By Sue Loudon
Holmeswood Baptist Church, at 9700 Holmes Road, spent the past six months building a new sanctuary which incorporates spectacular art in the new altar, pulpit and on the walls. These works of art were created by their own church members.
One member of the church who contributed his talents is Steve Lau who designed and built the pulpit and altar. Both are built from one large walnut tree.
Running through the center of the altar is a blue “river” made of epoxy resin blue dye with pearl mica powder that was poured into a space carved into the wood.
“The mica makes it look more like water. It adds a little sparkle,” Lau said.
The same process was also used to make the cross on the pulpit he created.
Church organizers considered using traditional stained glass designs in their plans, but the cost was prohibitive. Instead, local artist Ginger Shew was hired to create a stained glass-like painting on canvas.
Two oversized wall art continues the water theme with depictions of rivers and waterfalls. Both were designed and painted by Shew, a church member who has experience painting large canvas backdrops for theater productions.
Shew created an 18-foot tall painting consisting of three panels on the north side of the sanctuary. A 10-foot tall painting over the baptistery includes a rainbow — “the symbol of hope”. “The sun is shining and birds are flying in both paintings,” says Shew. “We hope both pictures say ‘All who enter here are welcome, all are accepted…all are loved.'”
One church member, Patty Freeman, prepared an explanation of the new art for the congregation.
“The water flows from both directions and across the sanctuary to the other side, feeding both pools. The water meets in the middle at the meandering river of blue running through the surface of the altar table. A river of life that completes the circle and is thought to be one of the most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit.”