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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Wet paint

Congregations share their artistic talents

Youth find that a little paint goes a long way in adding color and meaning to people's lives.

The seventh-grade confirmation class at Grace Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa, painted a wall mural at Bethany for Families and Children, a local adoption agency. Each student painted a kite amid clouds on a sky-blue wall.

"The wall was kind of boring, and it turned out really cool," said student Julie Barr. "We left our mark, and I think it brightens things up for families who are waiting for help [at the home]."

At St. John Lutheran Church, Waukon, Iowa, wet paint was the beginning of a memorial to honor Melanie Sanderson. The education wing's top floor was the only area that wasn't easily accessible to Melanie, who was born with spina bifida and used a wheelchair. So Room 13 became the eighth-grade classroom. When Melanie unexpectedly died in spring 2001, her classmates turned Room 13 into Mel's Room.

The group painted the lower half of the walls lavender, Melanie's favorite color, and biblical murals on the top. They also added the words of the Ten Commandments and Lord's Prayer to the walls.

Money for the project came from a bake sale and a jar that was placed in the church for donations. More than $500 was collected to buy window blinds and a white writing board. The church also bought tables and chairs for the room, which was ready in time for Sunday school in the fall.

At St. James Lutheran Church, Burnsville, Minn., the adults are the ones who get to dip into paint jars. For 26 years the congregation has given out "Peter Pebbles" to Sunday school students who memorize prayers, Scripture passages, the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments. The flat stones are painted with nature scenes, cartoon characters and graphic designs. Each carries a Bible verse.

The program is popular with the children, who get to choose the pebble they want. The stones have been taken to "show-and-tells" at school. They've been displayed at confirmation and graduation open houses, in college dorm rooms and on office desks.


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