Belleherst                    May 30, 2010

            Keeping You Informed

Spring HAS Sprung
Dear  Friends,

Finally, the snows have disappeared down under, the smells of the 'awakened' are wafting like vapors off the warming earth, the volcanic ash is subsiding (sort of) and the energy of spring is propelling the creativity of mind and heart to bring new life into the house which God built. Here's Belleherst Productions'  spring bouquet, with flowers from Poland, Latvia, Florida and Germany.
The Struggle with Self
Matheus- fighting the selfThe spring session of the Polish Studio for Movement Theatre in Ustron, Poland commenced with integrative work in corporeal mime and choral vocal work in Greek tragedy.However, the more unseen work of the spirit and soul  flaunted the accolades of shaking off the shackles of death the earth is transformed with new life. As the students worked with counter rhythms and the technique of 'playing the conflict', the words of the apostle Paul were a perfect reference for the many struggles that often consume the emotional bank account of our students during their challenging studies: I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate - Rom 7:15. Students must continually confront their dreams of success with the  fear of failure, the inconsistency of their bodies speaking something at odds with what their mind has delineated, and the frustration of lacking key physical or emotional attributes which are promoted to be efficacious in bringing about their theatrical goals.  It would be sad and depressing except for the fact that it was such a joy to see those other words of Paul: There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. and For the law of the Spirit, which brings us life in union with Christ Jesus, has set me free ...Rom 8:2 form an important structural paradigm in the school to separate honest and constructive evaluation from debilitating and paralyzing self-condemnation. An incredible transformation of the mind through these words of life releases the captive artist inside.  Just like flowers in spring, they burst forth with beauty and fragrance ...even (most of all)surprising themselves.
How many gifts have been stoned to death by hurled boulders of punitive self-condemnation until the buried gift no longer even stirs or whimpers.  I am so grateful for THE TRUTH which sets us free and forms the underpinning of mentor and student interaction in our school.

  Ashes into Gladness
Spring brought birds and bees and flowers... and the volcanic eruption in Iceland. .As we concluded in April the second session of the Kuldigas Art Studio for Movement Theatre in Latvia, I looked forward to my next ministerial commitment in Geneva, Switzerland. I was leaving Latvia with a superb sense of satisfaction as the most stunning class of responsible and talented students the Latvian school has ever hosted completed their creative work.  The only problem was...I realized that I couldn't leave Latvia.  The airport was closed, rental cars unavailable, train connections non-existent for my destination and the bus service overwhelmed with stranded travelers trying to get out. What is a poor missionary to do?   Only one way and one time frame could get me to Geneva to honor my commitment.  The Danish truck ferry left Ventspils, Latvia at 4:00 am in the morning headed for a 7:30 am arrival in Luebeck, Germany. I considered myself lucky by obtaining the last available place on the ship.  The reservation clerk apologized on the phone that it was only a seat in a group lounge and not a bed.  I would pick up a rental car in Luebeck and drive 8-9 hours to the south of Germany just in time to unpack and pack my bags for Geneva. The trip would be exhausting to say the least, with no real sleep or comfort in site and a hurried preparation for Geneva.  As I checked onto the ferry at 2:00 am, I swallowed my fears of driving so far the next day on no sleep and just thanked God that I was on the ship because I had the feeling God wanted to whisper something in my ear during this unexpected interruption of my usually unyielding schedule.  When I realized that something very crucial had been lost in translation and that the ship was not an overnight ride to Germany, but a two day and night trip, I was already aboard the ship with panic gripping my soul.  How would I ever make it now to Geneva, and how could I survive two complete nights sitting up in a group lounge? Counseling myself into gratitude, I tried hard to smile at the reception clerk on the ship as I handed over my passport.  She, in turn, handed me a key.  I cautiously asked what this was for, and she said; Its for your room just down that hallway.  Then she leaned forward and in a quiet voice said;  You're very lucky. Its on the outside of the ship. My mouth dropped open as I opened the door to my room complete with a bathroom and a beautiful picture window from which I could see the gorgeous star-stoked Latvian sky and the expansive Baltic sea as it slowly yielded to the bow of the ferry's passage. The weather was gorgeous (I never saw a single ash), the sea rocked me to sleep for two full wonderful nights and just to indulge me one more time; my bunk mate in the room was a musicologist and folk, over-tone singer from the music academy in Riga. The ferry was full of the usual clients (truckers from Eastern Europe, Russia, White Russia and the Ukraine) and artists, teachers, business people stranded by the ash.  The mixture was one of the richest cultural experience I have ever had as we swapped stories and shared our lives with each other for two days on the Baltic sea (there was no entertainment on the ferry...just each other).  I ended up having plenty of time to prepare sermons and performance text for Geneva, a wonderful (and much needed sleep) and a cultural adventure of tremendous enrichment.   Arriving in Luebeck refreshed, I drove in 6.5 hours through Germany and made my Geneva commitment without stress.  What was it that God whispered in my ear?  Don't ever doubt that I can provide for you, protect you, un-conditionally love you and mentor you into righteousness for my glory in ANY SITUATION.   Lesson learned! 
Postscript:  the key to my room is still a mystery.
The Cry: See Me! Hear Me!
From Geneva Switzerland to Fort Lauderdale, Florida the cries behind the statistics of Human Trafficking were once more heard during the month of May. See Me!  Hear Me!, Belleherst's multi media production raising awareness concerning Human Trafficking played at the Living Savior church and gathered interest with workers from the U.N., and World Health Organization for a future, more in-depth campaign against  the international industry of sex trafficking, which ranks as the second most lucrative crime industry in the world. At Fort Lauderdale's  Cinema Paradiso, four artists exhibited quilts, paintings, photographs and sculpture at the post-performance champagne toast, while at the forum, representatives from Shared Hope International, Broward Coalition for Human Trafficking and Puresa profiled their respective NGOs working the field. The audience was not large in Fort Lauderdale which stands as a constant reminder of how difficult it is to catch the ear and attention of the public.   Its simply a subject we would like to go away - out of our earshot.  We don't want to learn about it because then we feel responsible to do something about it.

I am so deeply moved...I guess moved enough now to contribute to its demise.

This is so much more effective than just reading reports on the issue.  I actually  care now.

Thanks for waking me up from my apathy. I am stunned.

We are not allowed to stop just because the way is hard. The message is burned on our souls and we must press on against all odds.  They are waiting.

See Me!  Hear Me! will be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 16-28 at the Quaker Meeting House.
Ecumenical Church Days

bird flying- See M The first of May saw Munich the host to over 150,000 people arriving from various international points to make a collective  attendance  for the Kirchen Tage.  Schools closed in order to be transformed into camps for the visitors.  City streets were closed for the parade of lights on the opening day. Over 3,000 events from lectures, to seminars, services, theatre, music, nature walks, etc filled the city. It was a most impressive reaction on a continent which is considered to have stepped back from its Christian heritage and has become a haven for Muslim immigration. Belleherst presented Kerzen im Fenster (Candles in the Window) for three performances during these days to an audience that totaled over 650. Kerzen im  Fenster  is a play based on Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life and influence on Christianity. One of Dietrich's central ideas was that man must courageously take responsible action against the evil of its times.  This  seemed to resonate  in the audience. Perhaps Germany is awakening to their roots.  The sale of Bibles is up in the Netherlands, France and Germany.
We, in the U.S. have always thought we walked the high ground. However, I myself pondered the impossible scenario of trying organize something like this in a major  U..S. city...especially, the closing of public schools to provide camps for the visitors.
It was such a privilege to play this piece again and speak those, oh so true and profound words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer .  He was a man who courageously lived his faith and walked his talk...all the way to the gallows where he was executed by the Nazis in 1945 a few weeks before the end of the war.
 Kerzen im Fenster will again be touring Germany in the fall.
Its always a pleasure to share with you. If you have further interest in Belleherst's activities or resources please visit our web site. Don't forget that we love to hear from you as well.You can email us by clicking the following link: Contact Belleherst

Kathleen Thompson
Artistic Director, Belleherst Productions
In This Issue
The Struggle With Self
Ashes into Gladness
The Cry: See Me! Hear Me!
Munich: Ecumenical Church Days
Pain: A Two Edged Sword
Quick Links
A Two Edged Sword
Being a Christian does not promise a life without pain and suffering, but to the contrary, we are guaranteed our share of difficulty.
However, a great part of the Good News is that, because of  free will, God has privileged us with the sovereign right  to choose which way this sword will fall in our lives.  We are not consigned to be a helpless victim of pain's consequences. Pain has the potential to destroy our lives or give birth to new life.

Pain that destroys
will eat away our hope, undermine our faith in God and robs us of wholeness. Pain that redeems increases our trust in God, promotes our creative vision, and intensifies God's love for us. 

What must we do to choose that the sword of pain falls on the side of redemption?  Well, first of all, we must CHOOSE.
The world is antithetical. There is good and there is evil.  They are not the same and we must decide which is which, and which one we will allow to rule over our lives.

It takes courage to choose.  To choose something is to not choose something else.  There are consequences to choosing.   Our current society has inculcated an attitude of sublime indecisiveness.  They are rarely stepping across the line of preference  to the degree of having actually chosen one thing over the other. Instead, they often remain in the murky, underwater plateau of non-commitment. If we choose to be redeemed by pain then we must decide to give up our pain as an identity, as a rationalization for un-Christlike behavior and as a sometimes perverse
pleasure. We need to take responsibility to  continue to live productively  through our pain by surrendering our trust to God and believing His Word is true.  God's word  promises that every  hair on our heads is numbered. If we believe that He sees all of our lives at every moment and cares - if we believe that He will never abandon us, even through pain and evil times - and if we believe that He loves us un-conditionally more than we could possibly understand; then  we are able to say like Job, though you slay me, yet will I trust you.  At this point we are willing to surrender to the goodness of God which will come through trusting Him in this painful episode - even if the understanding of our situation escapes us. This releases us from pain's debilitating effects so that  we will begin to find the creative vision to move through the experience of pain in a productive way. We will see new life develop in our life. God will send us comfort and aid through the Holy Spirit and sustain us in hope. The Holy Spirit will bring us new wisdom and guide us into a greater maturity.  We will gain a greater revelation of  the power and wisdom of our Lord Jesus.

 Micha 4;10

Be in pain,
and labor to bring forth, O daughter
of Zion...