In 2015, The Cathedral of All Souls, an Episcopalian church in Asheville, opened the Kairos Community Center in West Asheville to empower emerging local leadership through art, liturgy, and social service in the spirit of Jesus. The church’s Reverend Canon Milly Morrow and Reverend Canon Naomi Tutu talked with Local Fauna’s Kitty Love about the center and its mission.
“My work, which is also pastoral care,” said Morrow, “is to really be able to see people’s gifts for what they are, and then to help them offer that to the building of our congregation and to the building of the kingdom of God.”
Reverend Tutu explained the need from which the community center was born. “[It] was Milly’s brainchild and baby,” said Tutu. “A place that the church has offered as a space for the community to focus on—’What are the gifts as well as the needs of the community?’—and use that space to incubate ideas, and organization, and people that are about the work of economic and racial inequity.”
“There’s a nickname for our church—all sorts—for that very reason,” said Morrow. “Because we do strive to be inclusive and welcoming and open to everyone.” It was through that mission that the community center was founded.
“The congregation came to the realization that probably the largest challenges facing us as a church and the world are racial injustice and economic inequity,” said Tutu, “and so [we] wanted to be at the forefront of that struggle for justice.”
Tutu explained that she views placing racial and economic equity at the forefront of their mission as a way to return the church to its foundation. “The church’s DNA from our formation has been about justice. That is what Jesus taught. That is justice in the world, peace in the world, care for one another, and recognizing God in each other.”
The Cathedral of all Souls was built by George and Edith Vanderbilt in 1896, designed by the renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt, who also designed the Biltmore House and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Listen to the full interview here.