CONWAY With the holiday season and snowfall as recent memories, organizers of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church’s fundraiser Art, Love, Pray invite members of the community to come out and enjoy themselves and support a missionary trip to Guatemala as well.
The fourth annual art show, sale and silent auction, Art, Love, Pray: Teaching Hearts, Changing Lives, will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. Jan. 26 at St. Peter’s
Episcopal Church, 925 Mitchell St. in Conway. Tickets are $25 per person or $45 per couple. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served, and live entertainment will be provided.
Proceeds will help fund the church’s fourth trip to Guatemala, where a team of approximately 20 medical personnel and others will set up clinics to treat the native Mayans. The trip is scheduled for April 6-14.
“This is our main fundraiser for the trip,” said Marianne Welch, one of the organizers of both the fundraiser and the mission trip. “We count on this every year. We want it to be a community event. We have found that people really enjoy it.”
Works by approximately 25 artists will be displayed and offered for sale. Many of the artists will be on hand at the event to discuss their work. Some have donated their artworks for the silent auction.
“Conway artist Amy Ness will be doing a live painting of the event,” Welch said. “These paintings are such a treasure for the people who love the event. We are very excited to have her lending us her incredible talent.
“We have several new artists this year. Among them are Scott Carle and Jerry Phillips, both of Little Rock, as well as Maura Weir of Conway.”
Artist Debbie Green of Conway has been participating in the event since its inception.
“I always donate two to three paintings from my series ‘Keep Your Eyes on the Cross’ to the silent auction and will do so this year as well,” Green said. “If I sell a painting, I always donate 20 percent back to the efforts.
“I have been so blessed over the years and have received kindness from friends and strangers alike. It is my desire to give back as much and as often as I can to my community.”
This marks the first year for Chris Odom to donate his photography to the fundraiser.
“I usually work behind the scenes,” he said. “This year, I guess I’ll be doing both.”
Among the photographs he will donate is one of the
Salisbury Cathedral in England.
Artwork will be displayed in the church foyer and the Parish Hall, as well as in the Ledbetter House, which is across Prince Street from the church.
“We will be going into the west highlands of the country, visiting several rural Mayan communities,” said Welch, who is clinical director of
laboratory services for the Conway Regional Health System. “We are going back to the same places we went last year.
“We are working through the Western Diocese of the Guatemalan Episcopal Church. We will be working in communities where there is already an Episcopal church. The people will know that we are coming. Patients will be lined up at the door waiting to get in.”
Welch said the team saw 450 patients in four days last year.
“That’s an astounding number of patients,” she said, laughing.
“We are going back to the same places in hopes that if we can continue to go there year after year, we will be able to make a long-term difference in those communities,” she said. “We see mainly women and children; the men are too busy working to come in.”
Welch said the team will work with a local physician “so we will have a resource if we see more serious conditions. He’s both a doctor and an Episcopal priest, like our priest, the Rev. Teri Daily, who was a pediatrician before she became a priest.”
Daily said an important thing about this year’s trip is being able to provide “some continuity of care.”
“It will be a whole new ballgame for us, as we will be seeing the same people again. Last year, we saw some crossover from the previous trips. One little boy came to the clinic wearing a Toad Suck Daze T-shirt that he had received the year before. That was great.”
Welch said this year’s trip will be a “little different than last year’s.”
“We are taking some people from Conway, including an architect, Steve Hurd, to assess a possible construction project,” Welch said. “On one of our trips, we helped with a small construction project, but this year we want to see how we might help a congregation that has no church.
“They have a cornfield. It’s a group of about 50 people who meet at the priest’s home. We would love to turn that cornfield into a church. If we’re going to bite off something like that, we need to have a good idea of local construction methods and other things.”
Hurd said this will be his first mission trip with his church.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I will have some things in the art show as well — some of my cathedral blocks, spirit boxes and some photographs. I was lucky enough to sell some things in last year’s show.”
This year’s trip to Guatemala is a collaborative effort of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock.
“We even have one team member from an Episcopal church in Memphis,” she said.
For more information on Eat, Pray, Love or the mission trip, call the church office at (501) 329-8174.