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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walls

One of the meeting places we frequently use, when we need to go off-site, or want to put all our attention into the meeting and not into cooking, KP, washroom duty and the like, is Scarboro Mission. This Catholic retreat centre in the east end of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is a wonderful place for just such a gathering. This weekend the various directors of our camping program will meet there for just such a meeting. They'll be considering reunions, retreats and camps past and future and will no doubt have a wonderful time networking, challenging each other and motivating one another in new and creative directions. (Our CPI group have met there too.)

What does this have to do with walls?

One of the great things about Scarboro Mission are its walls! In every hallway you'll notice photographs, pictures, posters, all promoting the work the Mission is proud of and promotes. You'll see the most wonderful photographic art illustrating the principles peace and justice, of the commandments, the beatitudes, the golden rule, even the stations of the cross in ways that most of us have never thought about in quite this way. There are carvings, sculpture, fabric art from the countries its missionaries visit, and whose citizens come to learn or retreat together. It is wonderful and inspiring "art" that surrounds those assembled--as they're on their way to dinner, taking a break, moving back to residence rooms. And I think it helps shape the meeting.

I've just been reading this in a book about Community by a favourite author of mine, Peter Block.

"An empty wall is a testimony to the insignificance of the human spirit," observed pioneering street life researcher William H. Whyte. Our job is to affirm the significance of the human spirit, and filling the walls with photos and with art by citizens, youth and employees is very doable. The library or art galleries in the community would be willing to curate public space. They do it frequently for restaurants and shops. It is not a question of cost; it is a question of consciousness.

At the end of the day, we have to ask, how can we create aliveness when the wall sits sadly empty?"

Have a look around at the walls where you work or plan or meet in community. Are they alive? Or do you have some work to do there?

Posted by Marion

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