Living out sanctuary through art

Our Events Team puts on a First Friday art opening and reception each month. We’re booked for the next year already! Our local paper gave us a kindly write-up recently about how novel it is for the church to celebrate creativity and make friends through art. Our gallery was one of the first on Frankford Ave in a burgeoning art scene and as many of the other galleries have gotten priced out we might be one of the last for a while. We’re able stay because we’re an expression of the church and we keep finding people who want to enjoy and appreciate art, make friends, and hold space for people to connect. Our artists range from professional veterans to post-university young people having their first show, to the work of kids at two local schools. Our team has room if you want to join!

OCircle of Hope, church in philadelphia, churches in philadelphia, muslim, arabic, events, churches in south jersey, ne of our leaders put up this sign on the front of our building recently, as a lot of us have been exploring what sanctuary means. It’s a bold statement and I’m glad we make it. This past First Friday, it was more than—we embodied this kind of neighborliness in our event.

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture holds the Arab after-school program at Moffet Elementary (about 7 blocks from our building on Frankford Ave). The students hung their visual art to be up all month. They also performed songs for their parents, relatives, friends, and others gathered.

Many of the students’ families, and many of our neighbors around Howard & Cecil B. Moore, come from Arabic countries like Iraq, Palestine (via Jordan or Lebanon), and Syria. The federal government has come to an immoral decision that people—even refugees—from several Arabic nations are forbidden to come to the US under the guise of security. This policy move has brought to the surface many unhealthy and damaging attitudes that specifically target Arabic people.

It’s a good thing to make a statement like “we’re happy to have Arabs as neighbors” or to decry anti-Muslim rhetoric. One of our pastors is Egyptian, the child of immigrants and several folks connected to us are Arabic as well so that’s pretty easy for us to say. It tastes very sweet when we as Circle of Hope help make spaces like last Friday to consciously celebrate the creativity and hard work of children, and drink in the beauty of Arabic culture. We are making sanctuary through friendship and love, just like Jesus taught us and compels us. Thanks again to Al-Bustan and the Circle of Hope Events team for pulling together another beautiful collaboration! Special thanks to our team leader Amanda Capasso for your leading and camerawork.

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