When we planned our renovations for St. Stephen’s, we were caught by a vision of becoming a home for the arts. This felt natural for us because so many of our church members are involved with the arts, either as patrons or as artists. But it was also a way of increasing our interaction with the wider community—a way of removing the street-side barrier created by our cinderblock walls, by playing host to our neighbours.
Five years later, it is gratifying to see the extent to which that vision is being fulfilled. Last weekend our church was transformed into an art gallery for our annual Midtown Mosaic art show, the sanctuary filled with art, and a constant stream of patrons flowing through the building. The place was alive with conversation, music, good food and drink. And our raffle and silent auction raised over $10,000, which, after expenses, will be divided between Kids’ Cancer Care, the Calgary Distress Centre, and the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
On Saturday, November 3, the sanctuary will be transformed once again, this time as a coffee house, complete with both a barista and a bartender, providing a friendly venue for live music. “Live at Steve’s”, our second home-grown “house concert”, will feature country soul singer/songwriter Justine Vandergrift, Edmonton’s Ken Stead, and our own Brian Pearson hosting and playing a few tunes himself. (Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.) God gave us the vision, we built it, and now they’re coming! Sweet.