"I thought I was the only one."
The Anselm Society is named after the archbishop of Canterbury (c. 1093) who defined theology as “faith seeking understanding”...in short, as a work of the imagination; diving deeply into the character of the One we love the most.
We were started in 2013 in Colorado by an ecumenical, intergenerational group of people who believed a renaissance of the Christian imagination was both possible and badly needed. Against the press of a secular age, we believed it was time for an era of the church marked by such a profound vision of the Kingdom of God that believers could not only withstand, but transform the world around them. And we knew this could never happen if Christians' biblical principles were being undercut by secular imaginations, formed by the rhythms and priorities of their age.
We believe for a renaissance of the Christian imagination to occur, the church needs to re-learn how to disciple and work alongside artists. Artists need to re-learn how to be a part of the church, integrating excellence of both craft and faith (whether for sacred or common art). And the laity needs to burn with a desire to, as our founding advisor Christopher Mitchell put it, see the Kingdom with the same enchanted eyes with which they see Narnia and Middle Earth.
This is what the Anselm Society exists to bring about.
In its first full year of operation, the Society hosted public lectures and concerts by people like Michael Ward, Peter Leithart, Malcolm Guite, Bob Bennett, and Andrew Peterson. The events began a conversation among a growing group of Christians (artists and otherwise) who had been longing for more than what the faith had become in much of modern America. What we heard, over and over: "I thought I was the only one."
In response to the outpouring of requests, we realized just starting the conversation was't enough. We started an Arts Guild to provide spiritual formation and community for local artists, and working with local churches to help them develop how they ministered to (and through) artists. And we began to plan to build much larger organization which, while firmly rooted in the Christian communities of Colorado Springs, could resource a larger movement around the world.
There are a lot more wonderful ministries in this general space than there were a few decades ago. Some are focused on artist communities, or publishing new art, or helping Christians better engage pop culture. What makes us unique is our focus on the reunification of the church and the arts; two parties that used to work together very closely and today are largely not talking. There's a lot to re-learn, and new bridges to cross. Our ministry falls primarily into two broad arenas:
- Conversation. We publish written resources, host podcasts, organize events (notably the Your Imagination Redeemed conference), and bring together thought leaders to inspire and educate pastors, artists, and the laity to better work together to form the Christian imagination.
- Incarnation. We want to do more than tell people something. We want to be an incarnation of a different way of doing things; in fact, most of the good God has done through us has grown organically out of exactly that. So our growing core community in Colorado Springs frequently hosts community events (concerts, discussion groups, pub nights, etc.); we also continue to work with member churches, and we run a thriving Arts Guild whose members support each other and enrich the life of local congregations.
As we look to grow, we are looking to build a strong network of financial supporters, including major donors and Anselm members, that can work with us to be a catalyst for this movement that is just waiting to take off.
We post on Facebook and Instagram a lot, and send a monthly email roundup with upcoming events and all the content we posted that month (if you sign up for the email list, we'll also send you a couple introductory emails to get you up to speed and plugged in). You can also keep up with the conversation on our podcasts.
Our Vision Partners
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