One of the joys for me, over the past 6 months, has been to really invest in doing work that is creative. That isn’t to say that I didn’t do creative work while serving a parish full-time, but this just feels different. It’s exciting to have my primary work about creating something and sharing it.
But beyond that, it’s even more fun to see how people take the work that I’ve done, and go in different directions with it. This idea that creativity breeds or feeds creativity has been fun to watch play out in the real world, as I’ve been searching Instagram, Facebook and Twitter over the past few months to see what our customers have been sharing with hashtags like #anillustratedadvent and #anillustratedlent.
Last night I was browsing through the photos shared on Facebook, and I ran across the below photo from Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in St. Ann, Missouri.
Obviously, I was immediately drawn to their creative way of representing the thread that connects all of the posters together. I reached out to their pastor, Kristen Koch, and below is a brief Q&A that we had about how their church has been experimenting with the Lenten Coloring Posters over the past few weeks.
Illustrated Ministry (IM): What a joy to find your photo shared on Facebook last night. These banners are beautiful – can you tell me a little bit about them?
Kristen: We’ve totally enjoyed the Lenten banners! We have invited the kids at the beginning of worship to come to a low table at the front of the sanctuary to color while we do the “Gather” and “Word” portions of worship (they go back to their seats for the “meal” and “sending”). Whatever they have finished by the time we pass the peace gets displayed at the front of the sanctuary. Then during the week the poster gets added to the wall of the sanctuary. I loved how the vine runs through all the posters, and wanted to highlight that, so I took green tissue paper and rolled up a pipe cleaner inside it, twisted it a little, then used it to connect the hanging posters. The pipe cleaner allows you to shape the curve of the vine between each poster.
IM: Where did you get the inspiration to use the pipe cleaners to connect the posters together?
Kristen: Our sanctuary has a series of small windows that are great for hanging the posters in a line, right next to each other. But since they would be spaced apart, the natural connection of the vine between each poster would be broken. I’d seen people use brown packaging paper twisted up to look like branches and thought I would try something like that. Since the distance wasn’t too big I decided to use tissue paper to surround a pipe cleaner, so I could do curves and loops. It is a great way to highlight the vine and make the presentation more “alive” and three dimensional.
IM: You mention that the children have been coming up to color the posters for the beginning of the service. What type of feedback have you heard from both the kids and/or their parents?
Kristen: We’ve gotten a positive response from parents, kids and other adults about having the kids color. We’ve also had some adults color too! In fact, we have the posters out at the Wednesday Soup Supper as well so that others can get a start on the poster before Sunday. It has taken some practice (we did this with your Advent posters too), so the kids (and adults) are used to it. I’d say if you have a lot of kids, it would be good to have multiple things to color. The more kids, the louder it can get. But it’s great to hang up their masterpiece right there in the sanctuary in the midst of worship and thank them for their ministry. They are engaged in their own way, taking in the story and prayers even while their working with their hands. And they are beautiful!
IM: That’s so fun. How would you say these posters have added to your church’s Lenten experience this year?
Kristen: The posters have given all the generations of the congregation a shared experience. To watch the “vine” of posters grow, and even the coloring patters change and develop throughout the season is a joint expression of our journey together.
I’m honored to have been able to be a part of this church (and the other 399 of you out there!) and their Lenten experience. I know there are many others of you who are doing very creative things with the posters (including getting them printed on fabric to be used as banners for Easter) – and I hope it’s been a fun and meaningful addition for your community.
If you’ve also done something creative with the posters, we’d love to hear from you. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just send us a note via our contact page.