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

Calvary’s 169 Years of Change-Makers

Occasionally I hear comments to the effect of, “Calvary’s recent highlighting of political issues can deter people from attending worship services.” My response is something like, “Since July 23, 1854, for 169 years, Calvary has been addressing human rights issues directly related to Jesus’ radical welcome. In 2020, we, along with many congregations across the U.S., became a Matthew 25 church that outwardly proclaims our commitment to feeding the hungry, clothing the unclothed, housing the unhoused, and loving those who are pushed aside and threatened by the workings of established societal systems.” In July 2021, I wrote a short children’s book called “You are a Calvary History-Maker.” I noted stories researched by Joe Beyer and information written in Carol Green Wilson’s book “Many Years One Message: Calvary Presbyterian Church: 1854 – 1979.” The opening line of my story is, “You are a Calvary history change-maker whether you have been sitting on the velvet sanctuary pew for half of your life or have only watched a few online services while sitting in your jammies on the couch this year.” The Protestant idea that we are the “community/priesthood of believers” gives us all permission to participate in our own faith-formation, as well as points to the responsibility to actively respond to our call. We don’t attend worship so we can watch the pastors and staff do community outreach. We attend worship to be inspired to courageously carry out the call of Matthew 25 into our relationships, work life, spiritual growth, and public action.

Summer with Children and Youth

Summer is a busy time for families as they shift from the school-year schedules to summer camps, programs, and vacations. How does church fit into families’ summer schedules? Many years ago, Calvary held summer worship services in the chapel and did not offer childcare. It was a time when pastors would go on study leave and vacations and folks would be out of town. It was a good time for families to sit together during worship. For almost ten years, we have had childcare open every Sunday throughout the year. We support families whenever they come to Calvary. Families have the choice to sit together during worship or walk their children to childcare and Sunday Studio.

More About Juneteenth

Join the Calvary Racial Equity Initiative (REI) Team after worship this Sunday, June 18, to celebrate our newest Federal holiday and the oldest known holiday that observes the end of slavery in the U.S. Enjoy Coffee Hour with treats from a local Black-owned business and information about Black heroes. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Gen. Gordon Granger announced that the enslaved people in Texas were free by the order of the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1862. The Calvary church building will be closed on Monday, June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth. This blog will provide links to Juneteenth history resources and information about reparations. Amos 5:24 "But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry."