Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily Life and Sacred Space

Reverence is a word I don't use very often, and when I hear it used, too often I find my nerves jangled by the hollowed-out religious meanings that attach to it. To revere something or some one or some place is to, according to my Oxford English Dictionary, give it "deep and due respect." And while the old Presbyterian church on Fifth Street in Calumet, Michigan is no longer a house of worship, it is a revered space being reshaped to give deep and due respect to the community, to the creative process, and to the heritage and future of this region.

The Calumet Art Center is just getting started and with continued community support and a lot of hard work the old church is becoming a place where people of any age and any background can bring art into their daily life. The art reading room is being set up now and the Center is accepting contributions of art books. Fund raisers are in the works. Drum circles are already taking place in this wonderful old church's basement every month. Music lessons are being scheduled (the church retains a beautiful pipe organ, but piano, flute and voice lessons are also happening this fall). Concerts and lectures in this space will be memorable not only for their content but for the space itself with the polished wooden pews surrounded by intact, ornate stained glass.

We don't live in a very reverential time, and that is usually fine with me: there is nothing worse than someone or something or even some place being given undue respect. But taking an old space, saving it, respecting it, and reinventing its purpose in the community is truly an act of reverence that I am happy to participate in.

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