Nigel Goodwin speaks to Union community on topic of arts and faith

Nigel Goodwin, a United Kingdom native from the Genesis Artist Trust, discusses the importance of encouraging a child's creativeness during the Town and Gown class. | Photo by Beth Spain

By Katherine Pullen

Nigel Goodwin, executive director of Genesis Arts Trust, joins the Union community April 4–9 for several speaking engagements discussing convergence of the arts and the Christian faith.

Goodwin will speak April 8–9 at the ACT Conference in the Carl Grant Events Center. The conference features a variety of speakers with experience in the arts and the Christian church who will discuss the intersection of arts, culture and theology.

Goodwin is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has worked in the arts for more than 40 years. He founded Genesis Arts Trust, an international ministry focused on encouraging and supporting Christians in the arts. He is also a founder of the London Arts Centre Group and a trustee of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. He and his wife live on the Isle of Wight in England and have three grown daughters.

During chapel service April 6, Goodwin invited Union students to the stage to perform a short skit. As Goodwin began to speak, Zac Benson, visiting art student from the University of Tennessee, worked a pottery wheel at the back of the stage and fashioned a large ceramic pot before the end of the 45-minute service.

Goodwin challenged students to “give the clay back to the potter.” He spoke about the process of sanctification and the importance of creativity and passion in living out the Christian faith.

On April 4, Goodwin spoke on the subject of “Children and the Arts” as part of Union’s Town and Gown series on the welfare of children in communities.

“We’ve got to teach our children how to look, how to see,” Goodwin said. “(We must teach them) what they’re seeing, what they’re looking at (and) how to stand in this world — stand tall in this world — and become adults in this world.”

Goodwin talked about the role of the church in engaging the culture and creating a better future for today’s children.

“We need to keep renewing ourselves in the community, revisiting some things in the community,” he said. “What worked 20 years ago may not work today.”

Also on April 4, Goodwin spoke to the “C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings” class at Union when the lesson was interrupted by tornado warnings, forcing everyone downstairs. As other classes and people came into the shelter to wait out the storm, Goodwin continued to speak passionately on Lewis’s fictional book, “The Screwtape Letters,” and the workings of Satan in the world.

“It was amazing that he was, under the circumstances, still so authoritative and captivating to sit and listen to,” said Grant Kelley, junior history major.

Kelley quoted his favorite part of Goodwin’s talk, “‘Get behind the words and see the theater of it. See the dynamics and see what’s really going on.’” He said listening to Goodwin has made him think more deeply about stories in books and scripture and listen more carefully to people to “understand what’s going on behind what they’re saying.”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.