Some Recent Research

Some Recent Research

Research can be fascinating. Sometimes it throws up unexpected results, and this is very exciting. But not all research is so exciting. Some research simply confirms what we knew anyway - or sort of guessed to be the case.

I think most people would say that doing something creative can be good for our emotional well-being. Well, you will be pleased to know that some new research has confirmed this.  Participants in the Great British Creativity Test, produced in partnership with University College London, were asked about which creative activities they took part in, and whether these activities helped people manage their emotions.  The research showed that taking part in creative activities helped people to manage their emotions, build confidence and explore solutions to problems. Interestingly, it didn’t matter whether you were any good at the activity in question!

When I came across this research, I was struck by the important role which creative activity plays in the life of a typical church community.  The church provides so many opportunities to be creative, opportunities which are open to all, regardless of an individual’s particular religious beliefs (if any!) : singing, playing a musical instrument, ringing bells, sewing and embroidery, flower-arranging,  photography, performing arts - and many more, besides.

Churches are - or should be - natural places for artistic creativity. Why is this so? Partly it’s about tradition: churches have been centres of artistic activity since earliest times, and so artistic activity is part of the church’s lifeblood.

But there’s more to it than that. God Himself is a Creative God, an Artist working with the materials of our Universe to bring new forms into being. God works with us human beings like a master playwright, creating a unique drama out of our individual characters and the particular circumstances of our lives.

But God is not only creative. He is also caring. God knows that opportunities for creative activity are vital for human flourishing, and so it shouldn’t surprise us to find so much artistic activity in a church community.

So, there we are - we always knew that creative activity is good for us, and now we have some hard evidence to back this up.

And if you fancied something new in the artistic line, why not pop along to one of your local churches to see what’s on offer? You’ll be surprised!

Fr Jason