The Bible in Pictures
An Artistic Representation of the Bible Coming to Southland Community Church
Writer / Johnette Cruz . Photographer / Chris Williams
Southland Community Church is in the midst of an amazing project – a project that combines artistry, biblical accounts and storytelling that will be coming to life through paintings. Back in 2012, Steve Schellin, senior pastor of Southland Community Church, met Edward Patterson, a gifted artist. He explains a little further how this idea came to fruition: “Edward stopped by the church one day, introduced himself and told me about his vision for painting a Bible series. After speaking more in detail, we decided to form a partnership,” says Pastor Steve.
“Edward presented his ideas for the first three paintings. Our elders loved it, and off we went. It’s been great getting to know Edward personally and watch his talent being shared with the people of our church.” Patterson does not only have a passion for sharing his gift with others but a true, genuine love for his faith. “I was inspired by God for this project. It’s a culmination of my art, and I’ve been continually painting angel scenes that have provided inspiration towards this project,” says Patterson.
“There is definitely something different about having a visual representation of the Bible. People go to church, and they hear about the Word of God and read about the Word of God. I wanted them to SEE the Word of God face to face depicted in these paintings.” Pastor Steve agrees with Patterson’s view, saying, “Edward is exactly right…when people SEE the Word of God, they more readily remember the stories. This is especially true with children.”
This ongoing project was created to point people to Christ and share an interesting way to communicate the Bible to others in the Center Grove community. “We want to convey the message that God loves us and wants to bless the lives of those who trust in Him,” explains Pastor Steve. “I hope the community discovers new things about these stories that they never understood before. Also these paintings show how people can come together to make truly beautiful things!” Patterson echoes Pastor Steve’s notion of sharing the love of Christ to the community as a whole. “I want the people of Center Grove to see the stories of the Bible from Genesis through the resurrection!”
There have been many insightful, thought-provoking conversations and ideas taking place as the project advances in stages, and Patterson has invited several along for the ride. A number of people from Southland Community Church and area residents are also helping with the paintings. Patterson is teaching them his painting method, and they are contributing a great deal, so this project is truly a community-wide effort.
In terms of the identities of the paintings, both Pastor Steve and Patterson wanted to interpret 12 different stories of the Bible into paintings that will be framed, displayed and live in a hallway at Southland Community Church called The Story Avenue. The stories that were chosen represent the overall message of the Bible. Once Pastor Steve agreed on the Scriptures related to the story, Patterson then shared his vision for the paintings. “We have worked together to make sure Edward’s artistic vision has stayed true to the Scriptures,” explains Pastor Steve. “He’s done an amazing job capturing every story.”
So far, Patterson has been able to complete three panels. Each one is 6 feet x 8 feet oil on canvas, painted using only the primary colors of red, yellow, black and blue. Patterson gives us a better picture of the three he has created thus far:
1. The Garden and Eden: this depicts the conversation between God and Adam and Eve while Eve is shocked and Adam defends their actions to God.
2. Noah: this painting shows the calm before the storm, wrangling the animals to board the ark.
3. Parting the Sea: illustrates Moses encouraging others to follow him into the rampant sea.
The expected completion of this project will be December 2016. Pastor Steve is excited about how this new venture will unfold. “When we complete the entire 12 painting series, we want to have a show and invite the entire community at large to see the finished product.” As for Patterson, he will continue to use the gifts he’s been given to glorify God. “I will always move forward with what God inspires me to do,” says Patterson boldly. “Being able to share His message with others is the purpose of this project, and I’m thrilled to be able to work with Pastor Steve on something that can give people a better understanding of how God works in the lives of so many.”
About Southland Community Church
Located at 5800 W. Smith Valley Rd., Southland Community Church offers services for those of all ages, including worship services, Bible studies, groups and more. Their mission is “Being and making growing followers of Jesus Christ.” To learn more, go to southlandchurch.org or email Senior Pastor Steve Schellin at email@example.com.