Throughout history, the relationship between artist communities and faith communities has not always been—shall we say—without its drama. Around the globe, each has found ways to appreciate as well as antagonize the other—to greet each other with openness as well as with guarded suspicion.
Established religious communities for their part have been both a sponsor and a boycotter—an encourager and a hostile opponent—to the efforts of artists throughout history. In confronting the faithful in many times and places, artists have mocked and flattered, provoked and paid tribute to diverse religious traditions over many centuries. Though this relationship has not been without its troubles, what would it mean for a new religious community to organize itself in harmony with established artist communities and those who were looking for a different kind of religious community? What would a faith community that was organized along the Avenue of the Arts look like? Maybe it would:
We have set out to create such a place—where artists and visionary people of faith can come together. Let's face it—Philly is an exciting place right now! People of all ages are moving into Center City in droves. The art scene in Philadelphia is dynamic and full of energy. From the most excellent expressions in the fine arts to some of the most challenging of emerging art forms, the city has made prudent investments to encourage a dynamic and creative city center—that's why we are going to make a go of this! This is where the Broad Street Ministry will make its home.
The Broad Street Ministry!
Maybe you are new to the city and are looking for a greater sense of community. Maybe you are tired of being evaluated by others based on your bank statement or your fashion sense. Maybe you have been looking for a place to explore the hard questions of meaning and faith—and not be judged! If you are the kind of person who wouldn't ordinarily think of yourself as spending a lot of time at church—this may be the kind of place for you!
The services are a place where all of life experiences are brought before God; joy and disappointment—grief and excitement—disillusionment and hope. Through its many elements—from music to meditation—questions are honored and dogmatic certainty is understood as an impediment to authentic relationship with God. It is a place where mystery is embraced but the intellect is not sacrificed.
Whether it's public forums on divisive issues of the day to informal opportunities to share a meal—BSM convenes conversation that shies away from the superficial. From spoken word to meditative dance, BSM comes together to explore where spiritual questing meets artistic expression.
We follow the call of Jesus to heal those who hurt, feed those who hunger, and speak up for those whose voices are silenced. We do this by encouraging each other as we act in our individual lives and are alert for ways we can cooperate in this counter-cultural pursuit together.