The devotional I shared today is about my childhood experience at a church in Keezletown, Virginia. I wish I had a photo of Miss Mable and her flannelgraph. What I do have is a photo from a couple of years ago when I discovered that Miss Nancy, the Sunday school teacher for preschoolers at the church where I was Associate Pastor, employed an updated version of the flannelgraph. With a small magnetic white board and magnets placed on cutouts of figures from Bible stories, Miss Nancy was using the same teaching method as Miss Maple had. The children in her class were able to participate in the Bible stories just like I had as a child.
To encourage the children’s visual learning, Miss Nancy asked me to create a large, stained-glass-style painting for the classroom that also doubled as the “children’s church” location during worship. I chose to base the painting on the story of Jesus and the children, as inspired by the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” We came up with a way for each child in the Sunday school program to take a turn painting a section, and their names are listed at the bottom of the painting.
I love being able to use my God-given artistic talent for the church. At the end of this past June, I fully retired after 46 years in pastoral ministry. Now I have more time to pursue my two great passions: creating paintings to be used to raise funds for charities (especially those which help feed the hungry) and feeding the hungry.
This is the fourth year that I have created an original painting for the Society of St. Andrew to use as their alternative Christmas card. Through the sales of these cards, millions of servings of food have been provided. I was originally asked to produce cards for four years, but they have proven so successful that I have been asked to continue creating these paintings on a year-by-year basis for as long as I want.
Since retiring I have created six new paintings which were auctioned earlier this month to raise funds for a church ministry in Staunton, Virginia, that takes food to those who are unable to come to the church food pantry.
Not surprisingly, since I am an artist, I am primarily a visual learner. We all learn in different ways, but as children we are especially drawn to illustrations and visual presentations. I encourage every church to develop ways to involve children in visual and hands-on methods of learning.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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