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A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of baptizing two sweet children and re-affirming a third’s baptism at Westfield. This sweet family had been visiting us for a while, then decided to join our community of faith. Soon after, the parents asked if I would baptize their youngest and eldest children. Baptisms are always cause for celebration, and celebrate we did. We sang to each child, made promises to them, and were each reminded of God’s deep and abiding love for each of us.




Each child we baptize receives a special, hand-crocheted blanket blessed by the congregation. You can see the hands of the congregation reaching up to bless the blankets.


We had planned out all the details. But, being the kick-off of fall programming, I made it to church on Sunday only to think “I should do something on the altar.”  So, along with the thousand other things to do that come with each Sunday morning (church workers–can I get an Amen?) I decided that I needed to whip something up. What I ended up using was really a combination of two other altarscapes:  The Baptism of Our Lord  from last January and The Prodigal Son.



In this design, simplicity reigns.  Simple, bold visuals communicate in a way that words have a hard time describing.



This one was thrown together quickly, but I several of my parishioners noted that it added to the service.


I started with a candlestick suitable for a pillar candle and block of wood. The block I used is also used to hold up our windows in the winter.  There’s ALL sorts of stuff in your churches that you can use to create compelling worship visuals.


I added a simple pitcher that I bought at Target three or four years ago. Since our communion table sits on the floor below the 2′ tall pulpit platform and directly in front of a rather imposing 7′ wide, 4 ‘ tall pulpit, I find that adding elements of different height into the altarscape is vital.


Next, I put a white bowl on the block of wood.


At Westfield, we’ve got two altars: one that (best I can tell) dates to the 19th century and a larger one from the 1940s or ’50s. We had the larger one out for this service, so I needed something to draw attention to the visual.  We often frame things to draw the eye to them, so I did just that–literally!

I pulled out an empty picture frame and set it on its edge.  I think it makes all the difference.



Finally, I pulled out my trusty piece of blue fabric and draped it from the pitcher into the bowl and off of the table– a simple and elegant reminder of Water of Life and the Sacrament of Baptism.


What worship visuals have you put together in a pinch?

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