Our Faith: Exhibit focuses on work of Palestinian Christians
By Wendy Foster For The Sun January 2, 2013 5:40PM
At a Glance
What: Room for Hope Art Exhibit
When: Jan. 7 through Feb. 4 during church hours
Where: Our Saviours Lutheran Church, 815 S. Washington St., Naperville
The other two exhibits will be at:
First Presbyterian Church, 1427 Chicago Ave., Evanston
The Atrium, Grace Lutheran Church and School, 7300 Division St., River Forest
Updated: February 5, 2013 6:16AM
Since the time of Jesus, Palestinian Christian Arabs have had a presence in Bethlehem. Their numbers have declined sharply through the ages; especially so because of the constant conflict in Palestine and the impact of the occupation.
“Most Westerners and particularly Christians don’t know that there are Palestinian Christian Arabs, even though they are a very ancient group of people,” said Ruth Nelson of Naperville.
A member of Our Saviours Lutheran Church in Naperville, Nelson has a passion for creating awareness about Christians in the region, and promoting positive Christian-Muslim relations. Nelson is a volunteer with Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a nonprofit that supports schools, community programming, fine arts colleges and more in Bethlehem. Our Saviours will be one of three Chicago-area churches to host Bright Stars’ Room for Hope juried art exhibition from Jan. 7 through Feb. 4.
Room for Hope will feature paintings, photographs and mixed media created by Christian and Muslim artists in Bethlehem and the surrounding region.
“What we’re trying to do is basically share the work of Bright Stars throughout all of Chicago during the month,” Nelson said. “There’s a large exhibit traveling across the country, and there wasn’t a single venue that was large enough, so it was split up into thirds. This provides a great opportunity to talk about Bright Stars and their mission of reconciliation.”
Pastor Tom Grevlos of Our Saviours is on the board of directors for Bright Stars.
“Our Saviour’s is honored to host the art exhibit as a way to live out Jesus words, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ Ruth Nelson and her team have a passionate desire to build not just bridges, but a deeper understanding between all people!” Grevlos said. “We applaud these initiatives, especially in a world deeply divided by fiscal, racial, ethnic and religious cliffs. Our Saviour’s is most pleased to welcome all to this ground-breaking exhibit.”
Nelson is hoping that the Naperville interfaith community will attend the exhibit. A reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 12 will include refreshments and music.
“All of the art will be on sale, with profits from the sales going directly to the artists,” Nelson said.
“I think we have a tendency to think of the Palestinian issue in terms of many of the negatives that we see in the media. What we’re trying to portray through the exhibit is that, within the occupation, there’s room for hope. That’s the theme of the exhibit. Within this fine arts college and within the work of Bright Stars, good things are happening, and they’re happening across faith lines.”