We’re sharing the stories of ministries in congregations around the diocese, celebrating the incredible work being done on the local level. In this local ministry profile, the Rev. Shelly Fayette of Christ Church, Seattle speaks about their partnership with Amplifier, and the Community Vaccination Art Program in which they participated.
The mural is part of an activation event put on by Amplifier (Amplifier.org), who puts art in service of social change. We were approached by the U District Partnership, when Amplifier was looking for a wall to do this activation event. I jumped on it immediately! We have a perfect wall and we’ve been thinking about having art on it for a long time.
Amplifier did the organizing, both of the mural and connecting with the city to offer shots. The pharmacists administered 97 vaccines – 20 for COVID and 77 for flu!
I was sitting just inside the church doors as the clinic was progressing and as the mural was going up. As I was sitting there, a man cautiously approached the door, and asked me, “Are you a priest?” I said, “Yes.” He told me he is a political asylum seeker from Pueblo, Mexico, who entered the country from Canada during the Trump administration. He told me that he had recently been able to find a lawyer who could help his case, but the legal fees are expensive. He also needed help to have a native English speaker simply sit with him and help him fill out the forms.
He asked if we could help. I was able to assist with the legal fees that day through our discretionary fund. I connected him to Rev. Chris to find someone able to help him work through the forms, since I am leaving on sabbatical and cannot do it myself. So not only was he able to get his first COVID vaccine at Christ Church, he is now resourced for his asylum claim.
This is a one-time project, though the mural stays up. Amplifier was hugely delighted to find a very queer, very progressive church (we surprised them!) and we’ve said that we’re happy to continue to be a site for collaboration into the future.
The one thing I’d want others to know is to say YES! Saying yes when opportunities come means welcoming a whole blossoming of opportunity. I spent a half hour being interviewed by the Amplifier guys in our courtyard and both of them, by the end, had told me their religious histories, told me why they had left their religious traditions of childhood, told me they had never heard of a Christian church that welcomed gay people, much less one that is led by gay people, and asked if they could come to church. I told them of course, but they live in San Diego, so it’s a little hard. But they said, “This is exactly where I would take my kids if I had kids.” So “yes” to a mural means two videographers now know Christianity celebrates gay people, in some places. You don’t know which doors will open, but the yes opens all of them.
You can find out more about the Community Vaccination Arts Program at the link below.
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