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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Dressing space & servants

Women bound by friendship lift liturgical arts

As a child, Anne Anderson was shaped and tended by life on an Illinois farm and a grandmother who sewed. Today, Anderson shapes and tends textiles that she hopes bring people closer to God.

"When we surround the word with the arts, often people are touched more deeply than by words alone, and strong visuals are a part of this," she said.

Anne Anderson works on her craft in
Anne Anderson works on her craft in her Forest City, Iowa, home. She and two other artist friends—and countless more throughout the church—use their gifts to dress the chancel and those who serve.


Anderson, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Forest City, Iowa, and two kindred spirits in the Midwest have created livelihoods making paraments and banners for worship spaces, and albs and stoles for pastors.

The second artist is Jeanette Paulson, who has been in this business for more than 28 years. She has apparently been asked "Do you have any other hobbies?" so many times she lists her answer under the frequently asked questions on her website: "It's not a hobby. It's full-time work. I buy groceries and pay the mortgage with my income."

Paulson, a member of First Lutheran Church, Duluth, Minn., also contends: "The use of the arts in worship isn't a luxury. Unless we use our creative gifts to the fullest, our praises to God the Creator will fall flat."

An artistic childhood is what led these two, and the third, Chillon Leach, a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., into liturgical arts and friendship.


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