Parish Holy Trinity is an active multigenerational parish in the midst of a mixed residential neighborhood just off an active urban thoroughfare on the south side of Edmonton, AB Canada. The working Mission Statement for the parish is “Making Christ Visible through the Arts” which was influenced strongly by the parish’s historic connection to the arts (musical theatre from about 1908), its current context and by Ian Cron’s book Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim’s Tale. The parish, which celebrated its 120th year as a parish, 100th year at its current location and the 90th year of its organ in 2013, is located in a residential area of mixed apartments and single family homes two blocks off of Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona. Holy Trinity’s own annual Arts Festival now in its third year, funded impart from seed grants in the first 2 years from the Edmonton Arts Council of which Holy Trinity is a member. For seven days at the end of May, Holy Trinity Anglican Church will open its doors to artists and audiences to celebrate the arts in our community. Believing creativity and spirituality are closely related, the church has invited actors, painters, dancers, writers, filmmakers, and musicians to share their talents with all of Edmonton.
Project: Who Goes There? God’s Presence in Transitional Moments
The sharing of stories is imperative in identity formation. The impetus for this project is to allow a number of individuals from a variety of social backgrounds to tell their stories of birth, marriage, or death (and the rituals involved in same) in a format that is dramatically structured and accessible to the public. These individuals may be disenfranchised, affluent, confident, uncertain or apparently routine, but the goal is to gather enough different perspectives and experiences to find the common touchstones that unite us all. Gathering the material (outreach) would including a “call” to the broader community as well as sending scribes to the local elementary school, Old Strathcona Youth Co-op, Strathcona Community League Moms and Tots group, and the South Alberta Light Horsemen Regiment, ensuring the project is wholly intergenerational. Appointed scribes world either give prompts for individual timed writing or assist in recording aural histories.
Once gathered, the stories would be crafted into a dramatic format through artistic mixing of stories to highlight the connections between them. Each participant would have their personal narratives supported by music, visual arts and even interpretive dance (community building) to avoid a delivery of disconnected monologues. These dynamic forms would be a re-interpretation of the single telling narratives and would engage artist of all genres and mediums. Editorial support and performance encouragement would be available to all participants with an eye to sculpting the stories into a liturgical model that could be re-enacted over and over again with different source materials.
The “play” would be staged at various places in and around the venue with liturgical voiceover introducing each set piece. As each segment unfolds, an appointed leader would lead improvisational prayer specific to the situation. The production would be followed by an audience/congregational Q&A with the players, an opportunity to learn from each other about the experience of God outside traditional church.
10037 – 84 Avenue, NW
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Ven. Dr. Christopher a Pappas, Rector
David Belke, Resident Playwright
Margaret Macpherson, Resident Writer, ArtSpirit Creative Director