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Hutchmoot inspires Langes spiritually, creatively

Staff writer

Marion couple Jeremiah and Danielle Lange recently made a pilgrimage to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Hutchmoot at the beginning of October.

So… What’s a Hutchmoot?

Presbyterian Church pastor Lange said Hutchmoot is hard to explain because it has no defined agenda, but can be understood as a retreat where writers, musicians, and other artists congregate under faith’s banner seeking spiritual and artistic rejuvenation.

“It’s a place to be exposed to different types of art and new musicians,” Lange said. “It’s really interesting to hear how different people experience God.”

The event is in its fifth year, but last year was the first time that Lange attended.

“Last year I had such a tremendous experience, I kept thinking Danielle was the only thing missing — she’s the artist in the family,” Lange said. “When I came back I don’t think she was quite sure who I was.”

Lange began working with pastel paints and writing poetry again — two mediums he hadn’t explored in years.

Lange had caught the spirit of the conference. He felt his experience helped him write more unique sermons by finding more potential in days that can seem mundane at times.

“I’m a word person — words are candy for my ears — so getting to hear a real word smith speak is a real treat for me,” he said of one attending author.

This year, Danielle’s first impressions were that of amazement. The mix of talented people and the friendliness of everyone she interacted with impressed her and she loved seeing how others used their gifts to serve God.

“I left that weekend feeling recharged and with a renewed sense of the importance of serving and honoring God through my hobbies and passions,” Danielle said.

Attendees told stories of how they deepened their faith through their creative works.

One pastor used his experience as a birder as inspiration to write sermons. A beekeeper also shared spiritual insight he gleaned from how bees make honey.

Another speaker told a story of how he fell in love with pipe smoking so much that he quit his job to start a successful pipe carving business.

“He said that today it is almost impossible to create anything new, but what we can do is reveal God’s works, as we create a work of art,” Lange said of the man’s pipe-carving process.

In another session, the idea that people should be mindful of what it means to be creative was explored in relation to the Lord. The speaker riffed on God’s cosmically creative acts in Genesis, Lange paraphrased that at His core God is a creative being.

During that discussion about the use of creative gifts, a question from a self-proclaimed uncreative woman arose. Lange said she wondered how she could be creative without being an artist.

The speaker asked her if she had children to which she replied affirmative.

“He told her that she didn’t need to be an artist,” Lange said. “Through shaping the lives of her children she was being creative.”

As a USD 408 school board member, Lange said the conference “affirmed efforts going on at the elementary school to use STEM projects in the learning process,” because of the creative nature of problem solving students pour into such projects.

Danielle also found a breakout session called “Gifts of Imagination,” useful as a parent, a spiritual seeker, and a teacher.

She said speakers talked about the importance of providing opportunities for children to use their imaginations.

“As parents, we need to look into our children’s hearts to see who they are in a visionary way,” Danielle said. “As a follower of Christ, I can talk with my children about all the possibilities there are to use their talents and gifts to serve God and others. As a public school teacher, I can help students see how they are each special and gifted in different ways and that their life isn’t a series of events, but a bigger narrative in which they can do great things.”

Last modified Oct. 30, 2014

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