The Acton Institute has been in its new home in Grand Rapids for a little over a year now. I have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of activity our new space has afforded us. With an auditorium that seats 200, a gallery for art exhibits, spacious meeting rooms, and a highly-visible presence in our city, the Acton Institute is busier than ever.
We are able to participate in ArtPrize, our city's art competition, which brought over 400,000 visitors to Grand Rapids last year. The panel discussion on human trafficking we hosted was a standing room-only event. Our Acton Lecture Series, a regular luncheon event, has grown, averaging about 100 attendees each month. We recently offered our first live satellite link-up that allowed those in Grand Rapids to participate in our Rome conference on religion and liberty. Our media studios are taking shape, allowing us to do frequent podcasts and take advantage of more television interview opportunities. The lovely St. Joan of Arc chapel is complete.
Of course, all of this is made possible by our very generous donors, and the Acton staff is always cognizant of that. We are stewards of this beautiful historic building; its care is our responsibility, as is the work done in it. One of our new projects, For the Life of the World, takes on the issue of stewardship and salvation – oikonomia, the economy of all things - in a unique way. Told in a story format, the main character, Evan, explores a series of questions through his "Letters to the Exiles." In one episode, Evan asks about work – what does it mean to work? Is it just toil? (I won't tell you much more; you'll have to watch it yourself.)
Let's just say that God made us to work, and that work is a gift. We each have a calling, and it's through those callings that we meet each other's needs. And that is good. Our work - our good work - calls us into relationships with others.
Our new building has called the Acton Institute into many new relationships in the span of just one short year. We look forward to all the new ventures, activities and most of all, the relationships that lie ahead.
Rev. Robert Sirico, President