By the Rev. Hamilton Smith, Rector, St. Thomas Church, Mt. Pleasant
Covid 19 has put a stumbling block in front of so much ministry. I don’t need to go into the litany of things that have been cancelled, moved, zoomed, or put outside. It’s easy to see Covid as only an obstacle.
Christ Church, Mt. Pleasant, however, saw it as an opportunity. One business particularly hard hit by Covid has been the performing arts. Like Churches, these businesses exist by bringing groups large and small to rehearse, sing, laugh, hug, and watch others do the same. All of that came to a crashing halt in mid March. Rehearsals could be moved outside, but all of the performance spaces were shut down. This included all publicly owned amphitheaters. Many performing arts companies were forced to hold plays in their parking lots (with the audience watching from cars and lighting the stage with headlights!) or on farms miles away from town.
One such business is FAME Performing Arts Company in Mt. Pleasant (fameperformingarts.org). This family-owned business had “Peter Pan” to perform but nowhere to perform it. They needed an outdoor space with enough room for a 50 by 20 foot stage, room to seat audience members 10 feet apart, ample parking, access to power, and centrally located in Mt. Pleasant. And they needed it to be affordable.
Upon hearing about FAME’s need, The Rev. Ted Duvall met with his Vestry. Within days, they offered FAME the use of the lawn in front of their worship space (the “Quad”) for no charge for as long as needed.
The impact of this grace was powerful. Not only was the performance able to go on, but it caused a great deal of confusion amongst those who attended who were not Christians. More than 50% of those living in Mt. Pleasant do not attend Church. Many of those see the Church as an institution that cares only for the needs of its members. Christ Church’s actions turned those beliefs upside down. Now, Christ Church has a new reputation amongst those who once spurned it.
I think we would all be wise to follow Christ Church’s lead.