There’s a concept most of the readers are familiar with, that of the Open Mike or diverse entertainment venue (how about that, I just invented a phrase).
It’s a concept that we at First Presbyterian Church of Clovis are going to be exploring over the next several months, beginning actually tonight. We’ve invited a pretty fabulous singer/songwriter, Jane Begley Saied, who is based in Clovis.
It’s always a good idea to anchor any open mike with a strong acoustic musician, in case nobody else at all comes prepared to perform — though I have been assured that others will.
We are experimenting with this as a way of strengthening the historical church/community connection which seems to be weakening in our modern life. I must use the word “experimenting” guardedly; it’s a pretty well known pattern, having community social events in churches, east of the Great Plains, and certainly present in larger cities like Santa Fe and Amarillo.
Why is that connection weakening? From what I can gather, there’s been a real downswing, in some areas, since the 1980’s. Internet — people just don’t socialize as much?
That’s probably a piece of it. If you prefer your Facebook friends to mingling with real people, I suppose it’s your business. I guess I’m proud to say that my Facebook friends are also a part of my real world, though in some cases separated by time and distance.
Is it simply the idea that the church, by that I mean the building, is somehow a place where only sacred events take place?
I don’t know. To some the idea of turning a church into a coffeehouse one or two nights a month would be abhorrent. To many more, however, the idea of a group of people coming together to enjoy each other, refreshments and entertainment, is simply another avenue for God to touch lives.
For us, at First Presbyterian Clovis, it is going to be a Thursday evening, once and perhaps twice a month, exploration. There’s a good chance that, after the approaching one, we will knock off for July and resume in August.
I’d invite you to keep your eyes open for our announcements and publicity, if you have original work you want to share. Well, it doesn’t have to be original, but that really makes for a better coffeehouse atmosphere.
Perhaps you have original work you have never shared, that is pretty good and should be shared, like the person I was just visiting with. Open Mike crowds are a great place to spread your wings, try your talents, and support other folks who are doing the same.
Hope to see you do so in the future.