All Saints Liturgical Art
Liturgy is about more than words. Everything that is visible needs to communicate something of the mystery we are celebrating: the altar cloths, the vestments, the flowers, the images and furnishings, the colors of the liturgical season . . . all of these help to create an atmosphere of prayer and silently convey an invitation to worship.
All Saints’ sanctuary offers a unique and beautiful setting for worship. As worshippers enter through the narthex, they encounter the vine cross, designed by artist and All Saints member Paulette Roth. Inspired by Jesus’ words “I am the vine, you are the branches,” the vine cross also holds small banners that relate to liturgical seasons and festivals. Between the narthex and the sanctuary, a large, inviting window is framed by stained glass artwork that was part of All Saints’ original sanctuary at
The simple beauty and warmth of natural wood is a prominent feature in the sanctuary. Of special note are the chancel furnishings, the Communion Table, Credence Table and Pulpit, which were custom-designed by our architect, Steve Edwins of SMSQ Architects. The Communion Table is intentionally designed to appear less like a sacrificial altar, and more like a simple table where a family gathers to share a meal. The two tables and pulpit each have rows of rectangular openings that imitate the windows across the front of the sanctuary, so the furnishings themselves reflect a sense of openness and accessibility, reminding the assembly that all are indeed welcomed by God’s grace.
The tile mosaics at the south end of the sanctuary were designed by liturgical artist David J. Hetland, and were assembled, “tile by number,” by All Saints children and adults, primarily during summer Arts Camps in the mid-1990s. The images include several biblical themes that relate to worship, music, and the Christian faith: the birth of Christ is shown in the image of the manger lit by the star, and Christ’s death and resurrection is represented by the image of the three crosses. Christ’s welcoming attitude toward children is reflected in the images of children who are dancing, singing, and playing instruments, just as they might do in All Saints’ Arts Camp and music ministry. The scriptural quotes and paraphrases are from various Psalms, and these statements encourage each of us to join wholeheartedly in the church’s worship: “Sing a New Song,” “Praise God in His Temple,” “Praise His Strength,” “Praise His Name Dancing and Singing,” and “Make a Joyful Noise.”
David J. Hetland (1947-2006) was a nationally recognized and award-winning artist from Fargo ND, who was known particularly for his liturgical works in mosaic and stained glass, which can be seen in churches and colleges across the nation. For many years, he designed the magnificent Concordia College Christmas Concert Murals. He believed liturgical art enhances worship, interpreting the wonder and struggles of faith in a visual vocabulary of color, light, symbol and story-telling illustration:
“Not all of us are verbal people. Not all of us get everything we need to know from the sermon on Sunday morning. That’s why the stained glass and the sculpture and the architecture of our worship spaces are important. The artist acts as an interpreter of concepts that are difficult. We are asked to deal with issues of faith and grace and forgiveness, so I took it upon myself to learn how I could help communicate those things. Christ had the same problem in his journey, and so he resorted to parables. I refer to my liturgical artworks as visual parables.”
Designed and built by artist Kirk Headley, the stunning All Saints Cross is a one-of-a-kind work of liturgical art, and is a fitting central focal point for the sanctuary. It was designed to coordinate with the existing processional cross with its curved, flanged end points and cut-out cross section. It also coordinates with the Holy Spirit dove suspended above the baptismal font.
The center of the cross is made of wood overlaid with copper leaf. The center copper is variegated, representing the mystery of our Lord. The center is also anchored by four symbols, representing the traditional icons of the Four Evangelists, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, who revealed Jesus Christ to us through the Bible. The Four Evangelists have historically been associated with the four "living creatures" who surround God's throne in Ezekiel and Revelation.
¨ Matthew is represented as a human or an angel, and the theme of his Gospel focused on the manhood of Christ, beginning with the genealogy of Christ from Abraham.
¨ Mark is represented as a lion, with the theme of his Gospel focused on Christ as king, beginning with John the Baptist roaring like a lion in the wilderness.
¨ Luke is represented as an ox; his Gospel focused on Christ's sacrifice and priesthood, beginning with Zacharias in the temple.
¨ John is represented as an eagle, and his Gospel focused on Christ's divinity, beginning with Christ as the very Word of God.
The Cross was created by carving the individual shapes out of styrofoam, molding those shapes with silicone, then casting each piece with clear acrylic resin. All the pieces were then glazed with a glass varnish, and the edges were finished with a gold patina wax rub.
The beveled edges were designed to catch the play of light and define the shape of the cross, while the clear interior shapes transmit the background color of the seasonal liturgical banners behind it, thus enhancing the visual impact of each changing church season. The shadow of the cross refracts the light onto the colored banners, producing an effect similar to a pool of water.
THE BAPTISMAL FONT AND HOLY SPIRIT DOVE
The baptismal font was designed by local architect Jim Roberts of Roberts Jones Associates, and the Holy Spirit dove was created by professional artist Kirk Headley. The font and dove have a visual link with the heavens, and convey a strong sense of animation and life as the Holy Spirit descends from the light of God above (represented by the skylight).
The wings are swept forward to cradle the newly baptized and wrap them in God’s holy love. The copper double helix with blue "droplets" represents water drawn up from the font and over those who are gathered in worship, reminding us of our own baptisms and new birth through Christ.
The body and wings are constructed in three parts, referring to the Trinitarian nature of God. This also gives the appearance of motion, and the dove appears differently depending on where you are in the sanctuary. It is a modern interpretation, a more bold and dynamic representation of the Holy Spirit than some traditional dove designs. The dove is intended to be somewhat translucent in form and concept - not easily grasped or understood.
The dove was created in a similar fashion to the cross, with the forms carved out of styrofoam, molded with silicone, then cast in clear acrylic resin. The water droplets are also cast resin with colored pigments added. Each also has an iridescent glass glaze which catches the light as each droplet spins slowly on its single thread. As the light comes through the windows in the early morning and at sunset, these pieces actually reflect the sunlight and spread it throughout the sanctuary in an amazing display.
Kirk Headley is a professional artist who works in a wide variety of artistic media. Kirk and his family were All Saints members for several years before moving to
The memorial artwork by Timothy R. Botts, one of the premier calligraphers in the world, has found a perfect home in our narthex. The message contains a prayer written by Episcopal Bishop Thomas Ken first published in 1674. Bishop Ken was also a poet and hymn writer, the author of “Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow” and many other hymns. His prayer reflects the mission of all churches, and the artist adds an appropriate welcoming message to all who enter God’s house.
Following is the artist’s description:
“My approach to calligraphy is to make the words look like what they mean. So I enjoyed matching various styles of our alphabet with the mood of each phrase: the generous opening statement in the broad fifth century Uncial, the narrow words in first century Rustica, the words about children in the highly legible 15th century Humanist Bookhand, the defensive text in the dense 20th century Neuland, and the final triumphant line based on 16th century Batarde.
It is humbling to me as a calligrapher to have learned over the years that pictures, even more so in the 21st century, communicate the best. So the images of the cross, star, shield, gate, hands and key all reinforce visually these same phrases.
The final welcoming verse from
The mural is a memorial gift commissioned by:
Pastor Joe & Paula Dillon in memory of Paula’s mother, Dorothy Gunovich
Robyn & David Skramstad and Carole Becker in memory of son and grandson, Jeremy Skramstad
Jacque Bird and Helen Treese in memory of daughter and Godchild, Kristin Bird