CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS?
St. Stephen’s Centre for the PerformingArts? It has a nice ring to it. While we have not gone so far as to rename ourchurch, the performing arts are an important part of our dream to become partof the cultural landscape of the city … and it’s already starting to happen!
Performers have always told us how muchthey like our church. The aesthetic is warm and inviting, and the acoustics arebright and responsive and especially good for classical instruments. The
Calgary Classical Guitar Society has made St. Stephen’s one of two performingvenues for its annual concert series; Il Sono, the men’s chorus that made asurprise visit to our 10:30 service last Sunday, just offered a Remembrance Dayconcert on Friday; and Philip Hansen, the principal cellist for the CPO, isstaging a benefit concert here next Sunday (see our web site for more details).
What has this to do with Christian ministryand mission? Is this just a creative way of raising funds? Is it a ploy to seeour name in lights? Worse, is it a sneaky form of evangelism?
Offering our church for the performing artsis actually a way of becoming part of the cultural life of the city, hence,being neighbours rather than strangers. Anything else may follow: pastoral ministry, spiritual support, and yes, maybe even fund-raising and publicity.But none of it happens without first being in relationship with the widercommunity. And that happens through the performing arts.