Tuesday, February 25, 2014

And there was a belly dancer


It’s a beautiful sunny day. After a long walk an a bus ride, I’m walking down 86th street to the church and encounter Anna and puppy off on their own long walk. We share the news of the day and  our observations and reflections. Other dog walkers pass by, their dogs stopping to check out puppy. When I finally get to the church, I realize I have left my lap top at home, so have to go all the way back again if I hope to get anything done. Sigh.

Jamie arrives. She’s been working hard to pull together the report on everything we’ve been doing to build a capital campaign to begin moving forward. We’ve also got to look at all the internal dynamics.

Not too long after Hugo arrives. This morning, we were both at a Presbytery leadership training day. It’s planned and organized by the committee that opened the door for us to walk through with Presbytery. Who stood with us when no one else would. So we owe it to be here for them. And Hugo has been asked to share in leadership, to share his story.

And as I listened to him, I felt very proud, honored and happy. To hear his journey from traditional Central America Catholic, to his experience of liberation theology and Christian base communities, which became the building blocks of the revolution. To his experience in Cuba. To his first experience with Presbyterian missionaries who decided not to compete with existing Christian communities but to stand in supportive solidarity with the already existing community of faithful.That experience touched him deeply.

When the Sandinistas got voted out of governance, he returned to the United States. And looking  for a church, found West-Park while Regi was still there as out multicultural pastor. They joined  the afternoon community, then called enlace de gracia.  Now as Regi. and that special service is gone…they remain faithful still. He was once a Sandinista diplomat. Now he manages a supportive housing SRO. (For WSSFSH, another ministry born at West-Park, years ago. But he remains a moral compass for our church. And for me. I will always remember his arrest during the Landmarks struggle and his refusal to cop a plea and accept community service. He held his ground. And was exonerated. It’s good to have him here. (

Hugo , Jamie and I review our situation. Talk strategy. Seek clarity.

Jamie leaves to go home. Later we’ll meet at Joe’s Pub to see Noche Flamenca’s performance. Where Martin’s choreography, his flamenco version of Antigone will blow out the walls of a genre, open up new space. Will take flamenco places no  one could imagine. For him, it' a living, breathing form. I will see Marina reach new places as a dancer, places it had looked like she could go. She has a gift. True duende. He’s using puppets and puppeteers from Basil Twist,( the hip puppeteer du jour working with the Public Theatre, the Metropolitan opera and his own creations. But most of all, it’s Sole, Soledad Barrio, her last solo, that literally drove me to tears. She just goes to another deeper, more profound place. A place that is, well, transformative….And I am filled with a sense of satisfaction that this performance  came together at West-Park. Yet another why we are here.

                                 * * * *

Make a stop at West-Park on my way home, just to check things out. Another opening night for Berik and Leila and the party is still going on. He seems to have found the right combination of art and music and is developing  a strong following of younger artists. When I get there, a woman is singing and another woman is belly dancing.
And there was a belly dancer
And in the back, there's RL. Seems they needed a mic so went up and asked him and he came down  and one thing led to another and eventually he did a 3 song set ending with Stay Awhile and apparently had them dancing and clapping which doesn't surprise me. The best is yet to come. I am hoping to live long enough to be colorful. Need to start working on that now. 

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