Cardiphonia, a department of Artists in Christian Testimony Intl.

Brentwood, Tennessee
2021

Project Director: Anna Gabhart

To curate art and liturgy into an experience of Stations of the Resurrection that will promote a deeper engagement with the season of Eastertide and the grace of Christ's resurrection.

Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant. 

Our goal is to better celebrate Eastertide by creating liturgical resources using visual art, written liturgy, and music. We are journeying, with Jesus, through the Stations of the Resurrection. These stations and encounters are infiltrated with light, hope, salvation, restoration, renewal, and life. The goal is to invite a diverse group of artists to sit with one (or more) of the stations (passages in scripture) and create, to walk with Jesus through these last earthly encounters. Then, to offer this art as a resource to individuals and other churches to continue to use year after year in their own unique ways. 

What questions have you asked about worship in the past year? 

  1. What are the most effective ways to help individuals/congregations engage visual art in the context of worship?
  2. How do we tell the story of the resurrection well based on what we know from scripture and our own artistic narrative? (We asked this question in the context of choosing and assigning different stations to the artists involved.)
  3. Why, in our tradition, does it seem easier or more natural to be in lent and advent (more somber seasons) than celebratory seasons?

In what ways has your project engaged your congregation so that it impacts the worship life and habits of the congregation? 

We have engaged our congregation by creating an Eastertide resource. Our main event was a gallery displaying the 14 stations of the resurrection. The event had live music, paintings, digital design, printmaking, photography, and textile art. We also wrote a booklet with liturgy to meditate on as you walked through each of the stations. We have had questions such as, Will you display this at other churches? Can we use these songs, liturgy, and artwork in our own churches? Also, that the evening mirrored the excitement (food, people engaging), confusion (music playing alongside conversations, a maze of artwork to maneuver through), and bright hope (community gathered and celebrating after a very hard season). The Spirit was at work! 

What criteria have you used to evaluate your plan to foster vital worship? 

We based our plan solely off of scripture, letting each individual artist interpret their passage as they felt led. 

We observed how many people showed up to our celebratory Eastertide event/how many artists agreed to participated. 

We evaluated by the quality of work that we received from each artist. 

We asked a geographically and artistically diverse group of artist to participate. 

At our event, multiple communities were represented. Different church leaders and congregants, Hope College and Western Theological  

Seminary, and other community members who were just curious and passing by.  

We have also been very intentional throughout the process. It has been a collaborative effort involving retreats, workshops, and routine check-ins. 

What issues have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)? 

One of our biggest challenges has been coordinating a large group of people from all over the country. It has even been challenging coordinating those of us within the same community. At the beginning of the grant, we had a wonderful brainstorming retreat where we came up with lists of ideas for this project. However, the reality is that we only have so much time, energy, and resources to follow through with all of those ideas. 

What would you like to share with other Project Directors? 

I would tell them that it is so important to delegate upfront. This was our plan all along, but it really takes intentionality. It’s a big job, and so much better and more fun with the help of others. Also, choose your co-director wisely, someone with a different skill-set than you.