The best way to bridge our differences is to hold a party!
In dancing, dialoguing and dreaming together we make connections that open our hearts to other’s stories. In this openness we might even find a glimmer of hope for a better world.
Let’s face it, hope is in short supply.
It’s all too easy to surrender ourselves to the violence of the world or in our own hearts. The invitation to see as others see is timely given the rampant cynicism that just about everywhere.
It’s too easy to have our differences divide us, rather than to be festive; to risk dancing together – even if uncomfortably. In so many ways, the other is us and we do have our common humanity to gather and build community around.
The Starfields Festival, then, seeks to be a shimmer of hope in the night sky. Starfields is a way come together to celebrate and to have fun in the face of our challenges.
We all have our cherished beliefs. At the same time, we recognize that what unites us is greater than what divides us. As a people, we need hope, joy and inspiration to make our communities and world a better home for all.
The big vision, then, for this arts festival is a strong belief that respectful dialogue leads to these bridges being built.
With open hearts and minds, a deeper understanding grows with individuals and communities that are different than us.
The concept for Starfields was born out of coffee shop conversations among people from diverse traditions. It’s a ministry of the Emmaus Community, a neo-monastic community that is a shared ministry of the Anglican and United Churches. In addition, many people from Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church came to the table and now a whole host of others are getting involved. The list of Starfielders grows longer each day.
The lineup for Starfields 2018, our inaugural festival, includes musicians The Paperboys, The Small Glories, Linda McRae, The Leela Gilday Band, Cris Derksen, Hope Bay Common, Washington and Cook, Decades After Paris, Rae Spoon, Lauren Mann, Liz Dielman, Deer and Coyote, WhiteBird, The Lake Men & Benedict Beattie.
Venues Friday and Saturday are downtown Victoria at The First Church of Christ the Scientist, Our Place, The Metro Theatre, Intrepid Theatre Club, Christ Church Cathedral, First Met United Church. Sunday morning happens at UVic’s Multifaith Chapel, early afternoon at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Gordon Head and late afternoon and evening at St Matthias/The AbbeyChurch in Fairfield.
Our keynote speaker is Christian activist Shane Claiborne who worked with Mother Teresa and founded The Simple Way Community in Philadelphia. He heads up a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane been jailed for advocating for the homeless, and gone to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to stand against war.
Workshops on Saturday and Sunday include an open mic for songs and spoken word, the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, songs and stories from Buddhist and Jewish storytellers, environmental and social activists exploring the theme “Caring for Our Common Home”, poets exploring “Visions”, authors addressing “Finding Meaning in Life” and a garden meditation walk at UVic.\
The festival will close on Sunday with a free concert, followed by a meal and then an inclusive Christian worship time where Claiborne will preach.
Events are free - except the big concerts Friday and Saturday evenings - which are $20 each. Check out all the details at www.starfields.ca or email us at email@example.com.
Come along – let’s stare up at the stars together in defiant hope. Come join the party!
Jo Beattie is the festival coordinator for Starfields 2018. Fr. William Hann is the Pastor of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church. The Rev. Rob Crosby-Shearer is a member of the Emmaus Community and planter/starter with the Abbey Church. All of them are part of the Starfields Steering Team.
You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Dpiritually Speaking. HERE
This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, April 7 2018