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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Paintings for all church seasons

Liturgical calendar inspires art project

It was an ideal fit. Megan Sawyer needed to complete her senior thesis art project. And her congregation had empty frames hanging in its sanctuary. Reflecting on these things during communion at Antioch Lutheran Church, Farmington Hills, Mich., an idea struck her. What if she made a series of paired paintings (also referred to as diptychs) that reflect the colors and themes of the church's calendar?

"I was going through the entrance process for seminary (she begins at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago this fall)," Sawyer said. "I had been putting more religious motifs and themes into my work. And for my thesis at the University of Michigan (in Ann Arbor), I could pretty much do what I wanted.

"I asked Pastor (Donald) Kreiss, who now is (Southeast Michigan Synod) Bishop Kreiss. He liked it, and said it just needed to be removable. That's when I got the idea to incorporate the church seasons."

Megan Sawyer stands next to her work
Megan Sawyer stands next to her work for her senior thesis at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She gave the paintings to her congregation, Antioch Lutheran, Farmington Hills, Mich.

But she was stuck on exactly how to do that. Months of sketching led to several dead ends. Then she came across Isaiah 9:2: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined."


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