Visual Narrative Pastoral Care @ UMCH

I painted again with the United Methodist Children’s Home young adults. This was my 3rd time gathering together to make a mural that tells a bit of our collective stories.

We make art together. We tell our stories together. We create something from images together.

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All photos posted with permission.

Art Therapist and writer Shaun McNiff writes in his book, Healing Art, “Imagination offers new versions of old stories and forms an unlikely alliance with cognitive and narrative therapies.” Although I am not a therapist, I believe the positive effects of art making can be experienced in loving community. McNiff goes on to explain, “Art heals by transforming isolation and connecting us to others, to places, and to ourselves in life-affirming ways.”

We make art together. We tell our stories together. We create something from images together.

By addressing our life stories we begin to create generative narratives that will help us thrive. This ability to thrive may be especially needed by those in marginalized positions, like those young adults in the independent living at UMCH.

Pastoral care provider and professor Karen Scheib addresses the narrative model of pastoral care in her book Pastoral Care: Telling the Stories of Our Lives. She describes one of the functions of narrative formation: “A primary function of stories is to give meaning and shape to what might otherwise seem like random unconnected events.” Expressing one’s narrative through art is productive because it couples together the meaning- making associated with this connection of events, and the healing power of art making.

I am honored to once again be a part of this beautiful and creative process.

Read more about my first experience at UMCH.

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