The Intersection of Faith, Mission, and the Arts

This past Saturday was a real highlight for my year as a member of West Raleigh. The coming together...of us. As a church, as a faith community, as part of humanity. Faith in action. Experiencing it was the nexus, the intersection, of three areas--our living faith, our Arts Ministry, and our Kitchen Brigade. Several years ago I remember sitting in the Calliari's home and discussing with others at a cottage meeting about where we were heading as a church. What did we feel called to do? What would “it” look like? How would we be different in 5 years? 10 Years? I remember folks talking later about an arts ministry. I didn’t really get it. Do art? At church? A ministry?

Several years ago I wondered what we stood for. What voice was coming from our church? Who was hearing it? This past Saturday, I felt it. I heard it. The sons and daughters of Abraham, gathered together and lit by candle light as our faith echoed off the brick walls of our church and out over Horne Street. We were shining our light from our corner of Vanderbilt and Horne. Our prayers, our loving verbal embrace of others was amplified from our courtyard and heard by the frat house, heard by the passersby. “We are here, we care, we believe and speak to justice and love.” Our pastor, Katherine, spoke to this that night, under the candle light. She has also touched on this on other Sundays from the pulpit. Yes, we stand for something.

And we made art. Tiles lovingly cut by Cheyney and Rachel Nicholson were the vehicle that allowed us to communicate despite our few common words. We pointed and smiled and acknowledged. Children and adults with paint on our brushes and tiles and hands were art. We wrapped up our evening with soups and breads lovingly made by many members of our congregation and served by our Kitchen Brigade. Our congregation was coming together to feed and clean up not just for ourselves, but for others--Syrian refugees, neighboring churches, our new friends who had read about our event on a blog or a post. What an amazing afternoon and evening and how fulfilling to know what we’ve become in the last five years.

Read the prayer offered by Mark Zaineddin at the Interfaith Peace Vigil, then again last Sunday morning, and to see more photos. 

A reflection by Bob Grant

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