In a historic church building in downtown Lincoln, Neb., a young congregation is cultivating new community and life. F Street Neighborhood Church was started in 2014 by Northern Lighthouse Ministries, itself a church with a practice of investing in the community. Pastored by Jeff Heerspink, F Street began with a vision for starting a new church in a building and neighborhood that have experienced decline and poverty but are also at the heart of the city of Lincoln.
Worship services began in June 2014, but F Street is also involved in the community throughout the week through a farmer’s market, block parties, and other events. Now, the church is in the process of refurbishing its small chapel to be an art studio and gallery as a new way of ministering to neighbors and bringing them into community.
F Street has received a Community Engagement grant through Home Missions to help with the initial costs of purchasing supplies like easels, tools, brushes, paint sets, and other start-up needs. The studio will also rely on volunteers from the church and community who will contribute their time, including Jean Stryker, a classically-trained artist at F Street who will volunteer as the primary staff person. Instructors will not only be skilled artistically, but will also be followers of Christ with a heart for the community.
Jean Stryker describes how the studio will “bring the gifts of creativity and beauty to our challenged neighborhood.” The studio will be a safe space for people in the church and community to take low-cost art classes and to come for open studio work hours. At times, the space will also be used as a gallery for various public events, giving people a chance to showcase their creations. The first class will begin on January 16, so please join us in praying for God’s blessing on the beginning of this new outreach.
In a neighborhood that faces many challenges, an arts ministry holds great potential. As Stryker points out, “Beauty, while not necessary to survive, is essential for the human spirit to thrive.” The newly refurbished F Street studio will be a place where the human spirit can thrive: where people can grow artistically and find community.