As we enter this season of Epiphany, we are looking for ways that God is made manifest among us. This project allows us to create a tangible and visible sign of how God's Spirit is inspiring us and calling us into the future together. I hope you might join us in creating and praying together throughout the season of Epiphany.
- Rev. Jane Gerdsen
Now that we've entered calendar year three of the pandemic, many of us are feeling weary, disappointed, frightened or frustrated. It can feel like we're wandering in the darkness, fumbling our way through yet another response to another variant. For some of us, it may feel like the "dark night of the soul."
But, perhaps poetically, like the magi following the star to Christ and the generations of humans who have navigated the seas by starlight, our own paths become clear by following the stars that shine through the night.
An art installation & spiritual practice
As Jane and I began planning the designs for the now-postponed Celebration of New Ministry, originally scheduled for the first day of Epiphany, we were drawn to the idea of guiding lights and the dreams that will guide us as St. Barnabas enters a new year and new chapter of ministry together.
Besides being Communications Director at St. Barnabas, I am a mixed media artist, and as Jane described her vision, I was struck by an image of cascades of golden stars, each representing a dream for the future.
I imagined many different pairs of hands, folding intentions into origami stars, yoking spiritual and physical, gathering in community across time and space in a common act of hope. Hundreds of these stars would shimmer together, suspended in giant mobiles designed specifically for St. Barnabas’ Great Hall.
Concept sketch for "Guiding Lights" by Stephanie Ewing
And despite the pandemic and the challenges of winter weather, together, we are bringing this dream into being.
More than 20 artists from St. Barnabas have already folded over 600 stars, made of hand-painted paper created from reclaimed bulletins.
Rev. Jane was one of the first volunteers to learn how to fold the origami stars, and shares this reflection:
Stars as spiritual reflection
As I have been folding stars, I keep noticing the names of our community members and words of our prayers in new ways. One star reminded me of the cloud of witnesses that surround us in our life of faith. Another the words of the Sanctus, holy, holy, holy - how holiness is infused in our common life.
This invitation to co-create something beautiful out of our recycled bulletins is a spiritual practice for our church. A reminder of the many ways that Christ appears to us in our lives, in our community, and in the world around us.
We need your help!
Would you like to be part of our community art project?
More than 20 St. Barnabas members have already folded over 600 stars, but we need more than 1,000.
If you would like to lend a hand, please pick up a packet of papers from the Narthex.
You can check out an instructional video on our website or get hands-on help from one of the other St. Barnabas community members who are now experienced “startists.”
Once you create your stars and drop them off in the church office by January 31, I will assemble them into the 20+ 8-foot long strands of stars that will make up the mobiles.
The finished installation will open the last Sunday of Epiphany, February 27. We invite you to come see it and leave a note about your own north star.
"Guiding Lights: A St. Barnabas Episcopal Church Community-Created Art Installation" will be on display in the Great Hall of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Ohio, beginning Sunday, February 27, 2022. You can learn more about the installation and see in-progress photos here. Admission is free.
Stephanie Ewing is an artist, writer and communications director at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. She uses paint, collage and reclaimed materials to create colorful, intricate 2D and 3D art. Stephanie loves making art that brings people together and sparks a sense of wonder. She's proud to be the 2022 Artist-in-Residence at St. Barnabas' Art Camp. Stephanie lives in Anderson Township, Ohio, with her husband, their pet rabbit and a yard full of trees and wildlife. You can view more of her art at stephanieewing.com.