we are still moving through the summer of 2021 and so there will be more to share, but we are aiming to continue with Essence and help people who are creative and those who don’t think they are, to connect with God, each other and find the creativity that God has for them.

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