Adele Roy, on behalf of the FUMC staff
Jesus in Anguish/Oil painting
In February, I used our weekly staff worship time to have everyone participate in a Lectio Divina exercise around Matthew 26:36-41. With vivid detail, emotional responses bubbled up: sorrow, distress, disappointment, avoidance, anguish, fear, terror, grief, transformation, and impending death. Alongside these already oversized feelings came numerous visual images: the Garden, trees, the earth, darkness, night sky, friends, tears, and the cup. This piece of scripture was packed with inspiration. After sketching in as many elements as possible, part of my process was to strip away, so as to focus attention. I wanted the viewer to be right down on the ground with Jesus as he wrestled in the Garden. Jesus’ feet are crossed in preparation for his crucifixion; his hands form a cup for his face -- he is to be the sacrifice. An olive branch with 12 leaves hangs over his head, anointing him for the journey ahead as the day begins to dawn in the distance. The gravitas is clear -- moments later Jesus will stand up and bear this impossible responsibility on our behalf.
"You, What Do You Want?" Jesus in Contemporary America Series/Oil painting
Shonagh was inspired to create paintings for ALL of the stations in our Pilgrimage of Hope project!
Jesus was a Jew living under the reign of the powerful Roman Empire. He was a non-citizen, a religious and ethnic minority, lower class, poor, at the time of his death his mother was a single mother, and his people were despised by the Roman authorities, oppressed, and persecuted. The culture at the time was highly patriarchal, hierarchical, autocratic and was set up to enrich and protect the privileged class and the powerful rulers. The poorer classes were heavily taxed and had no voice or representation. Dissention was not permitted and those who dared were brutally executed. Jesus was countercultural. He turned the rules of the reigning empire upside down and taught a different perspective, a different way of living and relating to each other. He called this the kingdom of God. He preached radical acceptance and unconditional love of neighbor. Jesus welcomed the outsiders, outcast, the marginalized and persecuted, and then he became one himself. Jesus was rejected by his own people and then executed by the Roman authorities.
Given this picture of Jesus, if we were to try and find contemporary parallels to Jesus in our current culture: Who would Jesus be? What gender (if any)? What would (s)he look like? Where would (s)he live? What would Jesus be wearing? What countercultural issues would (s)he be challenging in contemporary America? Where is the hope for people like Jesus in America? How can you be a part of that hope?
A Lonely Man’s Prayer/Pencil drawing
Homelessness was a big issue during the 1980’s. I worked at a few homeless shelters in my college years. This piece of art, A Lonely Man’s Prayer, is based on a tracing of some graffiti from a wall in a DC shelter. For me, it exudes sadness. The sketch below the graffiti is a tracing of someone sleeping on a park bench in our nation’s capitol.
Touched by the experience of working with homeless people, I returned to DC during the summer of 1986 for a job at a medical facility for homeless men. When I first arrived, I walked through this city of national monuments and palatial buildings and was overwhelmed by requests for help from panhandlers. I remember seeing people like me totally ignore these panhandlers’ pleas, like the homeless people didn’t even exist. I was aghast that they could look away. But in the short span of living there for one summer, I too learned to ignore some of the folks who approached me. There were too many interruptions. There was just too much neediness.
Reading this scripture where Jesus asks his Disciples to stay awake bring back that experience to me. It’s so hard to stay awake when we are surrounded by big problems that seem larger than our capacity to help. How do we stay awake to contribute our small piece of attention and compassion to the bigger puzzle of problems in our nation, in our world?
Betrayal/Quilted fiber art
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in art and hand crafts. I have tried many different hand crafts over the years and have found my passion in quilting. The quilts I have chosen to exhibit are quilts that were made for challenges. Each challenge had a specific set of rules based on fabric choice, embellishment, or topic. I hope you find as much joy in viewing these quilted wall hangings as I had in making them.
FUMC Youth (assisted by Wendy Everett and Susan Baily)
Chalk drawing mosaic/marble painting background
“This is sad because Jesus is going to die.”
“Is this rain?”
“Hey, why isn’t this art happy?”
“I feel like something gloomy is happening.”
“The glitter is like light.”
The Children of FUMC made these perceptive comments as they rolled darkly painted marbles down the gray foam core background. Complete understanding of the crucifixion is difficult to grasp, but the children were clearly feeling the somber tone of that mournful day as they were painting.
During their SoulFull Retreat, the Youth of FUMC used symbols and colors, seen in the mosaic cross, to show their thoughts about betrayal. Can you see “hopeless”, “lost”, a broken heart, a frown, lightning? We find comfort in the knowledge that Jesus also experienced broken relationships and our human feelings of despair and sorrow. Hope comes from the promise of the resurrection. Look for smiles, rainbow, hearts, the sun, uplifting colors, and the faces of friends among the colorful, hope-filled squares.
Condemnation/Embellished and quilted fiber art
I chose this station to explore the connection between condemnation and hope. Condemnation feels empty of hope, a place too dark for hope to exist.
I started with dark triangles all pointing to the dark chasm of death, to represent the Sanhedrin’s condemnation. Jesus knew they would not understand his world. The still waters and green pastures that had been a part of Jesus’ life would give way to the darkness. He knew the cross was before him.
So where is hope to be found? Hope isn’t a mountain top experience; it’s what we search for when life gets hard and criticism is all around. It is in our darkest moments that hope starts to form – small buds that we can feel but not yet see. Surrounded by darkness, it’s hard to distinguish the color of hope. Then, like black sequins, hope catches the light. For a brief moment hope dances and shines in the darkness. Hope leads us toward the light. Once in the light, hope turns into a kaleidoscope of color.
Peter on the Run/Clay, wire and fabric
I identify with Peter in many ways. In the juxtaposition between confidence and insecurity, Peter and I find one another. I’ve been told I can be aloof and unapproachable, which breaks my heart because I’m actually a tender mouse inside, chased by insecurities. I’ve found the same with my artwork. I’ve enjoyed exploring many different types of expression but I’m plagued by a fear of white pages, the unresolved concept, and an outcome that doesn’t match my expectations – distraction and lack of discipline abound. Peter’s head was created in a class back in 2002 or 2003. I didn’t know who he was back then but wished it would one day come to me. This head – Peter’s head! – immediately came to mind when the Pilgrimage of Hope was proposed. So, Peter and I have had a pilgrimage of hope together in these days – Peter’s hope was that he wouldn’t let Jesus down as it was predicted, my hope was that my vision and execution might successfully tell the story – and our trust is that forgiveness and grace abide, every moment of every day, through our faith in God and his love for us.
This piece is the final closed-body welded steel sculpture I created in my parents’ basement in 1966. At the time, my intention was to use attractive shapes from an old Ford to make a vaguely human shape with a mirror. Over the years, on display in their home, my parents noted that over and over, people were startled by the mirror that seems to stare out accusingly. For this reason, in 2018 I thought to re-purpose the piece for the Pilgrimage of Hope project and assign the sculpture to the Judgment station. It personifies in some way the drama of the rabble condemning Jesus on that day. We all of us condemn Jesus when we separate ourselves from the truth of Jesus’ life and Resurrection.
Crown Him the Lord of Life /Quilted and embroidered fiber art
My soul is fed, with needle and thread.
For me, this expression is true, fitting, and precise. Stitching in various styles is my way to relax, create, grow, pray. As I stitch, I draw in calm understanding and lighten the concerns from the day.
Represented in this piece of artwork are the thorny crown, drops of blood, a purple robe, and Scripture from John 19:2, accompanied in the center piece by the crosses and the tomb. Somewhat hidden in the piece are a bird, grape vines, water, sand, plants, leaves, and stars. These elements from a much earlier time – another story, another Testament – are a nod to the Creation that ultimately provided the backdrop for the crucifixion story.
I do not find Hope in the crowning alone. Rather, I added symbols of the crucifixion and the entombment to lead the viewer toward the promise of resurrection. We have been waiting a long time. As we wait, might we deliver the resurrection ourselves, by living a life that becomes the gospel?
Crown of Thorns/Bead work
Jesus’ captors used a Crown of Thorns to cause pain, and the crown along with the purple robe they placed on him mocked Jesus’ claim of authority. I was interested in creating something for the Crowning station because it was something I felt I could express with beadwork. The beads I used to create this crown are called spike, beam, and dagger beads along with the more common demi-round beads. Many of these bead names alone evoke the feeling of thorns. I included beads in a shade of turquoise to bring in a green-based element as I imagine there may have been some green in a vine with thorns that they used to braid a crown for Jesus. I also included shades of red for the dagger and spike beads, knowing that the thorns likely broke Jesus’ skin and he bled.
I also wanted to include some symbols that express hope, so on purple cloth I have beaded these symbols: Easter Lily – resurrected life, Butterfly – resurrection of Christ, Flame – Holy Spirit and Light, Descending Dove – God’s spirit.
Creating this crown for the Pilgrimage of Hope reminded me of the emotions and awe I felt in 1995, when I took in the Stations of the Cross (created in the 1700’s by Salzburg artists) for the first time while walking up the steep Kapuzinerberg Hill in Salzburg, Austria. For my Lenten journey this year, I have spent time with the Pilgrimage of Hope scripture, praying the station prayers, attending the Lenten Vespers services, listening to artists talk about their art, and to weekly sermons, and planning my own art project. Each of these activities has encouraged me to reflect on Jesus’ last day, and how I can relate it to my own life in hope.
I would sincerely like to thank the following people who helped me in the creation process: Debbie Houghton for encouraging me to participate, Julie Koepele for ideas about the crown’s display, Richard Palacios for executing the display stand so beautifully, and Lulia Postica’s “Crown of Thorns” beaded bracelet pattern from which I patterned the crown.
Burden/Hope – quilted fiber art
I am a quilter, so I knew I would want a station whose meaning I could translate into a wall hanging. My wall hanging has two parts: a block to represent Jesus and a block that symbolizes hope.
On the left is a block commonly called “crown and cross”, which I have modified by adding the thorns and lengthening the cross. It is a dark block to represent the darkness of these last hours of Jesus’ life; he bore the burden of the cross to give us full hope for salvation, full forgiveness and to atone for our sins. As it says in 1 Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that free from sins, we might live in righteousness….”
The anchor block on the right symbolizes steadfast hope. The block is brighter and larger to signify how big our hope is for the future; in Hebrews 6:19-320: “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
Early Christians used the anchor, one of the most ancient of Christian symbols, as a disguised cross and marker to guide the way to secret meeting places. It was a key Christian symbol during the period of Roman persecution, and was used frequently in the epitaphs of the catacombs. Its symbolism faded as the cross began to take its place, but the hope it signifies still represents the unfailing hope of Christ for believers.
Doing the research for this project gave me insights into the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross. I like the anchor because of the safety and security it implies, and I think it goes well with the activities of the early Christians and their hopes for the people. This Lenten Pilgrimage has been a thoughtful one for me.
Jesus is Placed in the Tomb/Fiber art
The quilt and shawl in this exhibit are provided by the women of Uncommon Threads. Similar to the shroud that Joseph lovingly wrapped around Jesus’ body, we faithfully create our quilts and shawls to wrap around those who need extra comfort and care during a difficult time in their lives. And like the hope that Jesus’ resurrection provides to all who are facing death, we pray that our handiwork provides hope for those wrapped in our works of care and comfort during their time of difficulty.
Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem/Mixed media
I am moved by the desperation of people who leave their home and risk such difficult journeys in search of a better life. Surely, they have cried for the homes they left behind. Surely they have cried as they struggle to feed their children and keep them safe in their attempt to guide them to a better place.
The UN High Commission on Refugees provided this photo of refugees in a boat. I have chosen to have their boat guided by a fire in the dark night, like the Israelites who fled Egypt with Moses.
As we journey on this Pilgrimage of Hope, I am struck by the caption that accompanied this photo:
The only thing stronger than fear is hope.
Imagine yourself in this boat, then take a verse or two from the fiery red bowl. These are verse I share with folks in Ann Arbor in my work. Try to hear the words as these refugees would hear them.
Do the words reassure?
I have been a watercolor artist and instructor for many years. It never ceases to amaze me how infinitely this medium can used to create the beautiful, the sublime, or express the emotion of each individual.
Using watercolor and wet on wet technique combined with applying salt and Saran Wrap into the paint, I painted my impression of Jesus, encompassing his crucifixion and transformation into Resurrection.
Jean M. Shaw
Empty Crosses/ Quilted fiber art
Since the late 1990’s, I have been aware of the Stations of the Cross, mainly through seeing them in Catholic churches in Europe. When my Methodist Church in Oxford, Mississippi got the idea to make and display a silhouetted version of the Stations in about 2006, I was pleased to help by stitching around the silhouettes to stabilize them; the crown of thorns in several of the images was time-consuming and taxing – and I remembered thinking about the great physical and mental pain that the crown must have inflicted on Jesus.
I chose to make a small quilted hanging of three empty crosses to convey the idea that Jesus had indeed departed from the horrendous scene on Golgotha. The vertical beams of Jesus’ cross perhaps convey divine activity and people striving toward it. The horizontal beam suggests our own human limitations. The white cloth which is often shown on images of the cross suggests purity. I added beams of light emanating from the cross to show Jesus as the light of the world.
Perhaps viewers will notice small beams of light coming from the small cross at the left. This is to honor the thief who asked, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
"His Blood Washes Us Clean" Jesus in Contemporary America Series/Oil painting
Golden Cross/Counted cross-stitch
James Cotten owned Belmont Plantation, which was about 25 miles from Natchez, MS near the town of Port Gibson. Like other plantation owners, he owned slaves. Unlike most others, he was in love with one of his slaves, Hannah Cummings. We will never know how Hannah felt about the man who claimed ownership of her, but she was wise enough to use every opportunity she had to better the lives of her children.
Hannah’s life was not easy. Although both of her parents were living at Belmont, she still had to live with the knowledge that her children were born into slavery. As a slave herself, she had no say in who her “relationships” were with. She never would have been allowed to fall in love on her own.
Sexual relationships between white slave owners and their slaves were far from unknown, and women in those situations had no choice in the matter. Most of the men were even married. James, however, never married while he was owner of Belmont, and in an unusual move, he claimed every one of his children with Hannah as his own.
The Dred Scott decision in 1857 led to clashes between abolitionists and slave owners, and by 1858 James Cotten realized the nation would soon be at war. At the same time, he realized his health was beginning to fail, and he knew that Hannah and their eight children would be in great danger if he died without making provisions for them.
To that end, James freed Hannah, all eight of the children, and Hannah’s parents. He then headed toward Xenia, OH, a large station on the Underground Railroad, to purchase land and a house. He spoke to one of the residents of Xenia and hired the man to care for the property until the family could arrive.
Even though he was making plans and intended to move everyone to Xenia, James could not be certain his health would allow him to complete everything he planned. In a letter written in 1859, James arranged with his niece, Amelia Smylie Montgomery, to help him get his family situated in Ohio if he was unable to do so. He left her instructions on what to purchase for the family once they arrived, including food, horses, chickens, and household items. In return for her help, James gave Belmont Plantation to Amelia.
This quilt was designed to honor the memory of Hannah Cummings, who prepared her family to leave their lives of slavery behind and journey together to freedom to Ohio – a journey of promise and hope for a better life.
Amy Fryar Kennedy
Jesus speaks to his mother/Poetry
I chose this station because I am very touched that even in his time of suffering, Jesus is tending to the needs of his aging mom.
I have always loved the song, O Sacred Head. I rewrote this song as a tribute to my mom during the last days of her life. Her name was Sarah. She died in 2016. She had fallen a few days before she was hospitalized and she had a big green goose egg on her forehead. Her hair was disheveled. Still, as I sat by her bedside, her face was beautiful.
Mom had been through many challenges in her lifetime. Some had left scars. Still, she was not swayed from her faith and her loving ways.
To hold on to those things despite all that life throws at you, surely, that is deep beauty.
Mother with Child/Watercolor
I have been a watercolor artist and instructor for many years. It never ceases to amaze me how infinitely this medium can used to create the beautiful, the sublime, or express the emotion of each individual.
Watercolor paint and wet on wet technique and using salt and Saran Wrap applied to the paint allowed me to create this piece of Mary with Jesus. A mother’s love and nurturing in the most selfless example of caring.
FiSH Fri Families
Total Solar Eclipse/Mixed Media
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
The description of Jesus’ death on the cross in the gospels describes darkness falling over the land for several hours in the middle of the day. While we don’t know whether the darkness described was literal or metaphorical, it brings to mind a recent experience for many in our community: witnessing a solar eclipse such as the one that occurred in August 2017.
During an eclipse, the sun’s light is blocked from our view by the moon. The sky gradually darkens as the moon overlaps the sun. As totality approaches and the moon blocks out virtually all of the sun’s light, spectacular effects are created by the last few rays of light peeking through valleys on the moon’s surface and by the still-visible light from the sun’s cornea. After a brief period of darkness, the light gradually returns.
Many of us experience times of darkness in our lives, when the shadows of pain, sorrow, loss, and grief threaten to block the light of God’s love from our view. However, as with an eclipse, this is not because the light has been extinguished – it remains shining brightly beyond our view. In time, the shadow will pass and the darkness subsides. If we can keep our eyes turned toward God, we may even see glimpses of unusual beauty.
During FISH Fri we reflected on the death of Jesus, the total solar eclipse, and the hope that remains while working collaboratively on the eclipse panels over the two events using the different media available.
Graveyards in Scotland and Canada/Photographs
My emphasis in thinking about the stations of the cross was to find some hope or relief between the violence of the crucifixion and the glory of the resurrection. Specifically, I felt that Station 14 (Burial) related to peace at last in a new family tomb offered by a disciple named Joseph of Arimathea. The Burial also directly preceded the resurrection and appearance before His disciples in Galilee when Jesus stated: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
My first thoughts were images of simple wooden crosses in a Russian Orthodox cemetery in Alaska and the peacefulness and beauty of that cemetery near Ninilchik, on the way to Homer. Remembering these images, I began recalling the spiritual reflection and peace experienced in other cemeteries, specifically ancestral cemeteries in Scotland and Canada.
Because I am very interested in genealogy, the resulting composite includes selected photos of cemeteries that I and other family members have visited. These images remind me of the connection with the spirit of those who have come before us whose souls are resting peacefully with their Lord.
As written on the grave of my 3x great grandfather Duncan “the Laird” Campbell (born in Scotland and died in Canada): “Then shall the dust return to the earth and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccles. 12.7). And, on his wife Euphemia’s grave, the following:
“I leave the world without a tear
Save for the friends I held so dear;
To heal their sorrows, Lord, descend,
And to the friendless prove a friend.”
First, I learned that many people helped Jesus along the way of the cross, and Joseph of Arimathea was one. Secondly, talking to others forced me to think about my own spirituality and beliefs and how the Lord does work in mysterious ways. Finally, I was reminded of cemeteries all over the world, including those I’ve visited in Ireland. The tombstones were designed to remember individuals and, even if the name has been rubbed off or disappears due to weather, God knows who is there and watches over all of us constantly.
Resurrection Metamorphosis/Watercolor Painting
Combining the tomb, representing the death of Christ, with a message of hope challenged me. The Tuesday art group at church has been working on paintings of butterfly painting, and that gave me the idea of using butterflies, the symbols of resurrection, as my message of hope. Joseph of Arimathea has rolled the stone in front of the tomb, and is walking away in sorrow, unaware that butterflies, representing Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection, are pouring forth from the tomb behind him.
In preparation for this work, I researched Biblical tombs, Biblical clothing, and butterflies of Israel to create images for my painting.