Next time you’re at church, look up!

Betsy Hoium, Pastor for Faith Formation

Telling Our Story:  Bible Art is a series of 40 paintings done by 41 artists illustrating the biblical story from God’s creation through the story of Pentecost.

People got excited about bringing these stories to life, using their own creativity.  “I want to paint the lost sheep!” said Elliot Miller.  “I want to paint the story where people have fire on their heads!” said his brother Ben.  Isabella Kimmes, who played Mary last year in the Christmas Play, painted Mary holding Baby Jesus.  “I want to paint giants!” said Warren Lehman, age 3.   He painted David and Goliath.

Kids are not the only ones who got involved.  Linda Olson’s painting depicts the 23rd Psalm – “although my kids did not initially know what it was!” she said.  Barb Lyman’s painting of a rainbow with a dove illustrates God’s promise to Noah and compliments Caitlin Kimmes’ painting of Noah sending forth the dove.

I’ve been asked where did the idea come from? My first call as a pastor was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  One of the Children’s Hospitals had ceiling tiles painted by their long-term patients.  It seemed like a great idea!

We adapted it into painting Bible stories as the culmination of our year of Telling Our Story.  Beginning in September, we began a 9-month walk-through of the Bible beginning with the Noah story in Genesis.  We focused on Old Testament stories through Christmas and then spent January through Easter in the Gospel of Matthew.  Our first year in the Narrative Lectionary ends with Pentecost on June 9.

Many of the paintings are from stories that we heard this year in worship, Sunday morning Faith Formation, Confirmation and Adult Education.  This includes a detailed series illustrating the story of Noah and God’s promise to us.  Other favorite stories from the Bible are also depicted.

The Confirmation students, their siblings and leaders painted the first group of paintings at their end of the year celebration.  Then people of all ages were invited to paint bible stories as part of our intergenerational Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. The artists range in age from 3 years old to retirement age.  Several people who could not be here that day took the “ceiling tile canvases” home to paint.

Does this look like fun?  Do you have an idea for a story you’d like to paint that is not yet represented in our biblical timeline?  You are invited to paint a picture.  This can be an ever-growing collection of stories.

So next time you’re at church, be sure to look up!

Curious about who painted a picture?  Stumped as to what story it is?

There are signs with photos of the artists and their work, including the Bible reference for their story in the narthex.

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