By Kimberly Jenne
The community of Webster Hills recently unveiled a series of heraldic processional banners representing each of the seasons in the Christian liturgical year crafted out of repurposed chapel pews and designed by the community’s young people.
Since last year, the church near St. Louis has been lead in worship by a growing group of student deacons, students ranging in age from sixth grade through college. The student deacons help lead the community in worship, as well as offer ideas for making worship more experiential. One idea came while preparing for worship and discussing the emphasis on the Christian liturgical year.
“I asked Pastor Kim why we don’t make a bigger deal out of the changing of the [Church] seasons?” said eighth grader Ashley Davis. “I thought that our processional cross might bring more attention to it.”
The idea for the heraldic banners was born. Working with wood artisan and church member, Dave Wichman, the students designed a set of banners to emphasize each liturgical season. Using repurposed wood from the original chapel, Wichman crafted a set of wood heraldic banners to signal the coming liturgical season. One side of the banner replicates the wood designs found on the church front doors.
The other side displays another symbol specific to the season: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Ordinary. Wichman also carved a Chi Rho processional cross and designed a staff that includes hand-painted Chrismon and the Twelve Apostles’ symbols. The student deacons are able to sign their names onto the staff in permanent ink, thereby becoming a part of the design.
“I thought the students’ idea was impressive,” said Dave Wichman. “I was glad to be a part of such a creative way to celebrate the church and teach others about our traditions.”
The entire experience has provided learning for the student deacons and the entire community. The deacons researched symbols of the seasons and voted on the designs. The banners are on display with a “legend” describing the symbolism on each one. During the design process, the students visited Wichman in his studio and learned how the banners were created.
“I had no idea how much time he put into making them,” commented freshman, Tommy Lundt. “I think he did a nice job. They are well made and pretty heavy.”
Webster Hills United Methodist Church is a multi-generational blended family of God’s people who share faith and life together. In our efforts to create disciples for Jesus Christ, we hope to change hearts for God by bringing all to know, serve and share Jesus Christ with the world. Our community has been a prominent landmark on the corner of Berry and Lockwood since 1932. Learn more about us at www.websterhillsumc.org.