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Teenaged Artist Ministers in Senior Church

by | Dec 13, 2016 | West District Web Page, West District Newsletter

Sierra Noel was on a family vacation when, without really thinking, she picked up a pencil and began to draw cartoon characters from her cell phone. Those around her marveled at how she could so accurately draw a full page picture from a tiny image on a cell phone screen. She didn’t think anything of it. She just assumed that “everyone” could do it. When she was told that, no, not everyone could do what she was so easily doing did she then begin to look at her talent in a new way. She continued drawing, challenging herself with more complicated designs and looking to expand her horizons.

It appeared that the 14-year-old high school freshman had inherited some of her grandfather’s art ability. Rev. Steve Marshall is well known in the Northwest Phoenix area for his “art sermons” in which he creates a large pastel painting in the course of preaching a sermon.

Although Willowbrook UMC is in a retirement community (and the average age is mid-80’s), Sierra began to attend the new Mosaic service, serving as an usher, acting in skits and watching her grandfather’s art sermons with renewed interest.

It wasn’t long before she asked if she could do a pastel painting for an art sermon. Sierra set up a studio in her bedroom and spent her spare time at her easel learning the techniques of painting with pastels. It was readily apparent that she had the skill to do a simple art sermon pastel painting. Steve selected a simple design and scheduled her to be a guest artist for the Mosaic service on Sunday, January 1, 2017. The theme is a celebration of Epiphany and the artwork would be that of three wise men on camels following the star at night.

Although Steve does the entirety of his art sermons – preaching the Word and then painting while prerecorded music plays – he knew that he still needed to be the “voice” of the sermon. Sierra would paint as he preached and then continue through the music portions.

You are invited to Sierra’s premiere as guest artist at Mosaic on Sunday, January 1 at 11:00 AM at Willowbrook United Methodist Church,19390 N 99th Ave, Sun City. Check the church’s website at www.willowbrookumc.org for more information.

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Author: Carla Whitmire

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