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Admiral UCC painter's art will be in 'Seasons of the Spirit'

By Donald Schmidt

During a “Seasons of the Spirit” curriculum development event in September at Admiral Congregational United Church of Christ in West Seattle, a display of art work graced the walls of the meeting room.

Ann Bowden painting
Ann Bowden's painting of her grandson painting.

A painting by church member Ann Bowden, showing her then four-year-old grandson earnestly creating a work of art, captures the power of creation in his face, the intensity of wanting to preserve an image that spoke to his heart.

This painting, connected with several weeks of scripture readings, will be reproduced and sent to churches along with the other Seasons resources.

From its early days, the “Seasons of the Spirit” curriculum and church resource project has sought to be “grass roots.” This has taken a variety of forms over the years. Most recently with the creation of “SeasonsFUSION,” it has taken on a new persona, and Seattle experienced some of that first hand this past September.

“SeasonsFUSION” provides biblical background information, worship resources for all ages, learning “stations” for many ages, and articles, poetry and prose.  All are centered on one of the biblical texts from the Revised Common Lectionary each week. One thing that sets this apart from other church resources is that the materials are created in community, within a local church setting.

'Seasons of the Spirit' development event held in Seattle

The September “Seasons of the Spirit” development event drew churches from Canada, New York, Scotland, Australia, England and beyond.

The general editor, Susan Burt, came from South Australia, and the editor of other Seasons resources, Cathie Talbot, came from Canada, to join a group at Admiral to look at scripture readings for the summer of 2013.

Using conversation, art, questions and a hefty dose of wonderment and laughter, the group talked about meaning and mystery within those biblical texts. They asked each other:  “What the scriptures might mean today. Who might be hurt by them? What aspects of life can they open up for us? What might God be wanting us to get from these stories?”

Through that, themes and images emerged. Then, the real work began.

Contributors include Jane Sorenson and Donald Schmidt

Jane Sorenson, recent interim at Plymouth in Seattle, is writing worship resources; Donald Schmidt at Admiral is writing biblical backgrounds, and others from Admiral are writing learning stations, stories, skits and other pieces for the resource. In the meantime, members of a Church of Scotland congregation are working on another season, while a New York City congregation does another, and so on. Through  email, the materials will be sent back and forth, edited, shaped and eventually published.

Other aspects of church life found their way into the process. One key component of “Seasons of the Spirit” is the inclusion of art work that can help challenge, inform and augment our understanding of scripture and daily living.

Music is a part of the curriculum and a song from Admiral Church music director Keith Terhune will also be a part of that season.

Donald Schmidt
Donald Schmidt

Participants came away from the event excite about ways the scriptures are speaking to us today, and how the word of God in many forms —text, art, music, interaction —is present and alive in the world.

For information on “Seasons of the Spirit” and “SeasonsFUSION,” go to

Donald Schmidt, pastor of Admiral Congregational UCC in West Seattle and a former editor of “Seasons of the Spirit” and the “Whole People of God,” is one of the Partners in Education in the Pacific Northwest Conference.


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © December 2011





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