I attended an event at the Salt Artspace at the Gallery Church on 27th and Broadway last Friday night. Grace, who was hosting the event said that the Gallery Church is so-named because just like pieces of art represent the artist, each of us are works of art by, and there for represent in some unique way, the creator. I don’t believe in a God as in a deity up in “Heaven”, but I did like how she put that.
You may call it Jesus, or Mohammad, or Buddha, but to me it is the same force of love, morality, a higher calling if you will, to rise up, not only be our best, but do what ever we need to do in order to leave this world measurably better off then when we found it. I can’t seem to help inserting my own philosophy in this blog when I can =)
Back to the church. Based on the limited information on the web (to anyone who knows, please post corrections) I have gathered the following: This non-denominational church was founded by a young fellow named Aaron Coe along with 8 others, who are interested in New York City, are interested in art and are interested in Jesus. The church is about 3 years old and hosts all kinds of events including musical events, art shows, gatherings and of course, a Sunday service at 10:30am. The founders all seem to have come from traditional Christian backgrounds but all have an open mind and a passion for goodness, art and a thriving New York City. For example, they recently helped test over 1,000 people for AIDS in New York.
The night I went there was a “Circle Gathering” of what seemed to be about 25 spiritually minded artists. We were focused on creating sanctuary and what that means especially in New York. After we ate our pot-lucked food (which was very healthy and delicious), we circled up and began to talk about our “version” of sanctuary. Some people spoke about hanging out with friends, others spoke about listening to music, but quite a few of us talked about meditation, quietude and stillness … one person even said sanctuary was “not wanting anything”. The evening from that point was filled with an atmosphere of ease, unity and lack of pretense.
After our talk about sanctuary, we saw some great art projects. There was a video about how the spaces we inhabit, like our bedrooms or living rooms, become imbued with feelings, emotions and almost carry some sort of residue or characteristic of us. The artist explained how our bodies are one expression of who we are, the next layer is our clothes and another layer are the walls around us. These extensions of who we are, if you will, take on emotionality and echo relationship to self and other.
The next video was an eerie montage of photos and music set to the voice of a child talking about his dream.
Then there was the Tea Cart Stories lady, Michele Brody! She brought with her, about 15 different flavors of amazing tea including the best tea … and my personal favorite, Green tea with Matcha powder. She requested that we drink our tea and then write something (about tea or about the night) on the dried tea bag. Michele dried the tea bags, after dumping out the used tea, with an iron. I wrote about how green tea comes from China and what a deep culture it is … a country with the kind of depth that we currently lack here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Lastly, some good music was played by my new friend Devin Martin’s band, The Emergence. This band writes mind blowing, cosmic lyrics. Through the lyrics, they capture what happens in meditation, and what it means for young, intelligent, narcissists to begin to wake up to a purpose in life that transcends their immediate feelings or merely personal aspirations. The music it self is very easy to listen to, reminds me of a mixture of Live, The Indigo Girls (or guys in this case) and Dead can Dance without all the moaning.
It was a very enjoyable night filled with great people, so check out the church and/or the Salt Artspace (they occupy one in the same location) on 27th and Broadway and their list of very diverse events, gatherings and services. If you are looking for a forward-thinking church replete with a vibrant, young, diverse community, this might be the church you are looking for.