No Excuses - Just Try It!

Visual Faith Coach Carolyn Bira shares some snapshots of visual faith with her grandchildren, as well as an invitation to some new Bible study resources:

I had rather a stunning experience last Sunday during worship. The pastor was beginning his sermon in what was rather an unusual place. He was talking about shoes. I was with my grandsons, sitting in the back because, well, we’re Lutheran and that’s where Lutherans sit, right? The pastor was telling the congregation about an old spiritual that has the title of “All God’s Children Wear Shoes”. Apparently, in both America and ancient Rome, slaves were not given shoes. Only free people wore shoes. A slave, if fortunate enough to gain his freedom, would immediately find himself a pair of shoes. God’s people are free, so He provides them with shoes (metaphorically speaking, I guess).

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As I was pondering this idea, which was new to me, Elijah, my 7-year-old grandson leans over and whispers, “But then there would be Moses, who had to take off his shoes to be in God’s presence.” Suddenly I had a new concept to swirl around in my brain. Eli, on the other hand, took out his bulletin and pencil and began to draw. I was reminded of Pat Maier who compiles these amazing “sermon notes” that are highly visual, perceptive, and worthy of envy.

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Eli proceeds to draw a picture of God from the knees down, and he’s wearing shoes. In his picture, Eli’s shoe is off. But then, as if he knew where the sermon was headed, he adds a drawing, now on the back of an envelope, of a cross with shoes falling from heaven and bouncing off of the arms of the cross onto the people below.

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Jesus’ death on the cross removes from us our position as slaves to sin. I won’t lie – I cried a little. Of course Eli knows the reason Moses had to remove his shoes wasn’t about slavery but about the glory of God. But he began to make connections, and those connections moved him to illustrate his ideas. We didn’t invent Visual Faith – we discovered what kids already knew.

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Aaron (age 10) is our family artist. He’s been creating things since he was old enough to hold a crayon. Whenever I run across an interesting art medium, my first impulse is to put it into Aaron’s hands because I know he’ll enjoy making something and, most of time, that something is Bible based. He presented me with this rainbow drawing made with Scribble Sticks a few months ago.

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Finally, I come to Anabel, who is 6. Last year, I put a copy of The Enduring Word Bible into her hands and told her something shocking - “It’s okay to draw in your Bible.” After she got over that, she took up her glitter pens and went to work! According to my daughter, she spends 20-30 minutes a day after school, coloring in her Bible. It’s a time of quiet after the chaos of school.

All of these examples lead up to my point for this article. I don’t know where the kids got these creative impulses, because it wasn’t from their grandma! Creative drawing and right-brained thinking are not my best feature. Cerebral pursuits are my forte. While I was thinking about slaves and shoes, Eli was drawing about it. While I think all the new drawing tools are cool, I hand them over to Aaron, who might actually enjoy making them work. And The Enduring Word Bible – I thumbed through it and decided it would be a nice gift  for Anabel, introducing her to the whole idea of Bible journaling. Personally, Visual Faith practices are indeed intriguing, as long as no one else sees the inside of my Journaling Bible.

What I’ve found, over the last few years of trying this devotional style is that it can be quite relaxing and certainly taps into a part of my brain where God waits with insight and inspiration. While my devotional creations are not particularly original, they are satisfying. Favorite passages and stories are seen with new eyes and fresh perspective, and that engages even my “left brain” impulses.

Ezekiel 36:27

Ezekiel 36:27

I leave you with two examples from my own Bible that were created with help. The heart corresponds to the passage from Ezekiel 36:27. This idea is one that gained traction from Googling the passage I wanted to illustrate.

Psalm 27

Psalm 27

The lighthouse, inspired by Psalm 27, comes from a ‘stamping with watercolor’ project I saw in a YouTube video. Again, not an idea original to me, but I knew genius when I saw it.

So for those of us who might be artistically challenged – it’s okay. Do it anyway. There are many things to learn about God and His ways when you tap into “the other side” of your brain. With that said, I encourage you to try out the Bible Studies I’ve written for Visual Faith Ministry. These are designed to engage your left brain a little as you prepare to dive into whatever creative path God leads you to take. No matter what you try, He is faithful to meet you there because He just wants to spend time with His child – and that’s you.

God bless!

Carolyn

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Carolyn is a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Flushing, MI where she is the Director of Christian Education at her church. Carolyn is a life-long fanatical follower of Jesus Christ as well as a Bible study leader and teacher - she says "writing bible studies is what I do." A self-proclaimed "non-artist", she says that’s why the practice of visual faith is fun for her - because she’s not good at it!

You can download and print the Bible studies that Carolyn wrote here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products-2?category=Devotionals There is a series of four devotions to encourage reflection on the four “pillar verses” of Visual Faith Ministry: Remember - Deut. 6:6-7, Trust - Prov. 3:5-6, Disciple - Prov. 22:6, and Tell - Ps. 78:4-6. There is also a devotion on Deut. 17:14-20. All are offered free for personal, family, or ministry use.



Journaling His Story

Visual Faith Coach Katie Helmreich is our featured artist this month, and we are delighted to have her share her heart and thoughts about the intersection of her life and God’s Word - and how Bible journaling has brought the two together…… Welcome to the blog, Katie!

Stories are incredible. A good narrative knits together snippets of characters’ lives to reveal purpose, understanding, relationships, and love. Shared stories are the highlight of conversations with family and friends! They define us. Little anecdotes reveal who we are and how we’re connected. But what is the main plot in our lives of challenge, triumph, and growth?

Storytime is my favorite part of parenting. We love to share stories of dragons, magic, and pirates! To also share God’s Story and our part in it is truly amazing. 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Storytime is my favorite part of parenting. We love to share stories of dragons, magic, and pirates! To also share God’s Story and our part in it is truly amazing. 1 Timothy 6:18-19

When we become a child of God, HIS story becomes our story. He tells us about Himself, about ourselves, and all His children in Scripture. What better place to record these day to day anecdotes that are part of HIS story then in the margins of Scripture?

Canning apricots with a toddler and 2nd grader has its highs and lows. Abundant and delicious fruit, nimble little fingers, and grace that covered short tempers. God truly did bless us! Psalms 128:2

Canning apricots with a toddler and 2nd grader has its highs and lows. Abundant and delicious fruit, nimble little fingers, and grace that covered short tempers. God truly did bless us! Psalms 128:2

Although I am a lifelong artist, I’m fairly new to Visual Faith. In a short amount of time, it has inspired a change in the way I frame, tell, and remember my story. I record our normal life across the pages of my Bible. The daily challenges, triumphs, and growth--His story IS our story. There’s always a place where His Word speaks meaning into an ordinary day.

It’s so easy to feel inadequate as a wife and mom… But God gives strength, hope, and purpose to this simple life, and He has chosen me to raise these little people! 1 Thess 1:1-5 and 4:9-11

It’s so easy to feel inadequate as a wife and mom… But God gives strength, hope, and purpose to this simple life, and He has chosen me to raise these little people! 1 Thess 1:1-5 and 4:9-11

Our family recently experienced a particularly intense season. Mostly just the highs and lows of life with three kids, a long list of house projects, and a newly instated volunteer fireman. Depression and anxiety made it harder than usual for me to hold on to perspective, harder to remember my place in God’s story. My weary soul has found refuge lingering in Scripture and responding with art. On these pages God has reminded me of His faithfulness, His abundance, His love, His grace, and His purpose for me and my family time and time again!

Mother’s Day, to God be the glory in ALL things, even doing the dishes while listening to stories about Pokemon and Lego. Romans 16:25-27 and How Clear Is Thy Vocation Lord LSB #853

Mother’s Day, to God be the glory in ALL things, even doing the dishes while listening to stories about Pokemon and Lego. Romans 16:25-27 and How Clear Is Thy Vocation Lord LSB #853

When I sit down to record a story, occasionally a hymn or Bible verse comes immediately to mind. More often, I spend time digging through a concordance for words that speak to the event or a characteristic of God that was evident in the day. The challenge of thumbing through Scripture searching for just the right spot is always a blessing!

Last summer we tossed stones in to the mighty Missouri River, in awe of God’s vast power! This is a God we can depend on in even the most turbulent times. Job 40:9 & 23

Last summer we tossed stones in to the mighty Missouri River, in awe of God’s vast power! This is a God we can depend on in even the most turbulent times. Job 40:9 & 23

Other times, the process is reversed, I encounter a passage that inspires me and then recall memories of the past weeks searching for a story that illustrates the passage. I often snap a photo to reference or look up a similar photo online as I sketch the scene on scrap paper. Then I gesso my page, trace my sketch, and add watercolor! I use pen or colored pencil to complete the illustration, and write a bit about our story, usually as a prayer.

Family Reunion camping with TWENTY grandkids! Proverbs 20:7

Family Reunion camping with TWENTY grandkids! Proverbs 20:7

I’ve fallen in love with watercolor for its quick and beautifully loose color. It encourages me to let go of perfection and embrace the impression of the story instead. The point is to record God’s faithfulness and love, so I don’t let myself get hung up on drawing hands or faces correctly. It’s been transformative to process both good and challenging times this way. Taking time to tell His story in my life often leads me to a better understanding of my circumstances. It helps me to hold on to the reality of His goodness and love when life threatens to overwhelm me.

What a blessing it is to share joy and love with distant Grandparents via video chat! Philemon vs 7

What a blessing it is to share joy and love with distant Grandparents via video chat! Philemon vs 7

One day, perhaps, reading about our story and God’s faithfulness will bless my kids, but in the midst of this chaos of a young family, it is a real and present  blessing to me to page through and remember. My Visual Faith time is prayer, art, family and story, but it’s also been a powerful tool in a time of Spiritual battle, and I thank God for this time with Him! 

Even in darkness, parenting challenges, and packed schedules, we remain secure! He is with us and we find rest. Job 11:18-19

Even in darkness, parenting challenges, and packed schedules, we remain secure! He is with us and we find rest. Job 11:18-19

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Katie lives in Bay City, Michigan and has been in love with Jesus, art, and a good story for a long as she can remember. It was only recently that she began to put all three together! She finds great peace and joy in using art to record His Story in her everyday life with her husband and three kids. Writing and painting her story changes a disaster into an adventure, and deepens laughter into a meaningful treasure. Recording how He is at work in all things gives these memories an even greater purpose! She cherishes nap time when she can dive into scripture and respond with her paints. Katie is a firm believer in the truth that everyone is creative. She’s passionate about teaching and encouraging others to create art that tells His Story in their lives! Follow her on Instagram @dutchcreekstudio.

A Prayer Card Artist - Pamela Bryan

Some creative practices have been around for a long time- like card making. What sets apart this artist is the time spent in prayer as she makes each card. Meet Pamela Bryan..

Here is Pamela in her studio- art room. She is very excited about a renewed enthusiasm about her card ministry. She prays over each card and the person receiving the card. She feels that card-making is a lost art and is especially blessed by the practice of creating prayer cards.

Here is Pamela in her studio- art room. She is very excited about a renewed enthusiasm about her card ministry. She prays over each card and the person receiving the card. She feels that card-making is a lost art and is especially blessed by the practice of creating prayer cards.

Pamela learned about Praying in Color and how the practice helps us to slow down, pay attention and deal with distractions. She began to instill these same principles in her card-making. She now has about 50 stamps that contain Scripture. The quiet time space allows her to listen for God’s direction and she is delighted with the joy that card,making brings her.

Pamela learned about Praying in Color and how the practice helps us to slow down, pay attention and deal with distractions. She began to instill these same principles in her card-making. She now has about 50 stamps that contain Scripture. The quiet time space allows her to listen for God’s direction and she is delighted with the joy that card,making brings her.

Pamela retires January 2020 and is looking forward to what she sees as her ministry calling. What if churches made their own cards for shut ins? and those needing a special touch of love and encouragement? In today’s world our greatest commodity is our time. A hand-made card signifies the gift of time. Pamela believes that the Lord has answered prayer for retirement time with both a hobby and a ministry. Sometimes Visual Faith isn’t really about adding in something totally new to your life in time and practice. Perhaps it is simply being open to the training of our own spirit, with the work of the Holy Spirit, with something you are already doing. The focus is different-so the result is different.  Simple card making becomes prayer cards.

Pamela retires January 2020 and is looking forward to what she sees as her ministry calling. What if churches made their own cards for shut ins? and those needing a special touch of love and encouragement? In today’s world our greatest commodity is our time. A hand-made card signifies the gift of time. Pamela believes that the Lord has answered prayer for retirement time with both a hobby and a ministry. Sometimes Visual Faith isn’t really about adding in something totally new to your life in time and practice. Perhaps it is simply being open to the training of our own spirit, with the work of the Holy Spirit, with something you are already doing. The focus is different-so the result is different. Simple card making becomes prayer cards.

Pamela adds a Bible verse to each card she makes. There is the physical use of crafting methods, but something supernatural happens when prayer covers both the making and the sending. It becomes a blessing to both the maker and the receiver under the direction of the Holy Spirit. She may not hear how the card was received- but she is faithful in answering the call - to send.

Pamela adds a Bible verse to each card she makes. There is the physical use of crafting methods, but something supernatural happens when prayer covers both the making and the sending. It becomes a blessing to both the maker and the receiver under the direction of the Holy Spirit. She may not hear how the card was received- but she is faithful in answering the call - to send.

Pamela is a member of the Visual Faith Ministry Team at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  She supports the events there and is excited about a growing Prayer Card Ministry- right where she worships  and serves. She gives thanks for the partnership and encouragement from Visual Faith Ministry for opening doors to see how a passion can become a ministry calling.

Pamela is a member of the Visual Faith Ministry Team at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

She supports the events there and is excited about a growing Prayer Card Ministry- right where she worships

and serves. She gives thanks for the partnership and encouragement from Visual Faith Ministry for opening doors to see how a passion can become a ministry calling.

Praying the Stitches with Nancy Kline

We often hear stories about the gift of prayer and how it changes us, blesses others, and creates places for the Sculptor Spirit to bring about transformation. Here is the story of Nancy Kline and her introduction to Visual Prayer and a bit about her journey.  It is a personal story and we thank her for sharing. The real struggle with prayer has been the tale for many of us, if not all of us. 

Nancy shares-“I’ve not been one to pray much. I’d want to pray more. I’d even confess to the Lord in church that I should pray more, but I wasn’t. Then I was introduced to Visual Prayer at The Bright Bible Retreat in Mancelona, Michigan last October. I went there not knowing a single woman attending. This was truly a God thing--a step of Faith. My daughter, Liz, had bought me a Journaling Bible for Christmas a year earlier and connected me to a Visual Faith Facebook Group. Her husband, Matt Schuler, is an LCMS Pastor in Oxford, Michigan. My daughter had earlier attended a Visual Faith workshop. I kept looking at the pictures of the Journaling entries on Facebook and wondered if I could ever make anything that creative. So, I did one little entry in the Bible. But, then it sat there empty. Nonetheless, I still kept looking at Visual Faith postings. One day I saw the invitation for a Bible Journaling retreat and noticed it was relatively near me. I contacted the woman in charge, Monica Malbouef. She was so nice to me and I learned she was a teacher, too. I told her I knew NOTHING about Bible Journaling and she said, “Then this is the place for you.” So, next came the prompting from the Holy Spirit. That constant little push and inquisitiveness of the whole idea of the retreat. Next thing I know, I knew I needed to go. It was there I attended the Visual Prayer class with Valerie Matyas. That changed everything for me.”

The path is different for all of us and there are many pathways and Doors into Prayer.  Nancy states, “I now do prayer cards. I give prayer cards to people. I do prayers of thanksgiving. This has me even praying spontaneously, without cards. Now I pray as I walk-so I guess I also do prayer walking.”

Nancy’s pastor and wife were leaving on Sabbatical-a time away from ministry that can be used as refreshment, study, or as a learning experience. She shared with the clergy couple that she would like to pray for them in their absence. They came back with Biblical references and specific prayer requests. (Not all are shared here.) What started out as a simple prayer time become a Visual Prayer, incorporating fabric as Nancy “prayed the stitches” and poured out the blessing of prayer.

“There was a lot that happened during this process that I didn’t expect. All good of course. It was a blessing to me.” Here are some of the prayers for the prayer quilt project:

Small pieces of fabric serve as a guide to match the fabric piece and that particular day of prayer in the project.

Small pieces of fabric serve as a guide to match the fabric piece and that particular day of prayer in the project.

The prayers are such a beautiful blending of prayer request and the following Visual intercession.

The prayers are such a beautiful blending of prayer request and the following Visual intercession.

Prayer invites us into a holy conversation. A sacred space for listening. How do we train our Spirit to pray? It takes practice.

Prayer invites us into a holy conversation. A sacred space for listening. How do we train our Spirit to pray? It takes practice.

Nancy was in touch with her pastor’s wife and told her a bit of the story. Nancy shared, “As I was praying, I found myself wanting these things for myself, too. So, I asked the Lord for these same things either for myself or for others- my family and friends. My Pastor’s wife was extremely pleased as she had hoped these prayers would extend beyond prayers for themselves and their family.”

Nancy was in touch with her pastor’s wife and told her a bit of the story. Nancy shared, “As I was praying, I found myself wanting these things for myself, too. So, I asked the Lord for these same things either for myself or for others- my family and friends. My Pastor’s wife was extremely pleased as she had hoped these prayers would extend beyond prayers for themselves and their family.”

So what might look just like a simple sewing project became a hands-on tapping into the infinity of the power of prayer. We don’t have to know how all these prayers are answered, fulfilled or connected. Nancy was called to step out in an act of obedience to pray. Sometimes it is really the simple act of praying for others and letting them “see the prayers.” The grace and work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit binds up this offering for the good of His Kingdom.  Nancy sits in awe of this transformation in her own prayer life. She states, ”Just think, in 5 months I went from going to a Bible Journaling retreat to organizing a Bible Journaling workshop at our church. I am also doing journaling in my home with others and creating prayer cards and sharing  those  with others. Now I have a strong desire to teach Visual Prayer. Thank you for the ministry of Visual Faith.”  This is a stand-alone story that is being repeated all over the United States and in over 100 countries that this ministry is connected to at this time. It may be the work of a small band of people, but the economy of God’s provision allows the measure of His power and His Word alone to bring about changed lives “drawn closer” in a divine relationship. And- the changes can be so profound- that we just can’t keep from telling others about what HE has done.

So what might look just like a simple sewing project became a hands-on tapping into the infinity of the power of prayer. We don’t have to know how all these prayers are answered, fulfilled or connected. Nancy was called to step out in an act of obedience to pray. Sometimes it is really the simple act of praying for others and letting them “see the prayers.” The grace and work of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit binds up this offering for the good of His Kingdom.

Nancy sits in awe of this transformation in her own prayer life. She states, ”Just think, in 5 months I went from going to a Bible Journaling retreat to organizing a Bible Journaling workshop at our church. I am also doing journaling in my home with others and creating prayer cards and sharing those with others. Now I have a strong desire to teach Visual Prayer. Thank you for the ministry of Visual Faith.”

This is a stand-alone story that is being repeated all over the United States and in over 100 countries that this ministry is connected to at this time. It may be the work of a small band of people, but the economy of God’s provision allows the measure of His power and His Word alone to bring about changed lives “drawn closer” in a divine relationship. And- the changes can be so profound- that we just can’t keep from telling others about what HE has done.

Here is the completed Prayer quilt project. There are many names for prayer projects. Visual Faith coach Belinda Bost coined the term-“Praying the Stitches.” Nancy calls her project- “Praying Through the Stitches.” Either name seems pretty appropriate for this prayer project.

Here is the completed Prayer quilt project. There are many names for prayer projects. Visual Faith coach Belinda Bost coined the term-“Praying the Stitches.” Nancy calls her project- “Praying Through the Stitches.” Either name seems pretty appropriate for this prayer project.

Thanks to Nancy Kline for contacting Visual Faith Ministry and sharing the story of how God has called her and is equipping her for a prayer ministry. Your simple encouragement allows all of us to step out of our comfort zone because the Holy Spirit leads on…   Nancy lives in Elk Rapids, Michigan and is a wife and mom to 2 married daughters. She is blessed with 6 grandchildren. The active and alive faith life of all in her family is something she gives thanks for daily. She has been blessed to grow with a family involved with mission trip experiences. Nancy was a middle school educator and then later a school counselor. She gives thanks for her personal relationship with her Lord and credits this gift to allow her to live with chronic pain for the last 14 years. To God be the Glory.    We also give thanks for Pastor Craig and Kori Trierweiler and their list of Sabbatical Prayers -this was the initiative for this project.

Thanks to Nancy Kline for contacting Visual Faith Ministry and sharing the story of how God has called her and is equipping her for a prayer ministry. Your simple encouragement allows all of us to step out of our comfort zone because the Holy Spirit leads on…

Nancy lives in Elk Rapids, Michigan and is a wife and mom to 2 married daughters. She is blessed with 6 grandchildren. The active and alive faith life of all in her family is something she gives thanks for daily. She has been blessed to grow with a family involved with mission trip experiences. Nancy was a middle school educator and then later a school counselor. She gives thanks for her personal relationship with her Lord and credits this gift to allow her to live with chronic pain for the last 14 years. To God be the Glory.

We also give thanks for Pastor Craig and Kori Trierweiler and their list of Sabbatical Prayers -this was the initiative for this project.

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Teens and Visual Faith


Visual Faith Coach Laura Bauer explains her heart for sharing visual faith with teens:

As a teenager, I have very vivid memories of waking up in the morning and stumbling into the kitchen to find my father sitting at the table with his Bible open. At the time I did not think anything special of it, but looking back now I view this memory as a precious gift. My parents diligently took us to church every Sunday morning as many families do, but finding my dad sitting regularly immersed in the word of Christ throughout the week reaffirmed the knowledge that Christ and the Bible were not simply a program that parents dumped their children at once a week, but rather the place to find Truth in a world that felt tumultuous. My dad didn’t just give Christ lip service, Christ is his foundation and therefore spending time daily in the word was natural for Him.

Laura with two of her children - spending creative, meaningful time in the Word together.

Laura with two of her children - spending creative, meaningful time in the Word together.

Sitting at the table with my Bible and colored pencils is becoming a more common thing in my home and more often than not, when I am working on a journal entry or a page in my Bible, one of my four children will approach me and ask if they can Bible journal alongside me. My teens many times do not ask to join in, they simply grab some supplies and sit down.


Creative response to Proverbs 27:17 by Micah Bauer, 14.

Creative response to Proverbs 27:17 by Micah Bauer, 14.

Activities that are multi-generational and enjoyable regardless of your gender are very hard to find, but visual faith seems to be just that. We often joke that as adults we need an invitation to color, the same can sometimes be said of teenagers. So many teens have such amazing artistic talent and simply need an invitation to use it.

Visual faith responses by teens

Visual faith responses by teens

The great thing about visual faith is that it busies the hands which frees up the mind for meditation on a verse or even deep conversation with another individual. A teen may not spend time meditating on a verse alone or working on a journal entry by themselves. Many teens will be quick to jump at the opportunity to sit with an admired adult free of phones and social media and chat while illustrating a verse. As an adult and parent it is so easy to convince ourselves that our teenagers really do not want anything to do with us. In some cases this may be true, but for the most part I truly believe that most teenagers long to know that the adults in their life have time for them and a desire to spend that time with them.


An “accordian book” visual faith project

An “accordian book” visual faith project

At Redeemer in Interlochen, we have attempted to add visual faith periodically to our youth group lessons sometimes on their own and sometimes combined with adults. It does not take much encouraging to convince teenagers to grab some art supplies and illustrate a verse whether at home or at church!

During a lesson on learning how to study the Bible, we created accordian books and filled the inside with ideas and directions about where to begin. On one side the youth included questions to ask themselves when looking at a section of scripture: Are there other verses that apply to my understanding of this passage? Who was the author and the audience? What is the theme? Are there any key words or verbs? What people and places are talked about? When does this take place? What, if any, challenges are faced? How does this apply to me?


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On the other side, the kids came up with topics that they would be interested in studying, such as: anger, conflict, money, dating, love, animals, and friendship. The idea behind the accordian books is that it would be something they could use as a guideline when they want to spend time in God’s Word, but have no idea where to begin.

Faces tell the story of an enjoyable visual faith experience!

Faces tell the story of an enjoyable visual faith experience!

As with any visual faith practice, the best way to encourage others to join is by doing it yourself in a visible fashion. When you exude excitement about an activity, that excitement becomes contagious and others naturally want to be part of it!

A few pages from Laura’s personal Bible.

A few pages from Laura’s personal Bible.

Give teens permission and encouragement to color and illustrate verses and you will find that the verses that they take the time to work with will work their way into a permanent spot in the teenagers mind and heart which will later be useful when the world threatens to distract him or her from Christ. The youth in your life whether they are your children, grandchildren or friends are watching you and learning how to be adults.

Painting by Rachael, age 16, who created this as a confirmation banner for a friend.

Painting by Rachael, age 16, who created this as a confirmation banner for a friend.

Most teenagers will never come right out and say it, but they long for deep solid relationships with adults as well as other teens. Visual faith can be a marvelous bridge between our youth, adults and even older members of the congregation.

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Laura is mother to four energetic children, wife of an adventurous LCMS pastor, and a baptized child of God. With background as a DCE (Director of Christian Education) and in Elementary education, she was introduced to Bible journaling in 2016 and has been amazed at the depth and richness it has added to her devotional time and prayer life. Creative - but not necessarily artistic - Laura enjoys working with groups of all sizes to share practical ways that even the “artistically challenged” can benefit from and experience the hope and peace that comes by spending time in God's word. She is also excited to share ways that families and youth can use visual faith to grow closer to each other and more importantly to Christ.

Visual Faith- Circle Words Wreath Project

There are a number of ways to enter into experimenting with Visual Faith practices. Three basic avenues are Visual Prayer, Bible Journaling and Keep the Faith projects. Here is a circle wreath project that can be adapted to match liturgical seasons and creative groups.

Circle Wreath- Valentine- but the Season and Gift of Love is a Year Round Encouragement.

Circle Wreath- Valentine- but the Season and Gift of Love is a Year Round Encouragement.

Punched circles that are rolled into cones are then attached to a cardboard base. A selection of phrases in the Word Circles documents makes this project adaptable for all times of the year. Here are the directions and downloadable Word circles for this project.  https://www.visualfaithmin.org/keep-the-faith-projects/circle-wreath-project  Original project design is by Donna VanWert. Directions by Visual Faith Coach Eve Waring.

Punched circles that are rolled into cones are then attached to a cardboard base. A selection of phrases in the Word Circles documents makes this project adaptable for all times of the year. Here are the directions and downloadable Word circles for this project. https://www.visualfaithmin.org/keep-the-faith-projects/circle-wreath-project Original project design is by Donna VanWert. Directions by Visual Faith Coach Eve Waring.

Circle Wreath Project- a Keep the Faith project for Visual Faith Ministry.

Circle Wreath Project- a Keep the Faith project for Visual Faith Ministry.

Counting Gifts Journals -with MOPS

Gathering together for life and faith conversations….

Sometimes it works for Mothers of Preschoolers - to slip out to be together- without their children. A recent Sunday evening in Springfield , Virginia was hosted by MOPS Leaders Sara Wilson and Lulie DiMauro.

Sometimes it works for Mothers of Preschoolers - to slip out to be together- without their children. A recent Sunday evening in Springfield , Virginia was hosted by MOPS Leaders Sara Wilson and Lulie DiMauro.

Blank journals were purchased from Plaza Art (they can ship them right to you) and with calendar pages created by Joanne Fink (from her Etsy store) they were ready to tear paper. The Journal consists of one side to count gifts- one per day. The journal is prepared for one year at this sitting. There is a place to notice a blessing, a gift, or an event to give thanks for in a daily walk. The other side is an image to collect all the prayers of the month. The people, the concerns, situations in life, and thanksgivings. So that we can look back and see every day- that the LORD is faithful. We call this prayer process- Prayers by the Month. It is a grace-filled prayer practice. A Bible verse can be chosen for each month to pray into the lives on the page. Pages were applied with simple glue sticks. Pages can be embellished with stamps and stickers. To begin a journal- start with the upcoming month- so you are ready to go. The other thing to remember is to “catch up” your journal before the year ends—— intentional prayer time does take a bit of preparation.

Blank journals were purchased from Plaza Art (they can ship them right to you) and with calendar pages created by Joanne Fink (from her Etsy store) they were ready to tear paper. The Journal consists of one side to count gifts- one per day. The journal is prepared for one year at this sitting. There is a place to notice a blessing, a gift, or an event to give thanks for in a daily walk. The other side is an image to collect all the prayers of the month. The people, the concerns, situations in life, and thanksgivings. So that we can look back and see every day- that the LORD is faithful. We call this prayer process- Prayers by the Month. It is a grace-filled prayer practice. A Bible verse can be chosen for each month to pray into the lives on the page. Pages were applied with simple glue sticks. Pages can be embellished with stamps and stickers. To begin a journal- start with the upcoming month- so you are ready to go. The other thing to remember is to “catch up” your journal before the year ends—— intentional prayer time does take a bit of preparation.

One paper pack from Michaels- (with your coupon) makes many journals. Have journalers chose- 6-8 pieces of paper they like and that gets them started. Keep the journal open on a counter in your kitchen to catch the “flow of life”. Have conversations with your family about the blessings you SEE. Look back and remember the journey of life— for He is good indeed. A great event for moms of all ages—-time to share a bit of “processing life” together. Of course, this project and gathering can be modified to fit ALL sorts of ages and groups of people.  Sara Wilson serves as a Visual Faith Coach on the Visual Faith Ministry Coaching Team.

One paper pack from Michaels- (with your coupon) makes many journals. Have journalers chose- 6-8 pieces of paper they like and that gets them started. Keep the journal open on a counter in your kitchen to catch the “flow of life”. Have conversations with your family about the blessings you SEE. Look back and remember the journey of life— for He is good indeed. A great event for moms of all ages—-time to share a bit of “processing life” together. Of course, this project and gathering can be modified to fit ALL sorts of ages and groups of people.

Sara Wilson serves as a Visual Faith Coach on the Visual Faith Ministry Coaching Team.

VISUAL FAITH at the Michigan District Youth Gathering

Visual Faith Coach Valerie Matyas shares about her experience leading a sectional on Visual Faith practices at a junior high youth event:

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Over 300 junior high youth from Lutheran churches throughout Michigan gathered in Frankenmuth, MI, May 31-June 2, 2019 for this year’s Michigan District Jr. High Youth Gathering. The theme this year was #TRUTH ~ “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) On Saturday, four breakout sectionals were offered on the campus of St. Lorenz Lutheran School in Frankenmuth. Each sectional ran for 45 minutes and was offered four times throughout the day. One hundred twenty-five youth and their adult leaders experienced Visual Faith in the cafeteria of St. Lorenz.

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Using index cards, sharpie pens, pencils, colored pencils and washi tape, participants took time to meditate on scripture through creative and intentional reflection.

We learned three different hand-lettered fonts to capture the word Truth. Taking time to draw helps the mind connect between its two hemispheres. Drawing helps us to remember, so that we can recall it later for our personal spiritual benefit or to share our meditation with others.

By placing the word ‘truth’ in the center of an index card, we were able to create physical and mental space to give thought to the Truth that Scripture describes, and how it differs from the half-truth society spins. We discussed being ever mindful of knowing the pure Truth of scripture versus the deceptive truth of the world.

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We had time to touch briefly on topics such as sex, marriage, money, and obedience. We discussed what society is trying to portray as truth, and what Scripture reveals as real Truth. Being rooted in the Word, seeking God with your whole heart, knowing that His Word is real Truth, offers us direction (curb), reflection (mirror), and information (guide).

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We also had an opportunity to create a Scripture Doodle (a basic illustration) of the theme verse.

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Everyone added their own personal touch. The purpose of a Scripture Doodle is to allow yourself time to linger longer in the Word. It gives your brain an opportunity to read, reflect, and respond, so that you can remember and reach out.

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Drawing helps us to remember. It allows scripture to sink deeper into the soul. Even the most basic of drawings allows a moment to slow down and think it through.

The sectional was hands-on, tangible, interactive, and reflective. It was a quick 45 minutes, jammed packed with opportunities to practice and experience Visual Faith processes. Participants ranged from 12 years old to 62 years old — it was time well spent.

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To find out what a junior high youth gathering might look like and see Valerie in action - you can check out the video here:

https://youtu.be/bPk1u_cGfUw

Valerie Matyas is the Educational Development Consultant at Visual Faith Ministry. As a Visual Faith Classroom Coach, she joins a love for all things Visual Faith with the heart passion of an educator to forge new pathways into schools and congregational life. She is a graduate student at Concordia University - Ann Arbor, MI, pursuing a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Valerie is passionate about Parochial Education as well as supporting and encouraging professional church workers and laity in their personal devotional and prayer lives. She seeks to encourage God's people, of all ages, to literally draw closer to Him through creative reflection and loves to develop tools to open these faith-sharing doors for her family and others.

Visual Faith - For ALL PEOPLE

SO how do we open the door for ALL People to engage in Visual Faith practices?

How do we invite ALL people to engage and experiment with Visual Faith practices? One of the things we are asked by planning teams is how to bridge the gender gap. An easy thing to do is- invite everyone!! Make your event or gathering intergenerational and non-gendered. Often events are designated as an event for women- hosted by the Women’s Ministry or the Lutheran WOMEN’S Missionary League. Gathering in our churches can be segregated by age and gender. Visual Faith events can bring all ages together without being exclusionary.

How do we invite ALL people to engage and experiment with Visual Faith practices? One of the things we are asked by planning teams is how to bridge the gender gap. An easy thing to do is- invite everyone!! Make your event or gathering intergenerational and non-gendered. Often events are designated as an event for women- hosted by the Women’s Ministry or the Lutheran WOMEN’S Missionary League. Gathering in our churches can be segregated by age and gender. Visual Faith events can bring all ages together without being exclusionary.

Here is a group of people in Puerto Rico recently that attended a Visual Faith event led by Visual Faith Coach Judy May and the team from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Resources were created in Spanish and we are continuing to find and create new Spanish resources. Some things are up on the VFM website. This event was also attended by men. Once of the things that is helpful is simply to '“not assume” that men would not be interested in Visual Faith practices. Perhaps the assumption to be made is that they are interested in PRAYER. When prayer practices connect to learning style rather than gender- this allows connections to be made that make sense for each person.

Here is a group of people in Puerto Rico recently that attended a Visual Faith event led by Visual Faith Coach Judy May and the team from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Resources were created in Spanish and we are continuing to find and create new Spanish resources. Some things are up on the VFM website. This event was also attended by men. Once of the things that is helpful is simply to '“not assume” that men would not be interested in Visual Faith practices. Perhaps the assumption to be made is that they are interested in PRAYER. When prayer practices connect to learning style rather than gender- this allows connections to be made that make sense for each person.

We know that Preschool teachers are using Visual Faith practices in the classroom with 3 and 4 year olds. Kindergarten is a great age to begin to add words to Visual Prayers. Here- above- we see that at the age of 9- a Visual Faith paper bag journal is a great project for an early elementary student. So when you are thinking about planning an event- ask how this might involve whole families! It is a powerful image to see parents sitting and praying at the table with their children. Memory making happens when there are three generations to share teaching, learning and experimenting with Visual Faith practices. We look forward to seeing how YOU bring ALL PEOPLE together for an event!

We know that Preschool teachers are using Visual Faith practices in the classroom with 3 and 4 year olds. Kindergarten is a great age to begin to add words to Visual Prayers. Here- above- we see that at the age of 9- a Visual Faith paper bag journal is a great project for an early elementary student. So when you are thinking about planning an event- ask how this might involve whole families! It is a powerful image to see parents sitting and praying at the table with their children. Memory making happens when there are three generations to share teaching, learning and experimenting with Visual Faith practices. We look forward to seeing how YOU bring ALL PEOPLE together for an event!

Doors into Prayer - A Visual Faith Event

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana hosted a Visual Faith event on April 27, 2019.  Thrivent Grants were a big help in putting together the event. Bags all ready to gift to those attending.  Tables set ready to welcome those coming for the Saturday event.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana hosted a Visual Faith event on April 27, 2019.

Thrivent Grants were a big help in putting together the event. Bags all ready to gift to those attending.

Tables set ready to welcome those coming for the Saturday event.

A wonderful array of door prizes were lined up ready to gift to those coming to the event.

A wonderful array of door prizes were lined up ready to gift to those coming to the event.

The morning was a teaching time about Visual Prayer and the afternoon was creative time for making a paper bag journal to gather prayer quotes, thoughts and inspiration.

The morning was a teaching time about Visual Prayer and the afternoon was creative time for making a paper bag journal to gather prayer quotes, thoughts and inspiration.

Conversations centered on prayer thoughts, life experiences, catching up and connecting with each other in this creative time.

Conversations centered on prayer thoughts, life experiences, catching up and connecting with each other in this creative time.

Pat Maier shares here about a simple way to engage in a visual prayer practice. During the afternoon time she shared lettering helps and tips in a small group setting.

Pat Maier shares here about a simple way to engage in a visual prayer practice. During the afternoon time she shared lettering helps and tips in a small group setting.

Marsha Baker of Bless Inks joined us from St. Charles, MO to share her love for Visual Faith practices, meet our community, and share her helpful resources about sketch notes, and all sorts of journaling, lettering and doodling.

Marsha Baker of Bless Inks joined us from St. Charles, MO to share her love for Visual Faith practices, meet our community, and share her helpful resources about sketch notes, and all sorts of journaling, lettering and doodling.

There were multi-generations that attended- bringing siblings, daughters and enjoying the time together — sisters in faith.

There were multi-generations that attended- bringing siblings, daughters and enjoying the time together — sisters in faith.

Here are some of the Versicle prayer cards created by Visual Faith Coach Carla Kramer and distributed to those attending.

Here are some of the Versicle prayer cards created by Visual Faith Coach Carla Kramer and distributed to those attending.

It was fun to make new friends and catch up with long-time friends.

It was fun to make new friends and catch up with long-time friends.

How does prayer change us? Many stories to catch up with on this day!

How does prayer change us? Many stories to catch up with on this day!

We give thanks for all those who attended the Doors into Prayer event in Fort Wayne. A special tanks to Visual Faith Coach Teresa Davis and her team for coordinating this event and for all of their time and effort. We give thanks also for all those who came for today——without you- there is no retreat!

We give thanks for all those who attended the Doors into Prayer event in Fort Wayne. A special tanks to Visual Faith Coach Teresa Davis and her team for coordinating this event and for all of their time and effort. We give thanks also for all those who came for today——without you- there is no retreat!

Our youngest attendee loved making her paper bag journal and sharing the story of prayer in her life.  Maybe it is time for YOU to think about putting together a Visual faith event in your faith community!

Our youngest attendee loved making her paper bag journal and sharing the story of prayer in her life. Maybe it is time for YOU to think about putting together a Visual faith event in your faith community!

Lenten Practices Roundup- Part 2

Catching up with some examples of Lenten journey practices. Here is the calendar done by Visual Faith Coach- Candice Schwark. She read the devotion-  On Calvary’s Hill  by Max Lucado.

Catching up with some examples of Lenten journey practices. Here is the calendar done by Visual Faith Coach- Candice Schwark. She read the devotion- On Calvary’s Hill by Max Lucado.

There were a number of people who joined in and worked on the Lent and Easter Tag booklet project. Here are some photos of the project done by Visual Faith Coach Eve Waring.

There were a number of people who joined in and worked on the Lent and Easter Tag booklet project. Here are some photos of the project done by Visual Faith Coach Eve Waring.

Visual Faith Coach Michele Bowden also made a Lent and Easter tag booklet.

Visual Faith Coach Michele Bowden also made a Lent and Easter tag booklet.

Simple images were part of the hand-drawn designs for the tag booklet done by Visual Faith Coach Laura Schumacher.

Simple images were part of the hand-drawn designs for the tag booklet done by Visual Faith Coach Laura Schumacher.

The Middendorf family worked on the Lent and Easter tag project together on Holy Saturday—-  Miss Leighton (on the right) is eagerly exploring processes as a Junior Visual Faith Coach.

The Middendorf family worked on the Lent and Easter tag project together on Holy Saturday—-

Miss Leighton (on the right) is eagerly exploring processes as a Junior Visual Faith Coach.

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Connie Denninger used the resources from the Visual Church Year to spend specific time during Holy Week with the readings from Lectionary C. The printable graphics were used in a 2 page layout for each worship service and then a theme was set and wording was added with junkmail or magazine cutouts.  We are thankful for the sharing of some of the ways that the 2019 Lent and Easter journey was explored and shared!

Connie Denninger used the resources from the Visual Church Year to spend specific time during Holy Week with the readings from Lectionary C. The printable graphics were used in a 2 page layout for each worship service and then a theme was set and wording was added with junkmail or magazine cutouts.

We are thankful for the sharing of some of the ways that the 2019 Lent and Easter journey was explored and shared!

Lenten Practices Roundup- Part 1

Lenten practices Roundup!

Deaconess Sally Hiller shares some of the visuals for her Lenten journey- which includes a devotional station, traceable Lord’s Prayer cross, and coloring calendars. Sometimes having the spot for meditation makes it “doable.”

Deaconess Sally Hiller shares some of the visuals for her Lenten journey- which includes a devotional station, traceable Lord’s Prayer cross, and coloring calendars. Sometimes having the spot for meditation makes it “doable.”

Part of the the encouragement of the Visual Faith Community is the sharing of the various ways practices are carried out, adapted, and invented for Liturgical Seasons of the Church Year. Here is a round up of some of the offerings from Visual Faith Coaches in our community. This photos shows the meditation words for Lent by Visual Faith Coach Faye Krans as a free-hand drawn page.

Part of the the encouragement of the Visual Faith Community is the sharing of the various ways practices are carried out, adapted, and invented for Liturgical Seasons of the Church Year. Here is a round up of some of the offerings from Visual Faith Coaches in our community. This photos shows the meditation words for Lent by Visual Faith Coach Faye Krans as a free-hand drawn page.

Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass used a downloadable calendar designed by Rachel Hinz on our website to gather her words for prayer time.

Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass used a downloadable calendar designed by Rachel Hinz on our website to gather her words for prayer time.

This shows part of the journey of Children’s minister and Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost who shared the Lenten practice that was distributed in her church community in Conover, North Carolina. What a great way to add a dimension that is doable by a family system together.

This shows part of the journey of Children’s minister and Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost who shared the Lenten practice that was distributed in her church community in Conover, North Carolina. What a great way to add a dimension that is doable by a family system together.

A subdued color palette evokes a Lenten journey on the Lent calendar designed and colored by Pat Maier.

A subdued color palette evokes a Lenten journey on the Lent calendar designed and colored by Pat Maier.

Small images and a word or phrase are collected to make meaningful stopping points in a Lent meditation.

Small images and a word or phrase are collected to make meaningful stopping points in a Lent meditation.

These calendars were shared by Visual Faith Coach Jamee Thieme that were meaningful to her this year in her devotional time.

These calendars were shared by Visual Faith Coach Jamee Thieme that were meaningful to her this year in her devotional time.

Some years the Lent readings require the use of two calendars to collect the words and visual story. Visual Faith Coach Bev Wicher shares her journey with a 2019 calendar and an older version from the Visual Faith Ministry website that she used this year.

Some years the Lent readings require the use of two calendars to collect the words and visual story. Visual Faith Coach Bev Wicher shares her journey with a 2019 calendar and an older version from the Visual Faith Ministry website that she used this year.

The I AM statements were the focus for Lent for Ann Gillaspie- a Visual Faith Coach. She enjoyed doodling in t the negative spaces as she continued to contemplate what the I Am statements meant to her.

The I AM statements were the focus for Lent for Ann Gillaspie- a Visual Faith Coach. She enjoyed doodling in t the negative spaces as she continued to contemplate what the I Am statements meant to her.

Books, blog posts and short Lent devotional readings can all be the stimulus for collecting words and phrases for a calendar. The time spent coloring allows the space for the Holy Spirit to help make the application to our own lives. Thanks to Visual Faith coach- Eden Keefe- for sharing her images.

Books, blog posts and short Lent devotional readings can all be the stimulus for collecting words and phrases for a calendar. The time spent coloring allows the space for the Holy Spirit to help make the application to our own lives. Thanks to Visual Faith coach- Eden Keefe- for sharing her images.

We love when a visual faith practitioner shares their story and journey with us. Thanks to Stacy Obermueller for doing just that! There is  not  JUST ONE WAY to make these practices work. We thank the Lord that these are adaptable, evolving journeys that each person makes work for just who they are and where they are in their own spiritual formation. That is a real Easter blessing!

We love when a visual faith practitioner shares their story and journey with us. Thanks to Stacy Obermueller for doing just that! There is not JUST ONE WAY to make these practices work. We thank the Lord that these are adaptable, evolving journeys that each person makes work for just who they are and where they are in their own spiritual formation. That is a real Easter blessing!

Holy Week Resources

A highlight here of Holy Week resources by Sally Beck and our team of artists for Visual Faith Ministry. We are so blessed by their contributions.

Palm Sunday image by Sally Beck.

Palm Sunday image by Sally Beck.

Maundy Thursday Resource by Sally Beck.

Maundy Thursday Resource by Sally Beck.

Good Friday resource by Sally Beck.

Good Friday resource by Sally Beck.

Easter Sunday resources by Sally Beck.

Easter Sunday resources by Sally Beck.

Holy Week margins available on the website.

Holy Week margins available on the website.

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May these resources be a blessing to you as you spend time praying, coloring and journaling for your Holy Week devotional time.

May these resources be a blessing to you as you spend time praying, coloring and journaling for your Holy Week devotional time.

Here are some half-page images for devotional art. Blessed Easter!

Here are some half-page images for devotional art. Blessed Easter!

Young Disciples as Visual Faith Artists

What does the Holy Week story look like through the eyes of young artists?

Here is a the story of preschoolers at Prince of Peace Lutheran School

in Srpingfield, Virginia that carry out the 30 year old tradition

of telling this wonderful story— their own way.

They begin by sharing the story of Zaccheus who has something in common with folks of short stature. The 4 year old classes do all of the murals except The Last Supper which is created by the Kindergarten class.  In the 4 year old classes the teachers read the Bible story of the mural they are going to work on, then ask the children for ideas. How can they tell this story with a picture?

They begin by sharing the story of Zaccheus who has something in common with folks of short stature. The 4 year old classes do all of the murals except The Last Supper which is created by the Kindergarten class.

In the 4 year old classes the teachers read the Bible story of the mural they are going to work on, then ask the children for ideas. How can they tell this story with a picture?

The large murals- measuring about 3 by 4 feet in size are begun about 2 weeks before the Easter Chapel schedules. The images are drawn by the young artists, colored, finished, cut out and then assembled in groups to create each story board .

The large murals- measuring about 3 by 4 feet in size are begun about 2 weeks before the Easter Chapel schedules. The images are drawn by the young artists, colored, finished, cut out and then assembled in groups to create each story board .

The Kindergarten class reads several versions of The Last Supper and look at different artist’s interpretations of that story. Then we talk about how they could tell that story.and what elements were essential in the mural to do so.

The Kindergarten class reads several versions of The Last Supper and look at different artist’s interpretations of that story. Then we talk about how they could tell that story.and what elements were essential in the mural to do so.

Most of the art is process art. They are also places for cooperative work together.

Most of the art is process art. They are also places for cooperative work together.

Visual Faith Coach- Bonnie Hughes also serves as the Preschool Art Teacher. Her long tenure in this position has led to the development of wonderful Visual story telling. The murals are then all placed in the Sanctuary for the Easter Chapels- when families, grandparents and friends come to hear the stories and join in the worship together. Bonnie Hughes says this about the project-   “This art is an example of children working not only as artists, but as disciples of Jesus ,telling important faith stories through their work."

Visual Faith Coach- Bonnie Hughes also serves as the Preschool Art Teacher. Her long tenure in this position has led to the development of wonderful Visual story telling. The murals are then all placed in the Sanctuary for the Easter Chapels- when families, grandparents and friends come to hear the stories and join in the worship together. Bonnie Hughes says this about the project-

“This art is an example of children working not only as artists, but as disciples of Jesus ,telling important faith stories through their work."

The murals are left in the Church Narthex to greet all worshippers for Holy Week. You can almost hear the Alleluia - He is Alive! Thank you to Bonnie Hughes for the photos and story to share with the Visual Faith Community. Blessed Holy Week and Easter to all!

The murals are left in the Church Narthex to greet all worshippers for Holy Week. You can almost hear the Alleluia - He is Alive! Thank you to Bonnie Hughes for the photos and story to share with the Visual Faith Community. Blessed Holy Week and Easter to all!

Visual Faith Ministry- YouTube

How do we help tell the story?——- Visual Faith Ministry is intricately connected to the personal story telling of our own faith journey.

YouTube is one of the ways we can gather the individual stories to build a better picture of all the ways that practitioners find to make Him known in their faith stories. This highlighted journal shows the end product of a day of gelli printing techniques that culminated in a junk journal created with a roofing tar paper cover.

YouTube is one of the ways we can gather the individual stories to build a better picture of all the ways that practitioners find to make Him known in their faith stories. This highlighted journal shows the end product of a day of gelli printing techniques that culminated in a junk journal created with a roofing tar paper cover.

One of the videos shows a paper bag journal that accompanies the Doors into Prayer retreat by Connie Denninger. Another one highlights the creative week of a visual faith gatherings of friends made on the Extravagant Love cruise- Melanie Leschnik, Peggy Thibodeau, Diane Marra and Kathy Noel.

One of the videos shows a paper bag journal that accompanies the Doors into Prayer retreat by Connie Denninger. Another one highlights the creative week of a visual faith gatherings of friends made on the Extravagant Love cruise- Melanie Leschnik, Peggy Thibodeau, Diane Marra and Kathy Noel.

This video shows the Prayers for My Children Project by Melanie Leschnik using a Dollar Store Winnie the Pook book and made for her morther-to-be niece. Visual Faith Journaling by Kathie Noel.highlights the ways she uses hymnals for journaling and the variety of styles for interacting for Visal Faith processing.

This video shows the Prayers for My Children Project by Melanie Leschnik using a Dollar Store Winnie the Pook book and made for her morther-to-be niece. Visual Faith Journaling by Kathie Noel.highlights the ways she uses hymnals for journaling and the variety of styles for interacting for Visal Faith processing.

The Counting Gifts and Gratitude Journal by Connie Denninger helps to show the combined practices that bring doable, grace-filled prayer together. The Lent and Easter Journal shows the Traveler’s Journal format that brings resources together and allows multiple season additions.

The Counting Gifts and Gratitude Journal by Connie Denninger helps to show the combined practices that bring doable, grace-filled prayer together. The Lent and Easter Journal shows the Traveler’s Journal format that brings resources together and allows multiple season additions.

Sometimes a project can have multiple applications and this first video shows the same Lent and Easter words that have been sized for a tag project. What fun to see this used in parochial schools and churches and right in homes for a creative gatherings of friends. Belinda Bost always delights with her adaptations and this video shows  the same project-  but designed using a Dollar Store Word Search book.

Sometimes a project can have multiple applications and this first video shows the same Lent and Easter words that have been sized for a tag project. What fun to see this used in parochial schools and churches and right in homes for a creative gatherings of friends. Belinda Bost always delights with her adaptations and this video shows the same project- but designed using a Dollar Store Word Search book.

The Lent Scripture Journal was a Bible Verse study that combined a verse a day for prayer, a hand drawn image in a mandala style and copies of vintage Easter cards. The other video is a short story of collected Lent Visual Faith calendars. The calendars are very effective for gathering the one word or phrase a day of a Lent devotional or even the people gathered on a prayer list.

The Lent Scripture Journal was a Bible Verse study that combined a verse a day for prayer, a hand drawn image in a mandala style and copies of vintage Easter cards. The other video is a short story of collected Lent Visual Faith calendars. The calendars are very effective for gathering the one word or phrase a day of a Lent devotional or even the people gathered on a prayer list.

So how does an experience move beyond the time of a retreat or attended gathering? Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass shows a creative way to take the handouts, learnings and gleanings and take it apart and put the “take-aways” into a meaningful end product in this paper bag journal. An easy way to review, reflect and continue processing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost is masterful in the ways she combines everyday and accessible materials with inexpensive ways to make connections that “stick with you.” We are using a simple phone app- Quik-Pro to make simple videos that are easy enough for everyone to join in the story-telling of Visual Faith practices. What would you like to add to the story of Visual Faith Ministries? Find our channel on YouTube. Subscribe. Watch some of the videos and give us a LIKE. We LOVE to share the story of who our Jesus is, what He has done, and the open doors for .everyone to bring these resources to OTHERS.

So how does an experience move beyond the time of a retreat or attended gathering? Visual Faith Coach Lisa Brass shows a creative way to take the handouts, learnings and gleanings and take it apart and put the “take-aways” into a meaningful end product in this paper bag journal. An easy way to review, reflect and continue processing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Visual Faith Coach Belinda Bost is masterful in the ways she combines everyday and accessible materials with inexpensive ways to make connections that “stick with you.” We are using a simple phone app- Quik-Pro to make simple videos that are easy enough for everyone to join in the story-telling of Visual Faith practices. What would you like to add to the story of Visual Faith Ministries? Find our channel on YouTube. Subscribe. Watch some of the videos and give us a LIKE. We LOVE to share the story of who our Jesus is, what He has done, and the open doors for .everyone to bring these resources to OTHERS.

Lord's Prayer Finger-Traceable Cross

This simple printable is a traceable Lord’s Prayer cross created by Visual Faith Coach Kathryn Stanis. It is a great addition for family devotion time with young children or to make up and tuck in Easter baskets or to give neighborhood children. Could also be shared with families of young children in parochial school settings or Sunday School.

This simple printable is a traceable Lord’s Prayer cross created by Visual Faith Coach Kathryn Stanis. It is a great addition for family devotion time with young children or to make up and tuck in Easter baskets or to give neighborhood children. Could also be shared with families of young children in parochial school settings or Sunday School.

Simply cut out the cross and mount on double-sided printed cardstock with double-sided tape or a glue stick. Then cut out with a border of 3/8- 5/8 inch.

Simply cut out the cross and mount on double-sided printed cardstock with double-sided tape or a glue stick. Then cut out with a border of 3/8- 5/8 inch.

You can cut out the simple instructions and add them to the back of the cross.

You can cut out the simple instructions and add them to the back of the cross.

To make the cross more durable it can then be laminated or can be covered with clear Contact Paper. This will save it a bit longer with young hands and lots of use!

To make the cross more durable it can then be laminated or can be covered with clear Contact Paper. This will save it a bit longer with young hands and lots of use!

Your cross will look like this- Now just trim it down.

Your cross will look like this- Now just trim it down.

Trimmed cross ready to use or gift to a young faith learner. Always good to have multiple styles for the way we learn. This is a good match for the visual -kinesthetic learner. Find it on the website HERE: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/prayer-cards-projects/lords-prayer-tracing-cross-by-kathryn-stanis

Trimmed cross ready to use or gift to a young faith learner. Always good to have multiple styles for the way we learn. This is a good match for the visual -kinesthetic learner. Find it on the website HERE: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/prayer-cards-projects/lords-prayer-tracing-cross-by-kathryn-stanis

Carla Kramer- Tangle Artist

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

In the Studio with Diane Marra

Time to learn some Gelli Printing techniques with Visual Faith Artist- Diane Marra.

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Connie Denninger and Pat Maier learned about making Master boards, printed tags and used all kinds of papers to print for collage work.

Connie Denninger and Pat Maier learned about making Master boards, printed tags and used all kinds of papers to print for collage work.

Well, we made a beautiful mess and it was fun…. Diane was encouraging and let us try things out that were our own ideas. We used all sorts of old book pages and graph paper of all sizes.

Well, we made a beautiful mess and it was fun…. Diane was encouraging and let us try things out that were our own ideas. We used all sorts of old book pages and graph paper of all sizes.

Diane as a beautiful studio and keeps her supplies organized and ready to grab for creating the next project.

Diane as a beautiful studio and keeps her supplies organized and ready to grab for creating the next project.

Having supplies ready to go is a true luxury and we were blessed to spend time here with Diane.

Having supplies ready to go is a true luxury and we were blessed to spend time here with Diane.

After “making our papers” we then created journals. We used roofing tar paper for the journal cover and added assorted papers. We added sgraffito designs to the cover. Still thinking just how these journals might become a very special addition to a Visual Faith project.

After “making our papers” we then created journals. We used roofing tar paper for the journal cover and added assorted papers. We added sgraffito designs to the cover. Still thinking just how these journals might become a very special addition to a Visual Faith project.

Thank you Diane for a very special time with you in your studio- what a blessing!

Thank you Diane for a very special time with you in your studio- what a blessing!

A Prayer and Devotional Path Through Lent

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Lent is a season of solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar of some church denominations. It traditionally begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days until Easter Sunday. (The 40 days commemorate Jesus’ time of fasting and temptation in the desert; Sundays are not included in this count.) Lent is a time set aside for people of faith to focus on prayer and to consider the life and death of Jesus, specifically the events beginning on Palm Sunday and climaxing with Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday.

During the 40 days of Lent, Christians often commit to fasting from luxuries like dessert, social media, or other pleasant past times, while in recent years there has also been focus on “taking up” rather than “giving up” something for Lent. This might include a daily act of blessing others or taking up a spiritual discipline, such as Lenten devotions or following a prayer calendar each day.

Lenten devotional book and calendar done by Bev Wicher.

Lenten devotional book and calendar done by Bev Wicher.

However you might decide to rearrange your time during Lent, time given up or taken up is meant to create an awareness of our own personal failings and need for a Savior, and turn our hearts toward the God whom we so often turn away from. As we spend time in the Word and in prayer, we find time to slow down and contemplate all that Jesus did for us - His life, His suffering, His death. A “Lenten Path” or devotional calendar provides the space and visual accountability for this practice. Spaces can be used to record a one-word “take-away”, a short summary, or a visual image after reflecting on a reading or devotion. The spaces also provide a place for the option of gathering personal prayers or prayers for others - so that they might be seen and remembered.

Some examples of visual calendars for Lent.

Some examples of visual calendars for Lent.

A regular calendar template works well, or you might print one created especially for Lent. Taking time to add color creates a little more time for reflection; and if too much color is distracting, choosing 4 colors to use for your calendar is a good solution. As you can see by the calendar at lower left above, color is also an option - this one was created with a black pen and gray marker. It’s really about what works for you and brings the most blessing to your time with the Lord.

“Lenten Path” by Rachel Hinz

“Lenten Path” by Rachel Hinz

There are several “Lenten Path” calendars on the Visual Faith Ministry website, which are available for free download and printing for personal or ministry purposes. You can find them here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/seasonal (Scroll down to find the “Lenten Path” resources.)

New this year is artist Rachel Hinz’s beautiful calendar which connects the symbolism of mankind’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden - and our need for a Savior - with Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane as He wrestled with His Father’s will and the suffering to come. The thirty-six “leaf spaces” plus space within the tree, stone, or crown of thorns provide room for a 40 day recording of devotions or prayers.

“Lenten Path” by Pat Maier

“Lenten Path” by Pat Maier

Also new is this image of 40 “heart spaces” for reflective response - a reminder that everything Jesus did and endured was out of love for the world.

If you don’t have a Lent devotional, Creative Communications for the Parish and Concordia Publishing House both offer some excellent, and inexpensive devotional booklets for Lent - their resources include selections for families and children. Find them here: (search “Lent Devotions”)

http://www.creativecommunications.com/ and https://www.cph.org/

Portals of Prayer is also an excellent resource - available here: https://www.cph.org/portals/ or through an app on your iPhone (search “Portals of Prayer”).

Early Lenten calendars by Connie Denninger - templates by Sybil MacBeth of  prayingincolor.com .

Early Lenten calendars by Connie Denninger - templates by Sybil MacBeth of prayingincolor.com.

An added blessing is being able to look back and “see” the time you met God in His Word or spoke with Him in prayer. A yearly practice of priority …..

Connie uses the simple “four color” method during her devotional & prayer time.

Connie uses the simple “four color” method during her devotional & prayer time.

…. so we might understand God’s love more deeply and open our hearts a little bit wider that our Easter joy may be all the more overflowing with the realization of His great grace!

Lots of choices - also a wonderful resource available for those who work with children and youth.

Lots of choices - also a wonderful resource available for those who work with children and youth.

God bless you with a true spirit of repentance, a heart of gratitude, and a deeper faith

as you mark your spiritual path through Lent.

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Visual Faith on the Extravagant Love Cruise!

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On February 9, 2019, a group of women set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for a 5-day “Extravagant Love Cruise”, sponsored by Educational Opportunities Travel.

We were blessed with this gathering of Visual Faith coaches that assembled for the cruise.  Front- L to R- Teresa Davis, Connie Denninger, Liz Murphy, and Webmaster- Diane Marra.  Back- L to R- Peggy Thibodeau, Eden Keefe, Sara Wilson, Lisa Brass, Pat Maier and Valerie Matyas.

We were blessed with this gathering of Visual Faith coaches that assembled for the cruise.

Front- L to R- Teresa Davis, Connie Denninger, Liz Murphy, and Webmaster- Diane Marra.

Back- L to R- Peggy Thibodeau, Eden Keefe, Sara Wilson, Lisa Brass, Pat Maier and Valerie Matyas.

The cruise had about the same Teaching Time as a Women’s Weekend Retreat. The rest of the time was spent personally experiencing either the Royal Caribbean ship or time off the boat. This cruise landed in Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Pat Maier helped us to see Visual Faith processes as an Act of Worship—Read, Reflect, Respond, so that you can Remember and Reach Out. She also brought helpful tools for lettering and working with color in our margins and Bibles.

Pat Maier helped us to see Visual Faith processes as an Act of Worship—Read, Reflect, Respond, so that you can Remember and Reach Out. She also brought helpful tools for lettering and working with color in our margins and Bibles.

WendySue Fluegge and her daughter, Miranda, wove together worship and praise with their gift of music.

WendySue Fluegge and her daughter, Miranda, wove together worship and praise with their gift of music.

Bible Study Leader-Deb Burma led participants through a wealth of riches in God’s Word with the story of God’s Extravagant Love for each of us.

Bible Study Leader-Deb Burma led participants through a wealth of riches in God’s Word with the story of God’s Extravagant Love for each of us.

Connie Denninger led us into an introduction of Visual Faith through Doors into Prayer. The Co-Founders of Visual Faith Ministry had a wonderful experience of connecting to so many who are already faithful practitioners and those who were new to the practices.

Connie Denninger led us into an introduction of Visual Faith through Doors into Prayer. The Co-Founders of Visual Faith Ministry had a wonderful experience of connecting to so many who are already faithful practitioners and those who were new to the practices.

We gathered in the evenings in the Windjammer food court for times of sharing and encouragement.

We gathered in the evenings in the Windjammer food court for times of sharing and encouragement.

it was fun to meet each other In Real Life and share our Visual Faith journey.

it was fun to meet each other In Real Life and share our Visual Faith journey.

We valued our time together and seeing all the ways we are unique in this part of the Visual Faith Journey.

We valued our time together and seeing all the ways we are unique in this part of the Visual Faith Journey.

We were blessed by this inter-generational experience aboard the Royal Caribbean- Independence of the Seas.

We were blessed by this inter-generational experience aboard the Royal Caribbean- Independence of the Seas.

We even had 17 brave men along for this cruise. Hardy souls and we spotted them here and there.

We even had 17 brave men along for this cruise. Hardy souls and we spotted them here and there.

We were thankful for the beautiful flowers spotted mid-Winter…

We were thankful for the beautiful flowers spotted mid-Winter…

The delightful presentation of food for every meal……

The delightful presentation of food for every meal……

The blessings of conversations around the dinner table…….

The blessings of conversations around the dinner table…….

A magnificent wait staff, beautiful sunny days in port, calm seas, and accommodations galore.

A magnificent wait staff, beautiful sunny days in port, calm seas, and accommodations galore.

This group of women from all over the country forged a new friendship of ministry blessings.

This group of women from all over the country forged a new friendship of ministry blessings.

A heartfelt thank you to Diane Biel (blue shirt- center) for all of her coordination and hard work and making this Education Opportunities event move from a dream to a reality.

A heartfelt thank you to Diane Biel (blue shirt- center) for all of her coordination and hard work and making this Education Opportunities event move from a dream to a reality.

God’s Extravagant Love? Yes, we have been richly blessed. Maybe you will join us on a future cruise?

God’s Extravagant Love? Yes, we have been richly blessed. Maybe you will join us on a future cruise?