FC Summer 2020

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Same Mission, New Methods

T

he audience of about 400 people was in place. The event started right on time at 4 p.m. And Fellowship for Performing Arts was again ready to engage patrons with content from a Christian worldview.

A new production? No, our first video-conference event – Living in the Post-Pandemic World, featuring FPA Founder and Artistic Director Max McLean, author and social critic Os Guinness and more.

“With theatres closed across the country, we’ve pivoted to different ways to pursue our mission,” Max said, “such as this livestream event that would engage our Fellowship Circle of supporters.”

The main event featured a Q&A with Os. We planned the event prior to the nation being swept up in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, and Os offered a Christian response to the outbreak in racial tension as well as the pandemic.

“When a nation hits a crisis, you can tell its health by the way it comes together in facing the crisis,” he said. “But America fractured further with the pandemic, and with the George Floyd killing you can see an even wider fracturing.”

He offered historical examples of the three options Christians have in responding to large cultural challenges: fight, flight or faithfulness. 

Finally, Os spoke to the opportunities a post-pandemic world might create for the arts.

“Part of my prayer and hope is that the pandemic . . . will challenge people to ask ultimate questions again,” he said. “We’ve been so comfortable, so complacent, too much to live with, too little to live for, that Americans have stopped asking ultimate questions.

“We’ve been so comfortable, so complacent, too much to live with, too little to live for, that Americans have stopped asking ultimate questions.” — Os Guinness

“So much of what FPA does in, say, The Most Reluctant Convert, which Max has been doing, is fabulous material for asking ultimate questions. So my hope is we’re moving into a time when ultimate questions will become everyone’s questions again.”

The conference began with Max giving an update on FPA and life in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic. Max then introduced his friend Dr. Randy Owen, a head and neck surgeon at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital.

His surgical team has performed over 150 tracheotomies to prep patients for ventilators to extend their lives during the peak of the pandemic. Randy also gave an encouraging testimony of how God sustained him and other medical practitioners as they faced a soul-crushing workload.

Max followed with a short presentation from C.S. Lewis’ timely essay Living in an Atomic Age. By substituting “pandemic” for “atomic bomb,” the reading created an inventive way to share Lewis’ insight that this plague creates “no new situation but simply aggravates our current situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Life has always been lived . . . in the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself.”

With the time remaining, Os fielded questions that viewers posed via chat, moderated by Marshall Pennell, Special Assistant to the President, who leads FPA philanthropic initiatives.

The live event was by invitation only for FPA’s Fellowship Circle of supporters. The playback has since been made available to the public, (see video at top of article).

Responses such as this from viewers have been encouraging:

“The conversation webinar was what my troubled soul needed. To hear all the voices of wisdom and God-centered comfort was such a blessing. Know that what you do makes such a difference and lifts others to do the same.”

Max followed with a short presentation from C.S. Lewis’ timely essay Living in an Atomic Age. By substituting “pandemic” for “atomic bomb,” the reading created an inventive way to share Lewis’ insight that this plague creates “no new situation but simply aggravates our current situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Life has always been lived . . . in the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself.”

With the time remaining, Os fielded questions that viewers posed via chat, moderated by Marshall Pennell, Special Assistant to the President, who leads FPA philanthropic initiatives.

The live event was by invitation only for FPA’s Fellowship Circle of supporters. The playback has since been made available to the public.

Responses such as this from viewers have been encouraging:

“The conversation webinar was what my troubled soul needed. To hear all the voices of wisdom and God-centered comfort was such a blessing. Know that what you do makes such a difference and lifts others to do the same.”

The support of our Fellowship Circle is vitally important during this time. Thank you for standing with us.

 

Martin Luther on Trial

FPA produced a second virtual event in early August with a virtual dramatic reading of Martin Luther on Trial.

Nearly 12,500 people registered to see it, with 16,637 viewers on our YouTube channel for a projected audience of 25,000 people. All 50 states and 44 countries were represented.

Responses from viewers were overwhelmingly positive.

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More articles from FCSummer 2020

A Tribute to Ravi Zacharias

FROM THE DESK OF MAX MCLEAN With the passing of Ravi Zacharias in May, the world lost one of the great Christian apologists of this generation. FPA lost a friend. FPA Founder and Artistic Director Max McLean looks at Ravi’s impact on our organization and on him personally. Read More

Behind the Scenes of FPA’s Campus Initiative

FPA’s Campus Initiative takes our productions to colleges and universities nationwide. Let’s look at reactions from students and staff and see what other benefits emerge even beyond the performance and talkback. Read More

FPA Will Be Ready When Live Theatre Returns

Across the country, theatres remain closed indefinitely, but at Fellowship for Performing Arts, we’re hard at work to be ready when the curtains once again go up. Our three touring shows, a New York season, a revival of an award-winning production all are among projects getting a close look right now. Read More