Geoffrey Isley | Grantham, PA | 717-599-6819 | email@example.com
This page contains a repository of sorts of the artwork we have created at the Grantham Church. We started creating sanctuary-specific artwork at the inauguration of our annual Worship Arts Weekend in April 2004. We held these weekends in March/April each year until 2011. Some of the artworks were commissioned by individual artists for this weekend celebration of the arts, and some were created by groups of artists for a specific sermon series. Check the table below for various groupings of artwork, with diagrams, photos, descriptions, and artist's statement where applicable.
Many of the designs shown here are available for rental/or purchase a custom version scaled up or down to your unique space and church's needs. I am also happy to design something new just for you! [Banners]
During this Lenten Season we hosted a curated gallery exhibition called "Walk to the Cross" with contemporary artists presenting their unique expression of the theme Stations of the Cross.
We created a prayer walk which guided people through the stations and gave them something to study in the artwork, reflections, and poems to help them engage with the artwork, and move more deeply into the quiet of Lent.
Survey the Wondrous Cross
We hosted an art gallery exhibition of the collections of John Alan Kohan. We provided a written gallery guide that helped people understand the various crosses, and the artists who created them.
Many people “give up” something for Lent. This has become so much of a Christian cultural norm that it often loses its meaning and potential. Why do we give up TV or chocolate or shopping? It is not to lose some weight or trim our budgets. It is to make space in our lives for
Christ. Lent is a time when we allow God to peel away the layers of our outer and inner lives to reveal that which needs cleansing and refining. As we say “no” to those layers, we are enabled to say “yes” to Jesus, and allow the transforming work of God’s Spirit in our hearts.
As we journey through Lent at the Grantham Church this year, our times of corporate worship will reflect a process of intentionally removing distractions that can keep us from focusing on Christ. We’ll do this in several ways, some of which may feel familiar, and some of which may make us uncomfortable. As with any Lenten discipline, the point is not discomfort, inconvenience or pain. Rather, the goal is to help us become image-bearers of Christ, to be
transformed into His likeness and to encounter God more deeply
Another way in which our corporate worship will reflect our inner journey this Lent is through the changes that will take place at the front of the sanctuary. Plants, decorations and even some furniture will slowly be removed until only the Christ candle and crown of thorns remains. This is to signify the inner removal of those things that can clutter our hearts and minds, and distract us from listening fully to God and allowing Him room to move in our lives.
This season we created seven 3x3' foam panels with the liturgical colors of purple. The central panel features the Lenten Rose, and marks the center point of the season. Traditionally this Sunday would be a joyful worship to contrast with the others which would be more subdued. On Palm Sunday we changed it up a little to include green "palms" and then Easter Sunday the squares rearranged to form a golden cross which remained on the wall for the entire season of Easter.
The other element was the pots of "dead" branches which were switched out for bright green potted trees and palms at the end.
Lent presents us with another season of intentional mindfulness. We have more than seven weeks to prepare our hearts for the passion, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus. The banners are meant to be a visual reminder of something much larger than ourselves: we will share — as a community — the experience of taking up our
There are 40 days of fasting in Lent — the number 40 is frequently used in Scripture as a symbol of tribulation, testing, and sacrifice. Christ was tempted in the desert for 40 days: Noah and his family endured 40 days and nights of rainfall on the ark; Moses fasted on the mountain 40 days and nights while carving the tablets; Goliath
taunted the Israelites for 40 days and nights.
Symbols of Christ and his life, passion, death and resurrection fill the purple strips which are designed to represent our shared “calendar” of fasting. The white boxes are the Sun-days when we do not fast. The central Sunday is traditionally called Rose Sunday, and worship was meant to be a more joyful break from our fasting.
These banners were created in 2011 by Geoffrey Isley. In 2016, Geoff collaborated with Bonnie Prior to modify the banners and to incorporate some new elements. This year, the visual art includes dead “branches" with note cards containing the prayers of the congregation for their personal spiritual discipline and renewal in this holy season.
I wanted this image to look dry, empty, and desert-like, and the figure to show Christ walking away from us. He is intentionally headed into the wilderness for a time of temptation, testing, and fasting. The number 40 represents the concept of a long time of hardship or trial. There were 40 days and nights of rain in the Ark, 40 years of wandering in the desert, and Christ’s own 40 days of temptation. The number 40 informs our Lenten practice. Unlike the random times of wilderness that invade all our lives eventually, this is intentional. We are invited — with Jesus — into this season to find some quiet, deny ourselves something that usually brings pleasure, or identify more closely with Jesus’ sacrifice by giving generously to kingdom work. Our experiences in these “dry times” prepare us for walking compassionately with others who are experiencing their own wilderness.
— Geoffrey Isley
We purchased some digital stage lighting that we used to create the effect of light and shadow, the positive/negative space creates by the dead thorn tree branches.
This is the reverse side of the same purple Lenten panels, with gold paint and gold foil that are re-positioned to form a cross, keeping the Lenten Rose square in the center. The dead branches in the pots have been replaced with green, growing plants and fresh cut forsythia branches.
This image was created as a deliberate contrast to the desert scene we saw for the past 40 days. Full of joyful, hope-filled color, the landscape now is in full bloom. The figures walking toward the viewer could be the disciples on the road to Emmaus, just after Christ’s resurrection. I was hoping to remind us that we are not alone. Jesus is on the road with us too, and our job is to be alert to his presence and stay on mission with him as we walk bravely each new day. The artwork is a digital print on foam core.
— Geoffrey Isley
We used a design purchased by sacredartonline.com resources, using cut paper in three pieces.
Each measures 4 x 9'
Again we used the new digital lights in purple and yellow.
The Light of Christ, 2005–2008
These “Candle” advent panels hanging at the front of the sanctuary were created in 2005 as a collaborative art project by Polly McCann, Susan Getty, Bonnie Prior, and Geoff Isley.
Each candle is made up of many symbols and images which help us think about the themes of Advent as we wait for the birth of Christ. The 2005 Advent sermon series gave the theme of "the Light of Christ", so the imagery is about what His light reveals to our eyes.
These “candles” hang before a lustrous field of heavenly gold which dominates over the comparative dark of the earth. Gold, of course, is a precious metal, but its beauty also consists of its reflective quality. Light is reflected from various sources, but it always reveals something to our eyes that we could not otherwise see. This mixing of heaven and earth is what Christmas is all about!
(Shown below) The final Christmas Eve arrangement.
This series of banners was conceived as a graphic homage to classic nativity artwork and stained glass, with a collage texture to hold it all together. I found many wonderful compositions and poses among classic paintings from the many centuries of art history. Virtually every great artist was commissioned to do a nativity during their lifetime. In fact it is so popular a theme that it's difficult to create anything new with any sense of freshness about it. So, I drew visual "quotations" from these great painters and created a completely new composition with all of the figures in the "Portraits of Christmas" sermon series.
As I worked on this for several weeks, I was struck by the presence of angels in every part of this story, so I worked figures of angels into each banner. I love how God's great plan of incarnation was a surprise to the heavenly creatures as much as the earthly. I also chose to incorporate as backgrounds, a series of collages I had been working on this year. I love how this great story was recorded for us by an ancient people, and was continuously retold in many languages -- in stone, on papyrus, parchment and then paper. I layered these torn fragments with very irregular edges and beautifully- hand-penned script, in Hebrew, Greek and other ancient languages to create these collages.
-- Geoff Isley
Ancient Words, 2016
This advent a group of Grantham artists brainstormed together to create a new piece of artwork for the sanctuary based on the sermon series "Ancient Words." Pastor David gave us some of the Hebrew words he would be preaching about, and we played with visual ways to portray these prophesies. We arrived at this idea of a “word cloud.”
You’ll see a huge scroll — a section of the Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls. During the Advent season the congregation would see many words from the prophets, some complete, some were just partial words, but they would be revealed in time. And some of the words have special meaning in the Christmas story, but we are asked to reexamine how we internalize these words in light of the reality of Christ’s coming. Each week in Advent, another portion of the word cloud was painted in. Only on Christmas Sunday was the entire picture complete. As a way to emphasize the community aspect of our worship, various members helped with this painting, painting together for an hour or two each Wednesday during Advent.
— Geoff Isley, Bonnie Prior, Lynne Cosby, Gretta Owen
The Light of Advent, 2017
This advent an idea to create stained glass was floated, and at first we said, "No way, we don't have the time!" But maybe mosaic stained glass... So we put out announcements to ask for donations of windows and glass, and we started to gather each Wednesday in October and November to glue shards of glass own on the windows.
— Geoff Isley
This year we installed the stained glass windows again, but we had the time during the summer months to finish the grouting on them, so they appeared more brilliant and intense in their colors. This year it was much less time-consuming, and the congregation really enjoyed seeing the windows again. We hung them from the start of Advent until the end of January.
A number of volunteer artists joined to put the grout on, and the volunteer who created the hanging system agreed to reinstall the windows.
Our theme this time was "While We Wait: Advent for the Anxious" and our idea was to paint a simple dark night sky with stars, with the center panel's stars forming a "Bethlehem" star. At the sides we added strips of fabric dipped into dark paint to create elements of anxiety and chaos, signifying the distractions we want to overcome this Advent season. Our corporate worship times are meant to recallibrate us, remind us of our reasons for Hope in this dark season of life.
This series of five wood panels was made by Lynne Cosby, Geoff Isley, Shari Boyce, and Shirley Groff. One of the logistical elements that we overcame was the stringing of battery-powered LED Christmas lights (20 per string) and the need to be able to switch them on and off required us to splice extra length of wire on 30 strings of lights hanging hidden in the back. The other little trial was the weight of the panels required a heavier guage wire and additional hooks to adequately and safely carry the weight.
WORSHIP ARTS WEEKENDS
Worship Arts 2004
For the inaugural Worship Arts Weekend we created this series of banners, digitally printed collages containing images from scripture on the four outer panels, and a center image -- pillar of cloud-like -- depicting the fact that all our zeal for the arts comes from God Himself.
The concept for this piece was that after the season it hung in front, the side panels were cut into separate collage images and sold to community members to help fun the new gallery program.
Worship Arts 2008
This "Burning Bush" banner was commissioned by the church for Worship Arts Weekend in 2008 to celebrate the burning inspiration of the Spirit of God in the creative process. It was intended from the start to also be hung to celebrate Pentecost. It measures 8x8' and is printed digitally on a polyester mesh material.
Worship Arts 2011
This triptych banner was commissioned for Worship Arts Weekend in 2007 as a celebration of the arts and a theme of Communion. The intention was to hang it during the spring during and after that Worship Arts Weekend, and then on special communion Sundays.
The banner incorporates imagery of worship arts: drama, music, and visual arts, overlapping with the new handmade ceramic communion plate and chalice also commissioned by the church.
This measures 5x8' and is digitally printed on a polyester fabric.
SPECIAL SERMON SERIES
Roots: Exploring the Core Values of the Brethren in Christ
These four panels (4 x8') are digitally printed on foam core and mounted to the wall with small wires and hooks.
Jesus Heals was a sermon Series in the spring of 2017.
This is digitally printed on foam core, three panels (4x8")
Brick by Brick: Building the Kingdom of God, was a sermon series in 2018. This is five 4x8" panels digitally printed on foam core.
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