The Social Justice Arts Ministry (SJAM) explores social justice issues utilizing both the visual arts as well as music, writing, drama and dance. This is rooted in the belief that because the arts affect people at a fundamental level they can be a catalyst for change. Art can also be a stepping off place for conversations to begin. It is our hope that the art presented will be that stepping off place for conversation and for change.
We have three different social justice art exhibits in our Oak Street Gallery per year each one running for one month. The three topics covered in 2021 were Mental Health, Racial Justice, and Food Insecurity. Ideas for exhibits in 2022 and beyond include: environmental justice, LGBTQIA+, poverty, homelessness, housing, gun, prison reform, and health care.
SJAM also promotes local community organizations that are working for social change relevant to the issue being shown in the art gallery. This gives the agency exposure both within our congregation and also in the greater community. Most of the proceeds from sales in the art gallery go to the organization being featured.
Concurrently with each of these three exhibits there was an opening event for both the congregation and the community featuring music, dance, drama, and poetry or prose reading. It is a celebration of the artists, the arts, and the ongoing social justice work by our church and in our city.
Once the pandemic is over and we can again be in our church, we will offer refreshments and fellowship following the opening event. The members of FCUCC love to celebrate with
food and fellowship and we hope you will join us!
Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far away among the nations and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a little while in the countries where they have gone. – Ezekiel 11:16 (NRSV)Pride Month hits different when you live in a small town in the middle of the country. It’s not the stuff of movies where the whole city transforms into rainbows and neighbors line glitter-soaked streets for the big parade. Our local parade often has more people marching than spectating, and this year, amid leadership transitions, we’re skipping it altogether.
Where I live, Pride is less about the party and more of a sacred pause. It is our reminder that we can’t wait for politicians to legislate us into liberation; we must protect our trans children. It is a calling forth of queer community to create spaces where we celebrate our wildly wonderful gender expressions and can canoodle with our same-gender sweethearts in the corner pew.
Sure, I have celebrated Pride in the promised land, where a dozen Dykes on Bikes led the parade and the Indigo Girls headlined the festival stage.
I have also sat in my Midwest sanctuary and listened to the testimony of someone who isn’t out at work but is on Sunday morning. I’ve watched as queer elders processed forward to be prayed over by their church. I’ve (embarrassingly) ugly-cried as the choir sang, “No matter what people say or think about you, you are a child of God.”
Queer folks are scattered all over this land, and wherever we gather, however we gather, there is the opportunity to create holy sanctuary in God’s image. The glitter is optional.
Taken from the Daily Devotional of the UCC national site. Author: Liz Miller