A NEW minister dedicated to the visual arts community has been welcomed into his post with a ceremony that showcased a stunning installation in Glasgow.

Rev Peter Gardner marked the start of his pioneering ministry by creating ‘Lightlines’, a kinetic installation made from 153 recycled glass jars suspended from the church ceiling on nylon cords and partially filled with water, making each one a vessel to catch the light.

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Peter said his work, on display at Renfield St Stephens Church of Scotland in Bath Street, explores the place where art and spirituality meet.

He said: “I always try to create art that is meaningful and challenging and that makes us question where we are and how we view the mysteries of life.

“One of the things art can do is help us question and reflect on our spirituality. Often the Christian message is delivered in words, which are definitive. Art is a different language that is visual and engages people through imagination. Art is far more open and gives people the freedom to think in new and very different ways.”

It is a new departure for Peter, who is taking up his new pioneer ministry following 14 years as parish minister at Renfield St Stephens.

During that time he built many different types of installations with his longtime artistic collaborator, his wife Heidi.

Their two-year project ‘Peacemakers’, for example, included brightly coloured weavings that drew the eyes upward to the soaring ceilings and stained glass windows of the church.

Much of the Gardners’ work invites viewers to reflect, dream and— often—to contribute.

Peter added: “Heidi and I have always worked as a team.

“It is great to work with someone who shares the same vision for art and the same passion for making. It is this passion, and the faith which drives it, which we believe will make this arts ministry with Glasgow’s artistic community a success over the next five years.”

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Originally from Milngavie, East Dunbartsonhire Peter attended the University of St Andrews and Edinburgh University as well as Leith School of Art.

After serving as a minister at what is now Tyne Valley Parish in Midlothian for 13 years he moved to Renfield St Stephens. He will be based at the church until the new ministry finds a permanent home.