Artists provide unique worship experience

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WBC delegates experience faith through visual art.

Artists demonstrate the way in which painting can be integrated into worship at the Western Bible Conference.

As the music began the smell of paint filled the air. Color splashed across blank canvas and art began to emerge. Can painting be a form of worship? Those in attendance at the Western Bible Conference would say yes.

On the first full day of the WBC, five artists from King’s Harbor Church in Torrance, Calif., led by New Frontier Art Director Kevin Dobruck, created paintings based on the theme of the conference—“Refresh.”

Working during the worship portion of the morning meeting and continuing throughout the day the painters, Michelle Ackerman, Nancy Detjen, Carole Gooch, Risa Reeves and Dobruck, presented five distinct views of the theme—some abstract, others representational and realistic.

The concept of visual arts in worship goes back to Exodus 31 where the plans for the tabernacle are revealed to Moses. God says he has given Bezalel and other craftsmen—or artists—the talent and ability to create beautiful works of art to be used in worship.

The goal of art in worship is to reflect God’s creativity and draw the viewer to a deeper experience of faith.

Artist Carole Gooch shared with WBC delegates that this was what God had created her to do. “When people ask about my paintings I can easily turn the conversation to God. He is the one who gave me the talent and he paints through me,” Gooch said.

Upon entering the hall for the evening meeting delegates were struck with the beauty and variety of the completed paintings. Team members were given the opportunity to say a few words about how visual art and faith are integrated in their lives.

Artist Nancy Detjen encouraged delegates to step out and try new things. “I am a retired high school principal and have only been painting for four years,” she said. “If God can use me, he can use you.”

The finished works remained on display throughout the conference. All five were donated to The Salvation Army—four sold in a silent auction at the conference. Territorial Headquarters purchased the fifth and will display it to commemorate the inaugural WBC. All proceeds benefited World Services.

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