During Lent we are offering a weekly blog written by Pullen members about their passions. The phrase “Passion of Jesus” has been used in Christian history to refer to the suffering of Jesus from his entrance into Jerusalem until his crucifixion. This makes sense because one definition of the word “passion” is to suffer. Yet another meaning of the term in English is strength of feeling.
So each Monday in Lent, a Pullen person is sharing in blog form something about which she or he is passionate. It is our hope that reading about the deep commitments of other Pullenites will enrich our own passions and our experience of this holy season.
-The Education Council
Why I’m Passionate about Inclusive Sanctuary Art
by: Cheryl Stallings
Pullen Church is an amazing and extraordinary place, a place where my spirit is nourished and renewed. I often think of Pullen as an “oasis in the desert” for those seeking unconditional welcome and acceptance as we journey together as a faith community. On my first visit to Pullen, a welcoming and friendly usher greeted me by saying, “We’ve been waiting for you…come on in!”
One of the primary reasons I was drawn to Pullen, and have kept coming back for over 10 years, is the church’s long-standing voice and activism for equality, justice and inclusion. I so appreciate the intentional work of our staff as they plan our worship services and incorporate inclusive language and diversity in spoken word and song. I so appreciate all of you who work for justice and equality in so many diverse ways.
One of my passions at Pullen is our sanctuary art project, because this is an effort to bring more diverse and inclusive images into our sacred worship space. I have been working on this project for about eight years, and it stands on the shoulders of many (many who currently work alongside me, and many who have gone before me).
The two pieces of artwork that will be installed on our side sanctuary walls are now being created by a dedicated and passionate group of Pullen members and friends. We have painted all 28 images, and are now painting the text letters that will go with the images. Next is the frame, and then the installation! We have been working diligently with our co-creating liturgical artist Catherine Kapikian for several years to get to this current phase of the project. The artwork is a visual proclamation of Pullen’s shared beliefs and values: that God’s love is inclusive of all people and all creation; that is important to honor the stories of both women and men of faith in our sanctuary imagery; and that our worship space is a reflection of who we say we are and what we value as a church. Read more about the project on our church web page or come join us during a work session (posted on the on-line church calendar and announced in the Pullen Updates).
Radical hospitality, doing justice, loving kindness, walking humbly…Ever embracing, Ever becoming…Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. May you be richly blessed during this, your Lenten journey.