....James McAnally said the church views the Luminary's role as service.
"It's a way to serve the people around us," he said. Some churches serve by starting soup kitchens. "We felt strongly the need to serve artists by finding out what they need and try to provide in meaningful ways."
The Luminary provides space for artists to work and helps provide resources for aspiring artists to network and become professionals.
An artist's work is incredibly personal, he said. "By showing them we care about them and what they do, we are serving where it is most personal; it's a tangible way to speak of the gospel."
We were speaking to a Christian audience as someone who is a Christian - it makes it a complicated thing. Myself as an individual and The Luminary as an organization are two separate things. The organization itself is not religious, was not formed to be that and is not accomplishing a religious goal. We exist solely to support the creative community and to make it possible for artists to live and work here, which hopefully we have done and will continue to do indefinitely.
With the quotes presented as they are, I understand the reflex to wonder about our motives. It is murky; it is difficult. It has always been uncomfortable and little confusing on how we are supposed to address the church about why they allow us to use the space, year after year, and why they support us in general. Being asked questions that we would have never asked ourselves and trying to be appropriate to the audience and respect them for what they have given, now unfortunately represents us incorrectly.
We are the complicated founders of this complicated organization and this is perhaps the baggage that we are left with. Our other staff, our volunteers and advisors--very few have ever interacted with the church and we don't want to represent their work and effort in building this thing as if it is something other than the art organization that it is. We have mis-spoken, but I don't think we've mis-stepped in the way we program and run the space.