There aren’t many Christian conferences where you can pour your own beer from the church-owned brewery, or meet the beekeeper in charge of the hive on the church roof. Billed as “two days of wonder”, Renaissance is designed to inspire Christians in the creative industries to encounter God in and through their work.
From fashion students to entrepreneurs and church leaders to tech experts, around 900 delegates gathered at Hackney Church in east London. The dazzling building underwent a £6m restoration in 2020 and is now a world-class music and events venue, as well as a local church.
Explaining the vision to be a “school of creativity” for the Church, the executive director of Renaissance, Annie Phillips, said: “There’s a sense we have to do something differently. How are we reaching people outside the walls of the Church? There’s something about creativity that brings you out of yourself. The Church has lots of really effective outreach programmes but creativity also helps people turn outwards. So the vision of encouraging creativity through the Church not only helps churches become cathedrals of creativity, but helps people in the congregation think about the narratives they’re telling the world, and what the art that they’re sharing is saying.”
Event organisers are now planning future gatherings in other parts of the UK, the USA and Australia. Tickets for Renaissance London 2024 are available from renaissancemovement.org