Lori Vafiades

“Me, me, choose me.” My starchy yellow dress just covered my chubby knees and my white patent leather shoes squeaked as I struggled to settle down on that hard, old Sunday school classroom floor. The guest teacher asked, “who wants to go?”. My little hand shot up fast, high, and with much waving… my shoes squeaking the whole time.

Every week I looked forward to the flannel graph lesson, but this Sunday morning, the story was especially exciting. As the teacher placed each colorful character on the flannel board my eyes got wider and wider. We followed the hero of this story, a woman, into a deep jungle, with Bible tucked under one arm and other arm, palm up-turned, reaching out to touch the people she met along the way. I am sure there were other characters in the story, but I can just remember the one.

Of course, the flannelgraph story was idealistic, the characters made of paper and paint, but on that old church floor, little Lori heard a calling that was true, and still today I say… “Me, me, choose me!”

Fast forward through Bible College (Cross-Cultural/Missiology Degree), marriage (35 years now, to Nicholas), kid (Abby, living at home, graduating from University of Colorado at Colorado Springs this year), many missions trips and thousands of hours volunteering at church.

To the now.

Serving In-House

Lori volunteers as the Arts Pastor at the recovery-based, Sanctuary Church in Old Colorado City, Colorado. The church houses Sanctuary Studios, a 1200 square foot art studio where Lori and the leadership team offer studio space for local artists, fine art and craft classes, healing encounters, life groups, as well as a central gathering place for creatives of all kinds. The artists also serve the house by providing life-giving art in various spaces and painting live at services and other events.

Taking It To Town

Outreaching into the local community, Sanctuary Studios established and manages a gift shop art gallery and henna studio, 10 blocks from the church/studio, in tourist heavy Old Colorado City. This growing community of 20 artists have established themselves in this historic and art district. The shop has become a favorite hangout for seekers and artists and those looking to connect. The wing wall, maker’s station and peaceful patio as well as thousands of pieces of local art, pull neighbors and tourists in. Live music, art demonstrations and great conversations encourage people to stay. Recently, while locking the shop front door, at the end of a long day, Lori heard herself exclaim, out loud, “We had church here today”.

Reaching Global Communities

Lori has served on or led creative teams in India, South Africa, Israel, Germany, Mexico, Canada, and various locations in the US.

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