Friday, November 19, 2010
seventeenth visit: Nov 14th 2010 Christian and Missionary Alliance
Allegheny Center Alliance Church
250 East Ohio St, Pittsburgh PA 15212
north side: allegheny center
Honestly, I had never heard of the denomination "Christian and Missionary Alliance" before attending ACAC. And apparently the founder (Dr. AB Simpson, a former Presbyterian) had no intentions of his project (initially a rescue-mission) growing into one. This church states its vision as aiming "to be ethnic, socio/economic and generationally diverse."
Not long ago a friend of mine said to me, "Interesting that you are doing such a performative project in a setting where... " I'm not sure she actually finished the sentence, but we can guess her direction. Performance from specifically visitors, is what she was referring to, I think, as something that does not traditionally occur in a worship place. And/or she had in mind the fact that some might see conformity as often dominating a worship place. ...Also, I'll want to clarify that we are talking about performing, as in performance art: art as action. And that is a huge part of gatherings, no doubt.
I bring up the idea of performance in the worship place, because it does happen amongst worshipers in some respects. Performing rituals is one example. And it does happen in another way—a big way—at ACAC: through music. Contemporary song. My husband would be jealous of the audio system here and it is used with full passion. Children's singing group first. Then contemporary spiritual solos by adults. Live accompaniment with amped instruments. There is also a performance of the day's discourse: foot-washing. Themed phrase: "The holes in our soles." On stage, the feet of four church members are washed by four other members holding higher positions within the church (deacons, perhaps). Point: the idea of not putting one's self above the duty of servitude. Remembering from my fourteenth visit: Feet of the elders are kissed by all participants at the end of a Hindu puja. And—I remember seeing signs posted in the temple's halls on the way to the main areas of worship—feet are washed in Hindu temples, too. (Good thing, right?)