August 2014 Mountain Mover: Recap of Liturgical Art with Mary Button Event

Dr. Clayton Faulkner

You may have seen the announcements for an event we recently hosted at Faith called “Liturgical Art with Mary Button.” The event was a chance for church artists to gather and hear from Mary Button, the Minister of Visual Art at First Congregational Church in Memphis, TN.

liturgical art

On Saturday, July 26 we had about 11 people come together, including members of our own church (Susan Tallman, Kathy Patrick, LaRae Nelson, and Laura Worth), members from other Lutheran churches, and two friends from Ashford United Methodist Church. After chowing down on some BBQ, we listened to Mary share about her art ministry within the congregational context. She offered a wealth of insight about how to use art in an inclusive way in the church to make the space for worship come alive. She spoke about how to organize seasonal projects, what types of materials are best to use, and how to make art participatory for the entire assembly.

We concluded our time with the chance to create art. One project, the group rallied around, was setting up a communal art piece to be completed at the installation service of Arthur Murphy at St. James Lutheran Church. The group outlined a large cross that was filled with smaller, differently shaped crosses. At the installation service, everyone was invited to color in one of the smaller crosses. When completed, the projected revealed a large, multi-colored cross, symbolic of our diversified unity as the Body of Christ.

One thing I’ve said before is, “It’s an indictment against the Christian church that there is only one Sistine Chapel.” That world-renowned art was an example of when the church employed artists to create something beautiful for the glory of God. The church should always be honoring God in visually captivating ways. Artists are needed in the church. We need worship leaders to create visual experiences for us (not just auditory). Watch for a chance in the fall to join our Visual Arts Team at Faith. This group will creatively help our worship environment come to life for the season of Advent.

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