Through our programme of exhibitions, outreach, workshops, classes and gatherings, we want more than just a series of enjoyable events at The Holy Biscuit. Our activity is rooted in a desire to show hospitality and to open up ourselves to live life alongside others, giving time and space to listen and to engage with each other’s stories. We are striving to build community and belonging that continues to exist beyond the gallery walls.
Within the Bible are hundreds of references that speak of the kind of community that exists with a people who are trusting in God and following him together. There is a clear command to ‘love strangers as yourself’, to welcome and love those who are from a foreign land. We see a vision of community and hospitality that is not just opening your home, but is the very giving of self – to show others their all-surpassing worth and the love that God has for them.
In the New Testament, we see Jesus forming a community of disciples with whom he shares life in all its fullness – a place where questions might be explored, where people might be healed and accepted. This depth of relationship and community worked in the early Church:
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:44-47)
We are seeking to be an arts and outreach project that reimagines the role of the church and building community within our contexts. We are exploring what values, processes and commitments we should cling to as we question what it means to be a Christian community that is open to all; this includes an examination of how we will deal with difficult questions and create a safe and inclusive space. This is not easy and requires careful thinking and reflecting on what it should look like, especially as we acknowledge the brokenness of ourselves, our relationships and our society.
Photograph: Holy Biscuit Project: ‘My Dog, My House, Our Newcastle’ as part of our Cultural Olympiad project Outside/IN. Photograph by Richard Fish