Beginning with the month of January and running monthly throughout 2020, my art (and the story behind each piece) will be published in blog format by a department of the Moravian Church in the Southern Province.
I announced this a few weeks ago. Now it is beginning to happen. This will be a history lesson of sorts, presented in a series of imaginary conversations over a cup of coffee with various men and women who influenced the Moravian Church. Time and location will run from the late 1300s in NE Europe (now Czech Republic) to the 1800s protestant mission to slaves in the West Indies and to indigenous populations of North America (specifically Delaware tribes in Ohio and Cherokee and Creek tribes in what is now Georgia and Alabama).
To find my blog, google the term "spotlight blog board of cooperative ministries" and then scroll down til you find "Coffee with Moravian Ancestors". I'll also mention this on my facebook page and might even provide a link if I can be taught how to do that. And I'll continue to announce on my website each month when I submit a new blog for publication.
For those uncomfortable with searching the web to find this information, I offer another option. I will send the monthly blogs to you via email if you send me an email request at billneeds@mindspring,com.
Regardless of how you find this blog, I hope you enjoy this format of presenting a story with my artistic impressions about spiritual development and service from the years preceding Martin Luther into the present.
The impressionistic art shown below represents the Bethlehem Chapel in inner city Prague where Jan Hus served as a priest, preached in Slavic language, painted hymns on church walls to encourage congregational singing, and dared to serve communion in both bread and wine, all forbidden by the Catholic Church.
What greater tragedy than that! Our first hours on the Galapagos Islands - our first walk among the giant Galapagos tortoises. I opened my backpack to find only an extra pair of shoes... I brought the wrong backpack!
So I began to shuffle along in a sullen walk destined only to observe and attempt to remember my impressions, while other tourists joyfully snapped away their visual record of our experience.
Finally I found a menu with a blank back page, borrowed a pen, and began sketching one solitary tortoise grazing on some of the foliage. This exercise lasted nearly 1/2 hour I think ('got lost in our time spent together) - just me and this ancient specimen of life, probably twice my age (160 years old?!), totally engaged with each other alone, away from the hustle of the other tourists.
A visit to the Galapagos Islands offers opportunity to ponder. For me, this was a lesson to stand back from the technical compulsion to snap that perfect Kodak moment and instead think about the creation story and recreation of life that occurs hour after hour, for animals and plants (and even stones as indicated by this lava rock in the middle of the Pacific), and the continual demand of nature to adapt in order to survive.
Here's my initial sketch from the back of that menu. Later I'll refine the image in a sketch, then maybe a final drawing with details.
A Blog opportunity beckons
The Moravian Church in the Southern Province has an educational wing that distributes weekly information to those who subscribe. I learned about this last year and started following it's publication.
Last Fall, they made a request for "blogs" from some of their readership. I bit.
Some of you familiar with me or my website posts know something of my Moravian upbringing. You may also recall Sara and I traveled to Europe to learn about the Roots of the Moravian Church. I occasionally post some of my art depicting scenes, real or imagined, inspired by our travels and teachings in the Czech Republic and Germany. I've concluded there is a story here to be told, and maybe the current social medium of "blogging" impressions with illustrations might be a way to tell it to Moravians, and others.
This month (January), my first blog will be published. 14 more blogs will follow throughout the year, all with related illustrations. Let me see how this starts, then I'll announce more details on my website or on email for anyone interested in following.
In the meantime, a sketch is attached to tease your interest: Greeting descendants of the Bohemian Brethren, formerly living in exile in Moravia, as they arrive in Herrnhut, Germany in 1722.
"memorial" to the old year
Happy New Year! Sara and I spent the holidays with her sister in "sunny" California. I decided to take a walk - a long walk - on New Year's Day to prepare mind, body and spirit for promises of 2020 and beyond.
Eddy and Tom live high on a cliff over looking Santa Catalina Island (yep, 26 miles away as in the old song) and Pacific Ocean beyond it. A virtual paradise.
As I began my walk along the ocean side, I approached a group of about 15 people standing in a circle around 2 chairs, one empty except for 2 fading photographs, and one filled by a older woman reading from a notebook. Behind the empty chair stood a two men, one holding a horned skeleton head and the other holding a black flag. Four other flags of different colors were positioned to mark boundaries of a circle. I stopped, removed my hat, and stood outside the circle until invited to step inside - despite being a total stranger to this Native American celebration of the life of a departed relative.
When reading ended, white doves were removed from a box. Each person who wished to participate were given a dove which, on cue, was released in a flurry to fly to a destination unseen.
I don't have words to express the meaning of that encounter for me. Perhaps this picture offers words for you. Happy New Year!