The Ultimate Bright Bible Journaling Retreat in Mancelona, Michigan was a wonderful gathering of Christian women on October 4-6, 2019. It was a joy for four of our Visual Faith Coaches to be present, engaged and participate in this wonderful community.…Katie Helmriech starts by sharing about experimenting with new techniques and some processing take aways.
The 30th Annual Theological Symposium at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis took place September 17-18 under the theme Devoted: (Re)Forming the Devotional Life.
This relevant theme allowed participants and speakers to “explore the topic of devotion in all its complexity, (re)forming our devotional lives into lives of devotion. Attendees will walk away refreshed and equipped to encounter the challenges of our contemporary culture with the depths of God’s Word and the breadth of His work.”
The Symposium was created for the benefit of Continuing Education for Ordained Ministers, Deaconesses, Professional Church Workers, and laity.
Valerie Matyas, Educational Development Consultant for Visual Faith Ministries, shares about her experience teaching visual faith at the symposium here:
I had the opportunity and honor of leading a break out session. Visual Faith lends itself beautifully to the devotional life. As a Visual Faith Coach, I am able to engage, equip, and encourage people of all ages and professions in taking a creative, visual approach to the devotional life.
We discussed the struggles and obstacles of engaging in prayer and scripture in our devotional life. It is important to learn how to pause and focus. Visual Faith allows us to slow down and pay attention. It is both a practice and a product. It gives us a visual reminder for our remembrance and to equip us in reaching out to others.
We used the tool of Visual Prayer with the application of “Secret Code Prayer” to force ourselves to slow our pace and deepen our connection in conversation with our Heavenly Father. It is the difference between speeding down a highway and walking down a highway. We see more, notice more, are aware of more, because the pace forces us to be readily observant.
I enjoy using humor in my presentations to lighten the mood on what is a common struggle for so many followers of Christ: How to remain engaged in prayer and scripture when our lives are full of distraction, disenchantment, and disillusionment?
Our lives are sometimes messy, our prayer and devotional lives often disorganized and disarrayed. Having spiritual tools for our spiritual toolbox can help to make sense of the mess. It allows us a wider lens into how God is working in our lives and the lives of His people.
The room is always completely silent when participants are visually praying or reflecting creatively to scripture. Sometimes we need to carve time out of our day for such a practice. The creative, visual, tangible approach creates a hook that draws us back again and again. Allowing participants an opportunity to apply the techniques and experience the practice offers a better understanding for the potential impact on the personal devotional life. I tell people, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We cannot create time, lose time, or gain time. How we prioritize our time is up to us. It often takes discipline. Enjoying our time spent in prayer and in the Word helps us to want to prioritize that time.” We leverage the visual, linguistic, and kinesthetic practice of drawing, doodling, and creating to keep us accountable and engaged.
My Visual Faith presentations are often for lay women. Sometimes I have the opportunity to present Professional Development for the spiritual formation of Lutheran and Catholic School Teachers and Administrators. Every once in awhile I get to go into classrooms of Lutheran day schools and speak directly to students. It was a rare and special occasion to be able to speak to Ordained Ministers of the Word and church workers affiliated with the Seminary. It is the desire of Visual Faith Ministry for these tools to be used to further equip the people of God’s Kingdom. May it be to His Glory.
I wanted to thank Rev. Dr. David Schmitt, the Gregg H. Benidt Chair in Homiletics and Literature, for inviting me to speak. His involvement in this year’s Symposium and his passion for seeing the devotional life for more than just reading and meditating silently in isolation, opened the door for great conversations and insight regarding the multifaceted opportunities for devotional life.
I was abundantly blessed to have the founder of BlessInks and fellow Visual Faith Coach Marsha Baker attend my sectional. She beautifully and creatively captured my presentation using her unique style of sketch notes. Sketch notes are another example of Visual Faith, a practice that I enjoy using during Sunday Sermons.
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Valerie Matyas is a Visual Faith Classroom Coach joining 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 Coach Valerie Matyas shares about her experience leading a sectional on Visual Faith practices at a junior high youth event:
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.
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.
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).
We also had an opportunity to create a Scripture Doodle (a basic illustration) of the theme verse.
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.
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:
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.
On February 9, 2019, a group of women set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for a 5-day “Extravagant Love Cruise”, sponsored by Educational Opportunities Travel.
The cruise had about the same Teaching Time as a Women’s Weekend Retreat. The rest of the time was spent personally experiencing either the Royal Caribbean ship or time off the boat. This cruise landed in Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica.
Maybe it is time for some inspiration? Perhaps you have seen some things about Bible Journaling and Praying in Color. You've thought about exploring something to bring to your congregation or share with your neighbors.
Where do you start? How do you make it inviting to all- even non-artists? What if you don't feel qualified to lead ? Help !
We have heard you and invite you to join us for a Creative Faith Assembly in Northern Virginia. We will have an evening of hands-on introduction to techniques. There will be help with supplies and how to use, as well as time to try things out.
We will show you what "Worship into the Week" could look like in your home, school or congregation. With YOU leading! Maybe your church gives out Portals of Prayer and a mini- calendar project makes a wonderful addition and all of a sudden you have "community" around a spiritual discipline practice.
There are also some basic Visual Faith project how-tos for creating Counting gift journals and Prayers for my Children flip calendars.
So find a friend to bring- that always makes it more fun. Two with a vision make things happen.
Don't sit back and watch and wish you had made the trek to Prince of Peace in Springfield, Virginia. Join us!
Flyers are right here in the FILES section the Visual Faith - DC Metro group-https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021481294570736/files/