‘Restorations: Encounter and Respond’ summer sermon series at St. John’s

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2013

St. John’s Lutheran Church is bringing words, music and art together in a summer sermon series entitled “Restorations: Encounter and Respond.”
Several weeks ago, the church sent out a call for artists to solicit local art for the project. Three grand prize winners were selected to have their art displayed in the congregation’s three worship spaces during the eight-week series. Three merit winners were also chosen.
Grand prize artwork includes “Darkness to Light,” a 4-foot by 8-foot abstract impressionist acrylic painting by Clyde; “Holy Provision,” a 30-inch by 20-inch photograph by Nicole Newton; and “Revival,” a mixed-media artwork by Judy Gibson King. Merit artwork includes “Restoration of Heritage,” a 2-foot by 4-foot mixed-media painting with oil and antique photographs by Don Moore; “Frances in Still Life,” a 1-foot by 1-foot acrylic painting by Pam Bloom; and “Hugo and Joshua,” a 14-inch by 11-inch photograph by Dick Lapham.
A reception for all artists who entered the work for the project is set for 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 21, at Pottery 101, located at 101 S. Main St. The event will take place during Salisbury Arts Night Out. The reception is free and the public is invited.
Meanwhile, the six pieces selected will rotate through the worship spaces during the sermon series.
“On Sunday, June 9, we began that journey through restoration,” notes Rob Durocher, St. John’s minister of music. “We were invited to open the gate and walk through, because our encounters with life circumstances are encounters with God. Our response is to trust that he will reveal and lead us on the journey. That’s what happened Sunday.”
As part of the 11 a.m. service, the Luther Ringers performed a piece called “Metamorphosis” by Michael Helman. Durocher selected 2 Corinthians 3:18 to introduce the music: “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.”
“I chose that verse because it spoke to transformation,” Durocher says.
Before, during and after the service, members were invited to consider the artwork “Darkness Into Light,” on display to the right of the altar.
“When I saw the title of the handbell piece, I had already read about the painting,” says Cora Shinn, a St. John’s member. “As soon as the bells starting playing, my eyes just focused on the painting – and I could not take my eyes off it the whole time. It was all so connected. I have never, ever seen a service that followed the theme of the day so well. It was so well put together and so coordinated.”
Others had the same experience. Clyde also attended the 11 a.m. service.
“Everything fit together,” he says. “I couldn’t believe the music, and the gospel tied in well, too.”
Sunday’s gospel centered on the widow at Zarephath, who shows hospitality to Elijah, then loses her son to an illness before the son is revived by Elijah. In Clyde’s painting, there is an area of darkness and confusion that could very well be the pile of sticks the widow gathered to build her final fire.
“Every word of every hymn was important,” Clyde adds. “The service just made everything so relevant, all at one time. It was serendipitous.”

Susan Shinn is communications assistant for St. John’s Lutheran Church.