Rev Wendi Bernau, a deacon in the United Methodist Church, currently serves as Pastor of the Arts with the Missional Wisdom Foundation. Wendi’s background includes formal study in music, art history, painting, theater, dance, and theology. She is a brilliant and talented facilitator and spiritual director. Wendi is a sought-after retreat leader, workshop facilitator, and teacher. Her programs are ecumenical and she is also experienced in inter-faith dialogue and inter-faith meditation.
Sometimes I think we tend to view our spirituality as something external – we pray in hope that someone is listening to us – but we are the ones who need to be listening. This is challenging because it doesn’t seem productive. We might think sitting in silence is a waste of time, that art is a waste of resources; but this simply isn’t true. Humans need to expend time and energy creating and listening. How else can we possibly expect to get to know ourselves and what’s inside that wants to come out? How can we grow or learn if we are walking around unaware of our hearts and souls? Art helps us listen to our soul speak.
People tell me they aren’t creative or they aren’t artists so they shouldn’t do art, same with music, but in meditation the end product is never the focus. The important part is the process. How did you get to this point and what was going on in you, how did it feel, when it surfaced? Most importantly, perhaps: now that you have this insight, what are you going to do with it?
Reflection is the key: without reflection, it isn’t meditation or prayer, it’s just art. And I love art, but for it to be profound, you have to let it speak to you. Intentional spiritual experiences in the Arts are very personal, and like most valuable experiences, when we can release the desire to control the outcome and expect to be surprised, amazing things can happen.
See below for testimonials:
Wendi has led two closing worship services at our Vital Leadership Academy retreats. It was a great experience! Wendi drew from her deep creativity to lead others in a worship experience that was both unique and moving. She brought people out of their comfort zones in a way that they could experience Christian worship in a fresh and deeper way. It was exactly what I was looking for as a retreat organizer.
~ Kevin Walters, Director of Vital Leadership Academy, United Methodist Church, Central Texas Conference on Artful Worship Experiences
Just that area of the art program has taken me on a different path, one that I apparently needed to take, one that I enjoyed taking, and one that gave me a peace that I needed. During our sharing, I was so moved by the work of others. It was not unusual to hear the tears and emotion in their voices.
~ Pamela Stroud, White’s Chapel UMC on Art as a Spiritual Practice
Wendi facilitated spirited discussion with a very involved class comparing and contrasting the different artistic styles and time periods…Wendi is extremely creative in the design and execution of these classes. She engages the class in thoughtful discussion of Christian theology as it comes to life in the arts.
~Jack Thompson, White’s Chapel UMC on Finding God in Culture classes
~ Lynne Kennetz, Chicago IL on Arts Retreats
“new ways of strengthening faith”
“I really enjoyed it a lot”
“Loved the entire thing and hope we can do it again soon!”
“I loved the art and this was awesome!!”
“It was great and had lots of fun”
“I loved this time!”
“GREAT! Hope the leader does another art event soon.”
“It was very peaceful and fun!”
~ FUMC Cleburne Women’s Retreat, TX on Arts Retreats