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Stars stretch 60 feet across the Kirkland sanctuary

Ryan Lambert, pastor at Kirkland UCC since 2014, invited those at the service of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve to imagine themselves laying on their backs, gazing at the stars and thinking of their place in the universe.

An array of stars fill the Kirkland UCC sanctuary for Christmas Eve worship.   Photo by Ben Von Ullrich

To help with their imaginging, he, his wife Shauna, and daughters Grace, 13, and Marin, 8, had set up an array of stars hanging from tulle stretched from the balcony to a large star over the cross.

“Think of our place in the universe this holy night and our beloved place in the universe connected with the night Jesus was born,” he said.

Ryan and Shauna had seen a similar display of stars in the sanctuary at First Congregational UCC in Bellingham during the ordination of Andrew Conley-Holcomb there last year.  Ryan said that Bobbi Virta had created them for her ordination there.

Shauna, who had the vision of  how to do it, ordered white lightweight tulle, a netted fabric, to stretch 60 feet from the balcony at the back of the sanctuary to a 14-foot star over the cross.  They hung 130 gold cardboard stars of different sizes from the tulle using fish line.

“We made the star over the cross with a layer of gold fabric and a shimmering fabric over wire and lathe,” he said. “White Christmas lights hang along the side walls, adding to the effect.

“When people came in we wanted them to think of the journey of the shepherds and magi under the star,” Ryan said. 

Members were excited to see the worship space transformed, he said. The display was up until Jan. 10.

Epiphany stars stay up through the Epiphany season at First Congregational Church of Bellingham UCC  Photo courtesy of Sharry Nyberg

Sharry Nyberg, minister of Christian education at Bellingham First Congregational UCC, said their Epiphany stars were created for the 2004 ordination of Bobbi Virta, who was Christian education coordinator there for 15 years before she went to seminary.  She is pastor of the Unted Church of Ferndale.

Bobbi and her son Markus, then 16, cut out 88 stars from gold posterboard and had help attaching them with fishing line to tulle stretchesd from the balcony to the cross.

Sharry said they use them through the Epiphany season, which ends Sunday, Feb. 7. 

“Sometimes there is a little breeze.  The tulle doesn’t move but the stars sway.  The children look up in awe,” said Sharry.

Last year, the Epiphany stars were up for Andrew’s ordination and the first Sunday for Sharon Benton, Bellingham First’s new led pastor.

Bobbi said the architecture  at Ferndale is different, so members used stars they decorated and hung in the sanctuary for her installation in 2007.  Now they have 3-D stars with lights inside hanging at the front of the sanctuary.

“I like stars.  They bring the outdoors inside, reminding us of the mystery of the cosmos and our connection to each other because all beings are made of stardust,” she said.

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Copyright © February 2016 - Pacific Northwest Conference News


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