Five years ago, as our building committee bore down on plans to renovate St. Stephen’s, we said we wanted our church to become a community hub, a cultural centre, a gathering place for the neighbourhood. It sometimes seemed a remote dream, especially as the challenges mounted up and plans had to be trimmed back.
But today we witness the fulfillment of that dream. St. Stephen’s is busy most weekends with concerts, art shows, and theatrical performances. Renowned performance groups like Cantare Children’s Choirs, Luminous Voices, and the Calgary Instrumental Society thrill local audiences that sometimes burst the seams, sending patrons up into the balcony.
So it is curious that we ourselves are seldom numbered among the members of the audience, even when we are co-sponsors of events offered here. True, we designed the space for use by the wider community. But we host some of the best talent in the city right here in our sanctuary, and for the reason that (we said) we love the performing arts.
So this is just a reminder that we are part of the community too. When our neighbours come to see a performance, they are also coming to see us—not just our buildings, but the people who reside here. In coming weeks we will host a program about Sound and Spirit, and bring back the Donald Ray Johnson Blues Band, among other events. It would be unfortunate if we were to miss out on the very blessings we offer to the world.