The Orange County Rescue Mission is rooted in a Judeo-Christian understanding of who God is and who we are. It starts from the premise that all human beings are created in the image of God and, therefore, of great worth and profound potential to create and participate in the life of the community. The leaders of the mission firmly believe that Beauty motivates people to change their lives for the better. The Ahmansons understood how profoundly beauty inspired Jim Palmer, the executive director, to work with those in need. They realized that he was working out of a deep Judeo-Christian tradition. For all the failings and missteps, people of faith have consistently done two things for 2,000 years: cared for those in need and fostered the creation of beauty. With all that in mind, the Ahmansons commissioned two artists to create work for the new Village of Hope. Peter Brandes, a well-known Danish artist, has created stained glass windows of Christ and the 12 Apostles for the Village's chapel. He has also designed an 18-foot-high ceramic vase with images of the Apostles for the courtyard. To welcome residents and guests, renowned American sculptor Albert Paley has made ceremonial entrance gates appropriately named, "In Beauty, Strength." In addition, interior designer Tracie McCloskey energized her colleagues to complete the interiors of one building's suites in a program called the Color of Hope.
The vision of fostering the arts, in combination with caring for those in need, is one that we hope our entire community will embrace. From that dream came the idea for the Concert for Hope with music composed by Alva Henderson and libretto by Richard Freis commissioned specifically to celebrate the grand opening of the Village of Hope.
On Friday, September 12, 2008 the music was performed for the very first time for the residents of the Village, the very people for whom it was created.
The next evening, following a gala fundraising dinner, the world premiere of "From Greater Light" was performed by Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
And finally, on Sunday, September 14, the Orange County Rescue Mission celebrated the grand opening of the Village of Hope by hosting an open house for the public, at which 3,500 people enjoyed food, music, family activities, and tours of the facility.
Our goal is to bring the people of Orange County - of all economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds and situations - together around this vision of caring for those of us in need and creating art for the whole community to enjoy and grow by. We hope to be able to encourage this vision by hosting more events like these on an annual basis.