Alison Faison

The Inclusivity of a Church-Wide Art Show

When seeing art on the wall, one might be hit with a different feeling compared to the feeling experienced while creating the art. Seeing your artwork being witnessed by people of all ages brings the art into being in new ways. Mr. Charles Brady, a San Francisco educator and poet, said something counter-cultural like, “The poem takes on the meaning that the reader gives it.” I find this incredibly mature, free, and humble. Most artists do not necessarily want their art to be interpreted. Sometimes the work is deeply personal and specific. Sometimes it is very esoteric and ineffable. Sometimes the subject is exactly what is portrayed. This leads me to think that Mr. Brady, RIP, wanted everyone to engage with the poem or art and make-meaning, whatever that might be. He ultimately wanted their brains, hearts, and souls to grow. As a high school English teacher at our neighborhood Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, he read countless essays written by young women, as well as encouraged them to explore poetry and creative writing. He even slipped Creative Writing prompts into my teacher mailbox, so that I could write along with the class during my prep or free periods. He witnessed the work’s becoming and offered his experiences as a Purple Heart veteran of wars in Korea and Vietnam, a principal at a Zuni School, a poet, father, husband, and educator. He lived into his 90’s and is now at rest.

It is my hope that the senior adults who submitted poems, paintings, and fiber art will be witnessed by children, youth, young adults, and adults, but also share their wisdom and encouragement. I look forward to our second church-wide intergenerational art show. Our first show was entitled “Processing the Pandemic” where works created during or about the pandemic made up the exhibition. In 2023, we encourage artists to show their work under the inclusive title of “All Things New.” This does not mean that the art has to be new, but rather something that is fresh in mind or ready to be witnessed by others.

It used to be that Calvary art shows were given to one artist. Now we look for ways for art to connect the generations and to encourage them to “see” each other. I enjoy a solo art show opening where I can focus on one person’s growth as an artist. An intergenerational church-wide show hits another note and brings in energy from many types of people. We usually have over sixty people attend the opening reception. It is heartening to walk around the room and see artists next to their work engaging with anyone who is curious to know more about their process and experience. It is a rich moment in time where all can talk with each other. Not all folks feel comfortable chatting at coffee hour, but they might feel more comfortable discussing art at an opening reception. Join us this Sunday, February 12, 2023 at 11:15 am in the Lounge. “All Things New” exhibit will continue until April 12.

More to Explore

Talking with Kids About the Order of Worship in the Bulletin.

If I visited Calvary for the first time and had not been to a Presbyterian church before, I would want someone to help me understand what I was doing throughout the order of worship. This blog provides an example of how some churches annotate their bulletins so children, youth, and adults can learn more about why we choose to read, sing, pray, and listen at certain times during the worship service. Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church ( in Louisville, Kentucky offers a model of how to explain the order of worship. Being transparent about how we worship together is in line with our reformed tradition. We can read and interpret the Bible ourselves, as well as worship and say prayers with our own bodies. Many years ago, a priest would do all of this while the congregation sat or stood. It is important for parents to share with their children that all people have the freedom to contribute to a worship service. By singing, listening, praying, and sharing, we get to know each other and witness each other’s talents and inspiring work. Fellowship and education events are only part of the ways that we form our faith together. Participating in worship is what binds us together each Sunday, so that we can support each other at or outside of church during the week.

Support Trans Kids

Calvary Presbyterian Church continues to support transgender youth and adults. March 2023 is Transgender Awareness Month. We show our continuing support through messages such as, “Trans Lives Matter,” “Believe Trans Kids,” “Support Trans Kids,” and “Protect Trans Kids.” This blog will offer some insight into Presbyterian and San Francisco organizations that actively support and advocate for LGBTQI+ people. I hope that you will take time to read through these resources. There is hope. So many inspired people of all ages are working together for freedom, safety, and love. Now that I am raising two teens I have come to more clearly understand the context and reality that LGBTQI+ youth live in every day. It is crucial to support the growth and development of transgender children and youth who sense that their “gender identity does not correspond with, or sit comfortably with, the sex they were registered at birth.” That is the definition of transgender offered by Twinkl, an education website for children ages preschool to 8th grade. See more definitions at the end of this blog. Transgender children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults do not want to be "othered" as they are children of God. We want to believe, support, and protect them, so that they can live safely and freely without fear and shame. When adults do not see or support children or youth as they are, the risks of gender dysphoria and youth suicide increase. God created all of us in Their image. May we have the courage to send out Jesus’ message of love and acceptance to ourselves and all people.

2022 Annual Report