Friday, May 25, 2012

The way it's supposed to work


Kimberly from Union Sminary has come in  to go over paper work for her fall internship. She's gotten involved already...
The Center Board gathers for another strategy session  leading up to Saturday morning’s meeting with Presbytery offcials. We are coming to a sense of concnsus on what our plan needs to be. We will stand by our original vision will continue to be what we want to do. Very hard to pull off, but still possible.  And we have fall back positions. 
The Session gathers and reviews the work by the Center Board and comes down in the same place. We’re clear.  What the church wants more than anything is to be out from under the burden of the building so that we can be free to build the church.
I take Hope and Marsha outside to see where Teddy and his steamfitter friend Kirin have fixed our hazardous sidewalk grate with welding guns. (I like the smell of welding in the morning, he says, reminds me of money.)
As the Session members are leaving, Teddy says to me excitedly, Bob, you have to come see what’s going on here.  It’s a full house of activity. Glen has finished auditions and has one play rehearsing in the sanctuary. A second play is being rehearsed in Mc Alpin Hall. And the Dark Lady Players rehearsing..and the 4th floor gym.
I go up to the top floor, checking everything out. The lights have finally been replaced in  the gym. Teddy found the long pole light bulb changer earlier today. 
When I get back downstairs, Glen has called both casts into the sanctuary. One scene from each play will be performed. Teddy points out to me that he has introduced Little Chris to Glen. And Glen has him sitting beside him, taking notes, studying the scripts, asking his opinion.  As close to heaven as Little Chris needs to be.
After the scenes are done with warm applause from the other actors, Glen tells the story of the blanket, a quilt made by an African-American woman from Georgia in the fifties. He found it on EBay, offered by the woman’s niece. Tracked down its story. He is visibly moved. The blanket will play a part in both plays. 
He has each actor stand and tell their story. Reminiscent of A Chorus Line. When one woman falters, he stands beside her, shares a story from his own life, and she smiles and continues. I look around, one play has an almost entirely African-American cast. The other is more mixed. There’s young and old, Latino, white, black, and as one young man says, half Puerto Rican, half everything else. One cast includes Jennifer, who Glen met in church last Sunday. The last person to speak is Little Chris, who talks about his film school and fashion school experience. And how this church has so openly accepted and embraced him. Glen and his directors Chris and Robert are feeling good. 
Glen and I talk afterwards. It is so clear to me that he so completely gets what we are trying to do here. And that he is someone who has fully integrated his faith into his daily work. What he is creating here is why wecan’t let go of the vision.
So this is how it works: Don comes in, looking  for a church. Happy to know  that Mim, who he knew back in Harrisburg, is involved with the Center. Has the idea of doing his backer’s audition here. Glen comes to the backer’s audition, decides to check us out as a church. Comes to church and discovers Don who has been coming here as a congregant. And Glen’s partner works with Don. Decides to do his own shows here. Meets Jennifer at services, invites her to audition, now she’s in  the cast....That’s the synergy we’re looking for....
Glen shares some more of his story with me. When I came in and saw that flag, (the rainbow one), I knew I was home....

Chris (director), Glen and Robert (director)
and the quilt

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