Church Art

Along with several other team members, I had the pleasure of visually interpreting sacred spaces for weekly worship. Here are some examples.

Palm Sunday & Easter


At the beginning of Lent a rough-hewn cross replaces the more formal cross we customarily use. Often, during the Ash Wednesday service, the congregation is given the opportunity to write prayers of confession which are then nailed onto the cross. Most years these pieces of paper remain on the cross through Palm Sunday. Then they are removed and the cross is draped with fabric and surrounded with Easter lilies. On several occasions we’ve done variations on a theme. A recent variation involved wrapping the cross with chicken wire. Prayers of confession written on purple paper were rolled into tubes and inserted in the holes of the chicken wire. These remained throughout Lent. By Easter morning a hand-cut white paper Easter lily had been inserted into each purple paper roll. The congregation was greeted with a cross in full-bloom.



It’s amazing what can be done with 25 yards of red violé, a lightweight, semi-transparent fabric excellent for draping. Fifteen yards of the voile was draped over small tension rods mounted between the ceiling beams and stabilized with corsage pins. The remaining fabric created two drapes where banners are usually hung. The fabric was purchased through Rose Brand, a company that specializes in theatrical fabrics, fabrications and supplies. Request a catalog.


Again we’ve used voilé as a fabric drape to enhance Advent banners.

Paper lace adds a dramatic element to Advent décor. It is an inexpensive creative alternative using long rolls of photographic backdrop paper into which the design is cut. An initial design is drawn on poster paper. That is used as the master cutting pattern and laid on top of the photographic backdrop paper. Both layers are cut at the same time using a utility and/or X-acto knife. A hanging sleeve was sewn along the top edge of “Bleak Mid Winter” while the larger “tree foliage” pieces were hung on the back stage curtain with T pins…and agile young men willing to climb very tall ladders!

Ordinary Time

Tent Worship


During part of the summer our congregation moves outside and worships in a large tent. That’s an opportunity for the sacred space design team to try some new things. This summer we created stencils of the focus words our pastor was preaching on each Sunday for the sermon series entitled “Different”. Those stenciled words were lightly taped to clear acrylic panels and transparent acrylic paint was applied with sponges and brushes. For a more complete story of this process read my blog post Different.

I’ve included three sets of images of the acrylic panels. The first photos were taken outdoors in the tent. The second set was taken indoors where we installed them on wooden poles hung from banner brackets. The third set was taken indoors with a flash. As you can see, each produces a very different result. From subdued to more bold saturated colors.

The Church Is Not A Building, It’s the People


To illustrate a sermon series on the “true nature of the church”, the sacred space design team adhered photos of church members to 12×12 canvases, smeared the center of each image with Vaseline to create a resist, painted the surrounding outer area of each picture with dark green paint, feathered in a lighter green paint, and allowed everything to dry for twenty-four hours. We wiped the Vaseline off, removing some of the green paint as well, drizzled raspberry pink paint around the outer perimeter, and then let everything dry thoroughly. As you can see, there are different ways to configure the square canvases to illustrate different aspects of the sermon series.

Cassette Tape Prayer Shawl/Table Runner


Like many churches that have tape recorded worship services in years past, but moved on to more current recording technology, our church had piles of old tapes languishing in the dark recesses of a storage area. Our church also has an active prayer shawl ministry. It occurred to me that perhaps these discarded tapes could be knit into shawls, or table runners, with other supple knitting materials. Knitter Nancy Kern selected scarlet, blue and purple yarns – the colors God ordained for the Tabernacle – to knit together with the cassette tapes. The plastic tape adds a shimmery quality to the finished shawl / table runner.

Breastplate of the High Priest

This mixed media wall hanging was created in response to a Bible study on the Old Testament tabernacle.