The following is a more "practical" post. Below I have displayed two examples of affordable liturgical art that I hope will be used by congregations seeking affordable ways to embrace the mystery of worship in new and creative ways. If you have any questions about the process of these methods, please do not hesitate to contact me! With the unfortunate economy and dwindling numbers, many PC(USA) churches are shrinking their budget in order to simply survive. When facing this very real obstacle, considering liturgical art might seem a foolish and fiscally unresponsible venture. Such a sentiment is not surprising when even the most simple of liturgical decorations can cost several hundreds (if not thousands!) of dollars! However, I would like to share with you a few examples of liturgical art that is both visually (and spiritually) stimulating without having the cost which makes finance committees shudder.
I first experienced this method of liturgical art at Cherokee Retreat Center in Cartersville, Georgia. For four years now I have been on staff at Camp Cherokee, a ministry of Cherokee Presbytery. My friend and boss, Jean Howington, introduced me to this method of art which the campers of all ages loved! The above pictures are taken of the piece of art that was created with this method this past December for Columbia Theological Seminary's service of Lessons and Carols. The entire project (which is reusable!) cost around 50 dollars!
As you can see, this is a simple wooden frame that is make to fit a full size bed sheet (or larger or smaller depending on space and need). Once the frame is created, you simply need to use a staple-gun to fasten the plain white bed-sheet upon the frame. Then, you simply place the frame inbetween the congregation and the artists. The artists (using regular tempera paint) then paint on the backside of the sheet and the colors bleed through the sheet. The most wondrous thing about this method is that the congregation does not see the artists because they are standing on the other side of the canvas. Therefore, the congregation only sees the image "emerge" as the artists paint throughout any one or all of the liturgical elements of the service (scripture reading, offertory, anthem, confession, etc.). This method of art is especially helpful for including children in worship!
Many thanks to Joseph Taber and Jacob Geerlings for helping me construct the one above. Also, thanks to Sally Ann Sisk and Rachel Hood for serving as the liturgical artists for the service in this the above art was created!
The above art can be found at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Tucker, Georgia. To read more about the fascinating worship space of this congregation, see my post on it here. These are simple liturgical banners which can be made by the congregation and are simple (and yet quite intricate!) cutouts made with a stencil. This is yet another example of liturgical art that is affordable and, perhaps most important of all, can be made with the hands of the congregation! It is my hope that the use of affordable and "home-grown" liturgical art will make such art less of an expense to be paid and more a gift to be offered as a community to our God!