The Work Of The People | The Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson, Rector

05.3.24 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

The photo below is a new mural that has just been unveiled on Riker’s Island. It is the collaborative vision of detainees, artists and arts therapists. Moving the vision from aspiration to reality was a collaborative process, too: detainees of all ethnicities and genders helped paint the work, which hangs outside of the spot where people who are being released emerge into freedom.

If you look closely, you can see that diversity represented in the people portrayed. You can also see the concrete block that represents the Rikers jail house (far right), and the broken shackles under the walkway and on the left—the path of liberation and the destiny of those on the journey. And then, woven into the bright colors and the flowers, the birds, the musical notes and the sunshine are words representing the values surrounding the people and accompanying them along their way: courage, self-love, hope, dreams, support, job, resilience, family. One person is carrying a pail with a peace sign on it. Another is holding a heart.

My spouse Charlie works at Riker’s Island with some of the artists responsible for this beautiful creation. He took this picture, and when he showed it to me I was struck by how (in both its current context and beyond), the mural is a liturgical manifestation. Liturgy means “the work of the people,” and it is certainly that. If the goal of the people’s work is to strengthen the community to go forth, it represents that, too.

And while this mural emerges from a specific time and place, like all great art it is also universal. The energy from the gifts spelled out here strengthens all of us, no matter where we are from or where we are going. The sustaining grace of the relational commitments portrayed brings joy and color to our world. Resilience is infectious. Hope and commitment defy boundaries.

Onward, together!


Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson

Rev. Dr. Anna S. Pearson


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.