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Mission Matters

Beloved Art and Practice

Greetings! I am Sister Michelle Walka; beloved child of God, artist, and sacred space facilitator. I am filled with gratitude and joy to be called to the work of Beloved Art and Practice in collaboration with the Eastern North Dakota Synod!

A Little About Me:

Originally from Florida, my husband Keith and I now live in Mayville, ND. Keith serves as pastor of Mayville United Ministry. We love the outdoors, and I am continually inspired by the beauty of my surroundings. I also enjoy the hunt for fun community spaces and a good cup of coffee.

I think of my art as an extension of my contemplative practice, and is the work of being compassionate to whatever emerges, embracing curiosity and play, and knowing that I cannot do this wrong! I also believe that these practices, in community, are a beautiful acknowledgment of our collective humanity and a subversive and powerful act of narrative sharing, healing, and restoration. Along with my studio work, I offer workshops and retreats focusing on creative process and contemplative practice. I also work with individuals and communities to create commissioned pieces for their spaces, times of worship, and special events.

I have worked in many capacities over the years including positions in outdoor ministries, youth and family ministries, refugee family services, and even in coffee shops. Most recently, I have had the honor of working with the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing (MICAH). My time with them continues to inspire my journey of wellness and contemplative practice. I hold a BSW from the University of South Florida and a M.A. in Theology from Luther Seminary as well as certificates in Community Organizing and Coaching. I am also a Sister in the Deaconess Community of the ELCA/ELCIC, which I believe is an important part of my call and vocational identity.

Beloved Art and Practice is a new ministry initiative giving space for people to wonder and discover how God is active and calling them to act in and for the sake of the world through creative process, spiritual reflection, and discernment. Initially a website, this ministry began as a response and continuation of my work as Artist in Residence with MICAH. Sensing a greater appreciation and need for this type of intentional space; I began to develop and lead more retreats and workshops based on these creative and contemplative practices. It has been a beautiful gift to witness many participants’ growth, not only in their self-awareness surrounding their life in faith, but also in acknowledgement of where these sacred spaces of vulnerability and openness have given way to healing and growth within community.

As Beloved Art and Practice continues to impact people’s individual and communal sense of engagement and leadership within the church and the world, it has been a joy to partner with the Deaconess Community of the ELCA/ELCIC (through their generous ministry initiative grant) as well as the EaND Synod. I am excited to offer the ministry of Beloved Art and Practice with congregations and communities within Eastern North Dakota; providing more opportunities for creative and contemplative practice. I look forward to this journey together!

For more information about myself, workshops, or my art, check out my website at www.BelovedArtandPractice.com or email me at MichelleWalkaArt@gmail.com

About the Artwork: “Radical Hospitality"

12x16 Acrylic on Canvas

Completed on August 10, 2016

Artist: Michelle Walka

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