Sharing the Psalms in Latin America

Compartiendo Los Salmos

From Christel:  Growing up I often wrote down scripture and would paste it on a magazine ad, or better yet, find a magazine ad with a blank space and write there. I would send them off to friends or post them around my room. As I got older, for whatever reason, I lost this art. Years later I met Lizz Warren, who started lettering scripture and creating designs to put up on your wall, to print on cards, and to share on social media. My artistic side was rekindled!

 Lizz and I serve in Latin America, in particular, the Caribbean.  As a missionary and deaconess my service is often found among groups of women, children or the elderly. After learning about Visual Faith from my mother-in-law, Karen, and sister-in-law, Katie - and understanding that it’s not just all Bible Journaling - ideas have begun flowing!

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 I saw some Visual Faith Ministry prayer cards by Pat Maier and thought how great it was that not only can you create some art and pray but also share that with someone who may be in need of love and care.

I chatted with Lizz one day, probably on a very long voice message of rambling thoughts, and eventually the Compartiendo Los Salmos (sharing the Psalms) was created. We chose eight Psalms – Psalms of lament, ascent, and praise. These Psalms have been prayers that have been shared time and time again. Some were songs we would sing on visits and in services, some have been with us in very dark times, and some at very joyful times. This is the gift of the Book of Psalms — prayers written by people like you and me, going through this life like you and me, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Spanish Prayer Cards created by Lizz Warren. You can find them on the Visual Faith Ministry website here:  https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources

Spanish Prayer Cards created by Lizz Warren. You can find them on the Visual Faith Ministry website here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources

Our goal was to have four cards that identify the Psalm visually. After a Bible study, a visit, or a devotion on this particular Psalm, the participants would be able to color, paint, and put color to the cards. They could pray while doing this or simply embrace the time together in the Word with their fellow believers. One or two cards could be given to friends or neighbors in need of prayer, one could be given as an invitation to church or a church activity, and one card to hold onto, to remember the promises that God has for each of us.

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From Lizz:  I have always enjoyed the process of creating art, even though I have never considered myself an artist or showed exceptional talent in art class growing up.  When I became a preschool teacher, my love of creating art was awakened.  I quickly understood that creating art was more about loving the process than a perfect piece of art in the end.

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 I am a homeschool mom and a missionary wife in the Dominican Republic; my husband serves as the Business Manager in the Latin America and Caribbean region for the LCMS.  Shortly after moving here in 2015, I began a new hobby of lettering. This quickly became my therapy and passion. I began making gifts for others and art for my own walls. As I kept lettering, my audience expanded, I opened an Etsy shop, and my projects began to increase. 

A year ago Christel asked me to help her with a devotion that could be shared while creating art.  She asked me to illustrate prayer cards that could be painted or colored.  These cards would serve as reminders of God’s Word as well as gifts to pass along to a neighbor.  I was excited and thankful for the opportunity to work with her and together we created Compartiendo Los Salmos.

As a missionary wife and mother, my opportunities to be out in the community are limited.  On top of that, culture adaptation has not been a smooth journey for my family. So I was humbled and grateful that Christel asked me to be a part of this project, and God could use my hobby of lettering for His work in the mission field.  What a joy to see the beautiful art women and men in different Latin America countries have created with these cards!

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Compartiendo Los Salmos: Around the Region

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In Dominican Republic, we had the opportunity to gather around God’s Word and paint cards with our local missionary women, seminary wives, and Spanish teachers.  We have also shared the devotion and prayer cards with our fellow missionary women across Latin America, and many of them have taken the devotion into their congregations and small groups.

Deaconess Caitlin (left) and her son Abraham sharing in visual faith with the women of Pueblo Nuevo.

Deaconess Caitlin (left) and her son Abraham sharing in visual faith with the women of Pueblo Nuevo.

Missionary and Deaconess Caitlin wanted to reach out to the women in Pueblo Nuevo, Dominican Republic. We promoted the event as an evening of devotion and “manualidades” (crafts). We had an awesome turn out which led to community building among women who are members and their neighbors.

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Missionary couple, Rev. Sergio and Yoxa Maita, led an evening Bible Study in their community of Ozama, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After studying Psalm 4, we shared water-coloring techniques for the prayer cards, including masking and wet on wet application. Most of the attendees were women who work full time, are raising families, and are new to the church. Watercolor is not a common past time for adults, but after some initial hesitation the ladies began to embrace their creative side.

One woman even said, “I am so relaxed right now.” They ended up painting all four scenes (cards). Often times in our Latin American churches, we care for women who hold many (and often heavy) vocations. They are daughters caring for their parents, mothers caring for their children, the bread winners of their households, and more. These women, just like many of us, forget to take time out for themselves. We all need to allow ourselves to be creative and have a space to relax. At this Bible Study, we tried to provide that space in the Word, in art, and in fellowship.

As missionaries we have learned the importance of always being prepared. In Puerto Rico we had the opportunity to share Christ’s love through the Psalm cards with our Sunday School children! We had a theological education class at church which was structured for adults. One of our members brought her three children, and I remembered I had prayer cards and some water color tissue paper in the back closet. We ended up spending over two hours painting prayer cards that we passed out at the Divine service the next day.

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In Ponce, Puerto Rico, art is everything. Expression in art form is all around. Working off of this cultural understanding, we worked with a short-term team from Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN and did a series of three Psalm card studies at a housing project near our congregation. We had a short devotion, sang the Psalm, and then colored a prayer card. We were pleased to see so many from different backgrounds come to learn and create art together.

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The Word never returns empty (Is. 55:11), and as missionaries we often have to remind ourselves of that. We don’t always see the fruits of our labors. However, we do know with complete confidence that when the Word was shared, not only was it heard, but it was seen, it was read, it was painted, it was colored, it was prayed. That’s one of the reasons we love the ministry of Visual Faith. For those of us who appreciate and take in the visual and the tactile aspect of learning, Visual Faith allows us to “inwardly digest” the Word to a whole different level.

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Jesus comes to us in our Baptism, in His Body and Blood, and through His Word — this is the gift we have as Christians. Visual Faith ministry helps us share this gift with our community; we give a piece of artwork with His Word and that endures forever (Is. 40:8). This is our hope and prayer for these cards.  We hope they give opportunities to take in the Word, to pray it, and to share it.

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Christel and Lizz

Christel and Lizz

Christel Neuendorf serves as deaconess and missionary for the LCMS in Ponce, PR alongside her husband, James. She cares for the women, children, and elderly in her congregation and community, often times using visual faith resources. Christel often does not leave home without her coffee in her Saved by Grace, Fueled by Coffee tumbler by Lizz Warren. ( https://www.etsy.com/listing/555035058/christian-coffee-travel-mug-saved-by?ref=shop_home_active_1)

Elizabeth Warren is an LCMS missionary wife serving alongside her husband, Blake, in the Dominican Republic.  She has four beautiful daughters.  She is raising three here on earth and has one waiting for her in heaven.

She is a lettering artist with an etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/myalabasterflask?ref=shop_sugg ) and excited to contribute art to the Visual Faith resources. She is grateful for the grace and love of a forgiving Savior. She records her thoughts, feelings, and lessons learned about mission life, grief, and motherhood on her blog: myalabasterflask.com.

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Thank you, Christel & Lizz for sharing this amazing story and for the privilege of seeing how visual faith works in a foreign mission setting. You inspire us to be aware of and reach out in our own mission fields, which are often in our own communities, down the block, or right next door! Spanish resources, including the Sharing the Psalms devotions and prayer cards by Christel and Lizz, are available for ministry use at no cost on the Visual Faith Ministry website here: https://www.visualfaithmin.org/spanishresources .



Michele Bowden- Visual Faith Coach

Michele was the featured artist in August for the Bible Journaling Jumpstart website. We share some of the post here with permission.

As I look back at my heart for creative outlets, I can only attribute my work and my passion to “happy accidents” inspired by Bob Ross. I used to sit in my grandfather’s recliner and watch episode after episode of Mr. Ross’ artistic landscapes while painting along. Mr. Ross reminded viewers to relax, breathe, and just add a little happy tree over here, and another one over there. I know that is not how God the Creator did His initial work, but it was how He started His work in me!  I can also remember art in school causing me so much angst and even some deep, long lasting, injuries. Teachers were never truly pleased with my depictions from their instructions. I could not measure up to little Tommy or Susie. So, when I first began Bible journaling, I reflected on my baggage of perfection and comparison. I reminded myself that I was bringing this artwork to His altar. If my work was going to be an offering as a result of something God was teaching me, I could not criticize it or over-analyze it like my teachers did to me. It would have to be a gift I offered back to Him.  This Bible journaling series is called “Remembrances.” As I turn the pages of my work, I can see what God has taught me through each season; at each point of passing time, at each mountain, and at each valley. One of the values of our walk with Christ is looking back and remembering. With artwork, we can reflect and see how He brought us through a hardship or a joyous celebration. We can also see our own personal growth as He matures us.  In this collection, there are pages from each season this year as mile-markers for my faith journey.

As I look back at my heart for creative outlets, I can only attribute my work and my passion to “happy accidents” inspired by Bob Ross. I used to sit in my grandfather’s recliner and watch episode after episode of Mr. Ross’ artistic landscapes while painting along. Mr. Ross reminded viewers to relax, breathe, and just add a little happy tree over here, and another one over there. I know that is not how God the Creator did His initial work, but it was how He started His work in me!

I can also remember art in school causing me so much angst and even some deep, long lasting, injuries. Teachers were never truly pleased with my depictions from their instructions. I could not measure up to little Tommy or Susie. So, when I first began Bible journaling, I reflected on my baggage of perfection and comparison. I reminded myself that I was bringing this artwork to His altar. If my work was going to be an offering as a result of something God was teaching me, I could not criticize it or over-analyze it like my teachers did to me. It would have to be a gift I offered back to Him.

This Bible journaling series is called “Remembrances.” As I turn the pages of my work, I can see what God has taught me through each season; at each point of passing time, at each mountain, and at each valley. One of the values of our walk with Christ is looking back and remembering. With artwork, we can reflect and see how He brought us through a hardship or a joyous celebration. We can also see our own personal growth as He matures us.

In this collection, there are pages from each season this year as mile-markers for my faith journey.

In the spring, I was inspired by the cherry blossoms and floral landscapes I encountered on my morning walks. Cherry blossoms and peonies are unique flowers to our area. Moving here 10 years ago made my April seasons more delightful.


In the spring, I was inspired by the cherry blossoms and floral landscapes I encountered on my morning walks. Cherry blossoms and peonies are unique flowers to our area. Moving here 10 years ago made my April seasons more delightful.

Making pages that resemble the objects designed by the true Artist helps me sit still while I reflect on the beauty He designed. I love taking the opportunity to reflect God’s creation glory back to Him.

Making pages that resemble the objects designed by the true Artist helps me sit still while I reflect on the beauty He designed. I love taking the opportunity to reflect God’s creation glory back to Him.




In the summer, I was inspired by our travels and the unique places He gave us to live. The reminder from the Scriptures that, “He places is in the safety that we belong,” helped me realize that His plans for me are good even when my longing may be for something else.

In the summer, I was inspired by our travels and the unique places He gave us to live. The reminder from the Scriptures that, “He places is in the safety that we belong,” helped me realize that His plans for me are good even when my longing may be for something else.

When we live according to His will, He gives us everything we need to live just as He planned. We can pray as Jesus did, “Not as I will but as you will, Lord.”

When we live according to His will, He gives us everything we need to live just as He planned. We can pray as Jesus did, “Not as I will but as you will, Lord.”

For the fall pieces, my location in Fairfax, Virginia allowed me to experience the array of fall colors on display. At each turn this time of the year, I fix my eyes on the author of my faith instead of my circumstances. If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

For the fall pieces, my location in Fairfax, Virginia allowed me to experience the array of fall colors on display. At each turn this time of the year, I fix my eyes on the author of my faith instead of my circumstances. If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

For the winter segment, I created a galaxy view. This piece inspired me to think beyond my circumstances to the big picture; God of the Universe is holding all things in His hands.

For the winter segment, I created a galaxy view. This piece inspired me to think beyond my circumstances to the big picture; God of the Universe is holding all things in His hands.

As I explore Bible Journaling, I am free in my journey to listen to His whisper and create anything that is inspired during my time of reflection with my Savior. It is a Spiritual practice of listening prayer while I create with my hands. It is a time of communion and remembering which delights my soul. I long for my time together with the Lord among the pages of His Word. I am so thankful that Jesus makes me glad and holds me fast. (I see a worship song series coming in my near future!)

As I explore Bible Journaling, I am free in my journey to listen to His whisper and create anything that is inspired during my time of reflection with my Savior. It is a Spiritual practice of listening prayer while I create with my hands. It is a time of communion and remembering which delights my soul. I long for my time together with the Lord among the pages of His Word. I am so thankful that Jesus makes me glad and holds me fast. (I see a worship song series coming in my near future!)

Thank you to Michele for sharing her insights for this series. Michele Bowden @visualfaithjourney on Instagram @michelebowden on Pinterest

Thank you to Michele for sharing her insights for this series.
Michele Bowden
@visualfaithjourney on Instagram
@michelebowden on Pinterest

An Enduring Word Bible Journey

Sometimes when we begin a journey like spending time in our Bible Reading - or in this case coloring and reading Scripture in a devotional art Bible, we don’t know the whole plan. A recent conversation with Kleone Nelson revealed that she has finished coloring HER WHOLE ENDURING WORD BIBLE.

Back inside cover of the Enduring Word Bible of Kleone Nelson.

Back inside cover of the Enduring Word Bible of Kleone Nelson.

Kleone states-. ”My plan of attack was to start with favorite chapters, then favorite books. Then I did New Testament and Old Testament pictures I liked. The rest got done last. Each picture I colored I also colored over the verse in the text.”

Kleone states-. ”My plan of attack was to start with favorite chapters, then favorite books. Then I did New Testament and Old Testament pictures I liked. The rest got done last. Each picture I colored I also colored over the verse in the text.”

“Colored pencils were first, then highlights were done with colored pens.”

“Colored pencils were first, then highlights were done with colored pens.”

“What a great opportunity to read also as I went. I found some new favorite verses that were brought to life by the pictures. A wonderful experience and I could hardly put down the Bible once I started.”

“What a great opportunity to read also as I went. I found some new favorite verses that were brought to life by the pictures. A wonderful experience and I could hardly put down the Bible once I started.”

“I still go back and touch up pictures with color and read as I go.  My reward has come from the enjoyment and enrichment the experience provided.  The whole Bible was completed awhile ago.”  (It came out in June 2018.)    Thanks to Kleone for sharing the story of this journey and we look forward to seeing the next phase !

“I still go back and touch up pictures with color and read as I go.

My reward has come from the enjoyment and enrichment the experience provided.

The whole Bible was completed awhile ago.” (It came out in June 2018.)

Thanks to Kleone for sharing the story of this journey and we look forward to seeing the next phase !

Prayers for My Students

We have a number of projects on the website created around a flip-chart Prayer Calendar. One of them is for teachers to pray daily for their students. Probably I have thought about that as something a teacher makes and takes to her classroom. Here is the story of a twist on just how that might happen.

Teresa Davis is a Visual Faith Coach in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has been inviting her grandchildren to join her in visual faith practices for awhile now. This past week was “Grandma and Grandpa Camp” and one of the things that she had planned and prepared for was the creation of the prayer flip-chart. Luca and Leighton were making them  for their homeroom teachers  in the Lutheran School that they attend.

Teresa Davis is a Visual Faith Coach in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has been inviting her grandchildren to join her in visual faith practices for awhile now. This past week was “Grandma and Grandpa Camp” and one of the things that she had planned and prepared for was the creation of the prayer flip-chart. Luca and Leighton were making them for their homeroom teachers in the Lutheran School that they attend.

Teresa printed off the words and verses from the website and cut cardstock for the prayer pages. Fancy edge scissors, Washi tape, some Distress ink and assorted scrapbook pepper - and they were ON IT.

Teresa printed off the words and verses from the website and cut cardstock for the prayer pages. Fancy edge scissors, Washi tape, some Distress ink and assorted scrapbook pepper - and they were ON IT.

I think two of the teachers at Zion Concord Lutheran School in Bensenville, Illinois will be truly blessed with this beginning of school gift from these students. Visual Faith practices are truly adaptable, can be non-gendered and work for all ages to create. Thanks Luca and Leighton for showing JUST HOW THIS MIGHT LOOK.

I think two of the teachers at Zion Concord Lutheran School in Bensenville, Illinois will be truly blessed with this beginning of school gift from these students. Visual Faith practices are truly adaptable, can be non-gendered and work for all ages to create. Thanks Luca and Leighton for showing JUST HOW THIS MIGHT LOOK.

What Nehemiah Taught Me on My Summer Vacation

Educator and visual faith practitioner Elizabeth Valente describes for us the blessing of setting apart some vacation time for focused time in the Word …… we are grateful for her authentic and inspirational sharing!

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Like most educators, by the time May rolled around this year, I was ready for the end of another academic year. I was tired. I was weary. I still loved my middle schoolers, but we all were due for a break. I needed time to rest, renew, reflect, and reconnect. 

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Several years ago I discovered Bible journaling. I was intrigued - so I armed myself with a journaling Bible, some colored pencils, and an ever growing Pinterest board - and got to work. The perfectionist in me gave herself over to the experience, and I found myself interacting with scripture in a way I had never done before. I loved the fact that I was in The Word in a new and exciting way. I loved it so much that I brought it into my classroom, and weekly my students and I would take our morning religion time to read, reflect, write, and color in our Bibles. We all were using our Bibles in a new and unique way. It was beautiful to see. But....as this year progressed, my personal time journaling became less and less, pushed out by all the other things I “needed” to get done.

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The week after school got out, I sat in my quiet classroom looking at the empty seats and decided it was time to return to The Word. I immediately thought of Nehemiah. I desperately needed to rebuild my walls. I needed to renew my commitment to God, and rediscover what His Word had to tell me. Deciding that the double whammy of Word and prayer was necessary, I downloaded some prayer sheets from the Visual Faith website and got to work.

Here’s what I learned:

Nehemiah is one of my new favorite people - Jerusalem was broken and destroyed. It was a shadow of what it had been, and when Nehemiah heard this, what did he do? He mourned. He grieved for what was done to God’s city, but then....then he got up and got to work. Never doubting God, he got the king to grant him permission to go rebuild the walls, and he even convinced the king to get his buddies to donate materials to do so.

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When the time came, Nehemiah worked right along side the people, many times with a sword in one hand to fight the enemies that sought to stop them. He endured ridicule and conspiracies, all the while remaining faithful and strong in his convictions and God’s plan. He was generous with the people and made sure they were given what they needed for their bodies and their spirits. Oh - and he had no problem telling them when they’d messed up and to knock it off. In short, Nehemiah was pretty awesome.

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I don’t need a study guide - One of my problems with maintaining a regular devotional life has been that I didn’t quite know what to “do” with the Bible. That sounds ridiculous, coming from a synodically trained teacher, but there it is. I felt I needed a devotional or study guide to dig deeper into scripture. After all, I’d heard all these stories before, what more could I learn on my own?

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What I discovered was that I simply needed time to reflect, and the act of lettering and coloring gave me that time. I set myself the goal of reading a chapter each day and finding one sentence that spoke to me - one sentence that resonated. This was surprisingly easy to do. I discovered that this 21st century middle school teacher could relate to a 5th century BC cup bearer to a king. Just like Nehemiah, I need to be focused on the tasks God set before me, never doubting that He is in control and will bless the work I do. I too need strong hands, and a mind to work. I also need to be attentive to God’s Word and understand the work I accomplish is because our God is so very great. Over all of this, I should never forget that God is gracious, merciful, and abounding in love. These are the lessons God taught me as I pushed other distractions out of the way and gave Him my listening ear.

Visual prayer reflections from the first six chapters of Nehemiah, recorded on one of the “prayer spaces” - a free download from the Visual Faith Ministry website.

Visual prayer reflections from the first six chapters of Nehemiah, recorded on one of the “prayer spaces” - a free download from the Visual Faith Ministry website.

Prayer completed our exchange - Once I was finished in my Bible, I turned to my prayer page. By praying in color I was able to connect what I’d read to where I am. Much like the graphic organizers I use in my classroom, the sheets I used allowed me to focus what I’d read about and seek to apply it to my life. Right along with Nehemiah, I pleaded for God to hear me when I sang for joy and when I whispered His name. I prayed that He would strengthen me for the tasks He has called me to do, and I praised Him for His generosity and His omnipotence. Prayer is what solidified the timelessness and relevance of God’s Word.

Another example of “prayer spaces” used for visual prayer and praying scripture right into our daily lives!

Another example of “prayer spaces” used for visual prayer and praying scripture right into our daily lives!

I do have the time - As a woman who is a wife, a mother, and a full-time teacher, my time is not always my own. The excuse that I don’t have enough hours in my day, has been a favorite of mine for a while. Being on summer break removed that excuse, but I realized that no matter how busy my schedule is, “not having enough time” is a terribly flimsy defense. The time I’ve spent this summer wasn’t perfect; it wasn’t always uninterrupted time. There were moments when I’d put my headphones in to drown out the sounds of Peppa Pig or the five millionth repeat of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. There were plenty of instances when my reflections were interrupted by my daughter, who needed a hug or my help with something she was focused on. Sometimes I didn’t journal in my Bible and pray in the same moments. And sometimes, I missed days all together. And that’s okay.

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Despite all of that, God still richly blessed the time I did spend with Him. Before long, I found myself craving those moments, missing them when they didn’t happen. This is what, I believe, God truly wants from us in our quiet (and not so quiet) moments with Him. He wants us to hunger for what He has to share with us. He wants us to look forward to time with Him. He wants to shower us with His abundant love. As David so aptly described in Psalm 42, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”  He wants to refresh us in ways we can’t even comprehend. For the first time, in a long time, I felt this thirst. It was marvelous.

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For me, Bible journaling and praying in color has become a touchstone, a way to feed my need to be creative, while reflecting on God’s Word and His many, many blessings.

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As summer quickly winds down, I am so thankful for the time I’ve gotten to be sill and remember that He is God. I will take the lessons I’ve learned from Nehemiah as I prepare for another school year and pray that God will continue to strengthen my hands for the good work He’s set before me.

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Elizabeth Valente is the 7/8th grade teacher at Trinity Lutheran School in Jackson. She teaches and uses visual faith practices in her classroom - and even includes a journaling Bible on her school supply list each year! This summer, along with journaling in her Bible, she used the 12 Prayer Spaces resource created by Ruth Schian for visual prayer.

To use this resource for your own visual prayer time, find it on the Visual Faith Ministry website here:

https://www.visualfaithmin.org/print-color-pray/prayer-spaces-by-ruth-schian



Mini Sermon Notes- Shauna Kent

It is a small notebook that Shauna Kent takes to worship. She learned about Visual Faith practices and thought this might be a good place to start. Not necessarily trying to make a “work of art”- but seeing the value of images with thoughts to highlight sermon take aways.

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A simple blue and black pen and a small notebook.  Slips right into a bag or purse.

A simple blue and black pen and a small notebook. Slips right into a bag or purse.

Sermon notes that become story. The main point arranged to remember. Thanks Shauna for helping us to see ANOTHER way that makes worship time a gift and a blessing.

Sermon notes that become story. The main point arranged to remember. Thanks Shauna for helping us to see ANOTHER way that makes worship time a gift and a blessing.

Shauna and her husband Rev. Jim Kent  serve at First Lutheran Church in Huntington, Maryland.  Shauna is an experienced cardmaker and crafter.  She is a wonderful encourager of Visual Faith practices.

Shauna and her husband Rev. Jim Kent

serve at First Lutheran Church in Huntington, Maryland.

Shauna is an experienced cardmaker and crafter.

She is a wonderful encourager of Visual Faith practices.

The journal that Shauna uses for this practice is small- just 5 x 3.5 inches. We appreciate her sharing with us about this worship engagement. Finding something that works FOR YOU- is a main tenet of Visual Faith.

The journal that Shauna uses for this practice is small- just 5 x 3.5 inches. We appreciate her sharing with us about this worship engagement. Finding something that works FOR YOU- is a main tenet of Visual Faith.

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!