Six artists from the Community Church at Tellico Village were recently asked to participate in The Lord’s Prayer Artwork Project as a way to visually enhance a six-part sermon series about the Lord’s Prayer.
The Rev. John Orr, CCTV music ministry pastor, planned the idea after doing something similar 15 years ago. The theme for each sermon in the series was a phrase from the prayer, up to the first six phrases. Orr thought having an artist’s interpretation of the phrase would add “visual expression” to the sermon.
He knew there were talented artists in the congregation, so he started approaching members until six agreed to the project. Artists only had to paint what they felt each phrase meant.
“Then you got to sit back and wait and be surprised at what it comes out,” Orr said. “I don’t give them any more direction than that and just let their own creative expression decide whether it’s a landscape or a person or whatever, and you can see there’s a lot of variety.”
Paintings will be removed around the end of the month. Each was set to be displayed through September, but Orr felt more time would allow the congregation ample opportunity to see the artwork. Gathering has been difficult due to COVID-19. Once taken down in the narthex, the artwork will be displayed around the church.
Muriel Fawcett was assigned the phrase, “Thy Kingdom Come,” and chose to paint a landscape of bright, billowing clouds over a grassy field.
“I guess it’s kind of hard to put it into words, but I have to say that whenever, especially in the summer, we just get this magnificent show of clouds where we are located, and I just always look out of my window and look at these clouds, and all of a sudden I’m running for my phone to take photos of them because the clouds just somehow speak to me,” Fawcett said. “I guess when I look at them is when I feel closest to God or I’m most aware of his presence.”
Fawcett started painting as a hobby 10 years ago after retirement and works on projects regularly.
Janice Carrison, however, rarely gets to work on projects. As a business owner, she doesn’t have much time to paint. When Orr asked her to participate in the project, she was excited to have an opportunity to paint again. She was delighted to put the skills she learned from her fine arts degree to use once more.
Carrison’s phrase was, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and painted a blooming flower with a circle in the middle with a landscape painted in it representing the Earth. From the flower, three hands extend and hold an apple, bread and milk.
“So the center — the round circle represented the Earth and Mother Earth depends on God for her needs,” Carrison said. “... Then I just started thinking about the different cultures that we have, and we’re becoming more of blended families. … It’s just such a mix. That’s why I put the three different colored hands on there because we are a blended world. We all have the same needs as Mother Nature does, so that’s kind of the idea of the picture.”
Like Carrison, artist Judy Smigiel also received a degree in art. Smigiel’s phrase was, “Lead us not into temptation,” and she used her mixed media piece as an opportunity to show others how she interprets not only the phrase but also other Bible stories.
“It might not even resonate with a lot of people, but for me what it was we’re all in control of our impulses,” Smigiel said. “… To me, the serpent was not like the devil. It’s like the little voice in our heads that always tells us, ‘Hey, you should be doing the right thing, but you’re not.’ That’s where I was coming from with that.”