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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Art for worship

Spirit-led, community fed

This isn’t just a story about an artist who does great art for churches. It is that, but it’s more.

It’s a story of how one artist, Anita Miller of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio, involves the community in the planning and making of liturgical art. Most of all, it’s a picture of how art can be “liturgy” in its original meaning: the work of the people.

While Miller paints pieces as an individual artist that bear her signature, she sees liturgical art as “an opportunity to reflect the needs, the character and the mission of the congregation, not the character or the particular beliefs of the artist.”

Miller has designed or co-designed dozens of pieces at Gethsemane over the years, many of them three-dimensional. Fredrick W. Wiese, former pastor of the congregation, remembers them as “transforming that space into something very different and special.”

The artist uses many media and materials: painted pieces of paper suspended from a fishing-line grid strung on a wooden frame; painted panels covering the low, white wall behind the altar; painting on silk; or drawing in chalk on pavement where the brazier for the Easter Vigil fire will stand.


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