Every symphony begins with a melodic theme, every painting with a color palette, every screenplay with a story line, every creative endeavor by an invitation from the Muse. A Ministry of Imagination, Creativity and the Arts (MICA) begins with YOU—an imaginative, creative child of God. MICA honors the creative spirit within each individual, acknowledges the prophetic and inspiring voice of the artist, and calls for the church to more fully co-create with the Creator.
MICA . . . nurtures spiritual exploration by empowering individuals to playfully explore imaginative, creative and artistic expression, enriching personal spiritual formation.
MICA . . . fosters imagination within the church by creating programs, resources and events that help individuals and congregations discover the artist within.
MICA . . . connects the arts community and the community of faith by providing intentional intersections for dialogue, renewal and action.
MICA . . . explores new models of worship and ministry as the church and community seek ways to compassionately and creatively heal a hungry and hurting world.
MICA was developed by Rev. Cliff Aerie as part of the God is Still Speaking national identity initiative by the United Church of Christ. Building on the theme, “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here,” MICA focuses on creating a nurturing environment where everyone is welcome and invited to explore the interior landscape of the soul.
MICA is now a formal ministry of the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, United Church of Christ, encouraging a 150-year-old community of faith to continue growing its expansive ministry by renewing individual spirituality and discovering new ways to share God’s blessings with the world.
- Pastoral/Staff Collaboration: Brainstorming, Planning and Implementation – Ministry is always a collaborative effort undertaken in concert by clergy, staff and laity. Cliff’s extensive background in ministry at the local, regional and national levels will help in the planning of worship, educational programs and special events at the request of the pastoral staff and church leadership.
- Oîkos Ensemble: Music for Sunday Morning Worship – The Oîkos jazz ministry has been acclaimed around the country with Cliff being recognized as a leader in the liturgical jazz movement. The music of Oîkos has been shared in worship at First Congregational Church on many occasions. The presence of Oîkos offers new opportunities for expanding the church’s liturgical outreach.
- Exploratory Learning Playshops –Throughout the years Cliff has led innovative workshops, retreats and seminars on a variety of subjects. His work with MICA has focused on encouraging individuals and groups to explore imaginative pathways for spiritual growth. MICA Playshops will be offered for congregants as well as creative learning experiences open to the community.
- Inner Jazz Meditation Concert Series –Before coming to First Church Cliff developed Inner Jazz, a monthly multi-faith meditation series held at Kirkwood UCC. In 2018 Inner Jazz will be offered as a mission outreach of our church. Each concert will focus on a faith-based theme expressed through jazz, poetry, art and visual imagery with local jazz musicians and artists joining Cliff in a creative meditative format.