Matthew Artwork: Lane Geurkink

The artwork for our ongoing Matthew series is by Lane Geurkink, a Denver mixed-media artist and Park Church alumni.

Why the upside down crown?

The more time we spend considering the kingdom Jesus came to establish, the more it contrasts with the kingdoms around us. In this Kingdom of Heaven, the outcasts are welcomed, the humble are honored, enemies are loved, the poor are esteemed, strangers are befriended, and the guilty are forgiven. Its King is enthroned on a cross, His victory comes through His death, and His death gives life to the world. In short, it’s “upside-down”.

To illustrate this concept, we asked Lane to paint a series of upside-down crowns. A different crown has represented each semester or “part” of the series, of which there have now been six. What started as a simple, thin crown in Matthew Part I (Spring 2020) has grown more intense and full for each new Part Starting in Part V (Spring 2022), we began to combine or “composite” Lane’s original crown paintings to keep the crowns growing, all the while seeking to illustrate that Jesus plan continues to be beyond and other than our expectations:

What do the banners mean?

For Matthew Parts I–IV, a large banner was displayed on each side of the front of the sanctuary. Lane created these banners by dying sheets of natural canvas with things like rust and indigo plants. Inspired by the abstract work of Mark Rothko, the giant “color fields” are a space to see and feel different things as one walks with Jesus through this Gospel: warmth, cold, cheer, and even confusion. These pieces stand in significant contrast to some of our past sermon series artworks where meanings have been more direct and implied. What did you see in these banners?

 

And the piece in the gallery?

For each of the 93 Sundays we’ve spent in Matthew to-date, we’ve displayed a “central” piece by Lane in the gallery. An upside-down crown is pictured off-center on a massive natural canvas, marbled with natural indigo dye. Like many of Jesus’ teachings, a complexity and a simplicity are both accessible, but the upside-down nature of His kingdom clearly stands out.

 

What are the new pieces on stage for Part VI?

We’re in chapter 20 as this article is written, and Part VI is finding us headed to Jerusalem with Jesus for what will eventually be His death and resurrection. Through the end of our Matthew series (Part IX?), the “metanarrative” of Scripture and all of history is reaching its climax in Christ.

To place ourselves within this big picture, we are re-displaying four of Lane’s paintings, originally done for a Park Church Bread and Wine event in 2014. The pieces retell this grand arc of Scripture: (1) Creation, (2) Fall, (3) Redemption, and (4) Glorification.

 

We are so grateful to Lane for her incredible work on these seven pieces and several crown paintings. Thank you for challenging us to disciple our eyes as we disciple our hearts.

Photo Credits

Photos of banners and gallery piece by Melanie Fenwick. Photos of “metanarrative” pieces are from an iPhone and not by Melanie (sorry Lane!).

Missions Partner Update: Hanna Sise (Granada, Spain)

As Jesus transforms our hearts, He also calls us into His mission to proclaim the Gospel and to be His witnesses in our neighborhoods, our city, and all the world. We were so thrilled to have Hanna Sise, a former church member who we sent to Spain, join us in-person last Sunday, September 18 to share an update and worship with us. Here’s the video if you missed it!

More about Missions at Park Church

To learn more about what’s happening in the realm of missions at Park Church, contact Andrew Goode, Formation and Missions Coordinator.

An Update on the Basement

If you’ve been downstairs at the Park Church building in the last year, you’ve noticed the plastic sheeting, the scaffolding, and the bare concrete. If you’ve asked yourself, “What’s going on here?” or, more likely, “What’s going on here and why is it still like this?”, this overdue update is for you.

What happened?

In late 2020, the lowest level of our basement—previously used extensively for classes, events, and minstries—was flooded when a sewer backed up. Everything below the Park Kids area was impacted, requiring walls and flooring to be removed before a full restoration could begin.

At first, it felt like an opportunity to improve the space. We designed a new floor plan, factored in the addition of an elevator for the rest of the building, and dreamt about rebuilding the event space into something for the broader community. Soon it became obvious that a larger giving campaign would be required to make this renovation possible. Additionally, the removal of asbestos in the flooring was loosely equivalent to money received from insurance.

Over the next year, a series of staff transitions happened (causing the project to change hands three times), our budget saw reductions, and a new event space with a significant giving campaign seemed less and less like the right thing to invest in. Now it’s late 2022, this has taken longer than we’d hoped, but we’re ready to get back to this project.

What’s the plan now?

Over the summer, we developed a simpler plan with a simpler goal: make the basement usable again. This looks like a fast, simple, and economical restoration. At some point in the future we may pursue a larger redevelopment of the space, but we don’t want to wait on the viability of that before we take down the plastic and regain use of the room.

How can you help?

Do you own or are you connected to a contracting business in drywall, millwork, trim, flooring, doors, or painting? We’re in the process of getting bids and would love recommendations from within our church body.

If that’s you, please contact John Petterson, Director of Operations, at john@parkchurch.org. We look forward to gathering with you in this space again.

Gage Family Missionary Care Trip Recap

In July of this year, the Gage family (Andy, Lauren, Annalea, Bowen, Tatum, and Flint) went to Thailand to serve missionary families at the Beyond global conference. This was the first time Andy and Lauren were able to bring their children to this conference. Additionally, the Gages were joined by Zach and Madelynne Starbeck (Park College Staff and Park Students Intern). After spending time with Lauren this week and Zach and Madelynne the week after the trip, we’re excited to share this recap of their trip with the Park Church family!

To learn more about Beyond and their conference, please see our article from Wednesday, June 15.

Early Complications Turned into Opportunities

Before this conference, Beyond had not met as a complete organization in five years. Lauren and Andy were each able to doing ongoing work with missionaries in spite of this, but the opportunity to work with them in-person at this conference was so significant. However, Beyond had also prioritized in-person elements after these five years, so the conference was especially packed with content for missionaries and families. Lauren wondered how much opportunity she and Andy would actually have to meet with people for counseling and physical therapy.

“I knew God would use our kids and the Starbecks!” Lauren shared. Adults aside, there was going to be plenty of time at the conference for community building and camaraderie between missionary kids, and this was a primary goal for the trip. Zach and Madelynne were there with the express purpose of loving on all the kids, and were given more opportunities than they probably anticipated! “People kept on commenting on them,” said Lauren. Zach and Madelynne shared about so many pool games, conversations, and exhausting times of fun with both the Gage kids and the many missionary kids at the conference.

But after only two days of the conference, a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the attendees shut down all of the programming for the rest of the event. This was a really disappointing outcome for many, but created a lot of new space for the work Lauren and Andy had prepared. “Suddenly I went from having a counseling meeting here and there to being booked back-to-back with meetings.”

A Few Stories of God’s Work

Although there is much more to share, here are some quick, specific stories of some things God did:

  • A missionary from Cambodia with a shoulder issue got much-needed Physical Therapy from Andy. She had no access to Physical Therapy in Cambodia.
  • A missionary from Egypt was prompted by a dream the night before to process specific traumas with Lauren.
  • A missionary kid loved his time of interaction with the Gages and Starbecks. He said he felt “normal” with them, which is significant for a “third culture kid” (a term that describes how children of missionaries don’t belong to their “home” culture or “field” culture).
  • Annalea Gage, on the other hand, shared how the acceptance and communal mindset of the missionary kid community was especially impactful in this place where she felt far from “normal!”
  • There are many single women in the community of missionaries at Beyond. One in particular was moved to tears simply by Lauren’s hand on her shoulder. “The physical touch of someone who is there for you like a mom or dad is a missing element,” Lauren shared.
  • Several missionaries engaged with Lauren on the basis of who they were as individuals in Christ, discussing freedom in obedience to the Lord apart from the often-celebrated numerical data (salvations, baptisms, etc).

Specific Prayers Answered Specifically

One of the key themes of the trip was how specifically certain prayers were answered. For example, the international flight with four children was a daunting way to get started. A staff member at Park Church had prayed over the Gages that their travel would simply “be easy,” and Lauren reflected that it really was. Lauren had also prayed for opportunities to counsel missionaries who were struggling in their own faith, knowing how isolating that would be as a missionary. She was able to have many such conversations with missionaries in this place.

“It kind of freaks me out. Like I could pray anything and it would happen.”

Wrapping it Up

Other moments stand out—like quality family time for the Gages before the conference, Chiangmai adventures for the Starbecks, and singing “How Great Are His Signs” (a Park Kids Club memory verse song) with their driver-turned-friend, Dom. But to wrap up, the unique opportunity for these two families to serve so many missionaries in the specific, needed ways of physical therapy, counseling, and friendship was incredible.

Going forward from here, the Gages could still use financial support for the trip. They were cleared to go only a few weeks before the event and thus had much less time than normal to raise support. To give financially, please use the button below, selecting “Support for Lauren Gage and Missions Care Trip” under “Gift Category.”

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Save Our Youth Highlight, August 14, 2022

On Sunday, August 14, we were joined by our ministry partner, Save Our Youth. Save Our Youth has been connecting young people to hope through long-term mentoring relationships since 1994, working to see every young person embrace their God-given worth.

Watch the video above or visit saveouryouth.org to learn more and investigate becoming a mentor.

Psalm 129—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Rachel Buterbaugh

Rachel Buterbaugh is a Denver native and private music teacher who has always harbored a passion for the visual arts.

Piece: Photography

“The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.” (v.3)

The picture the psalmist paints in this verse immediately jumped out at me and provided the inspiration for the main image of this piece. I knew I wanted the furrows to be actually cut into the picture instead of just drawn in, which was the jumping off point for the 3D elements. As I started to create furrows on a human back, I got to thinking about what comes later from furrows made in the ground. Their purpose is to make room for seeds in order that there might be a harvest later. In the same way, the Lord is capable of bringing great blessing out of great suffering in our lives. The image of marks on a human back also brought to mind Jesus’ scourging prior to His crucifixion, and yet, not a single drop of His suffering was wasted. Death, sin, and wickedness did not prevail against Him. On the other side of Jesus’ unimaginable suffering was unfathomable life and blessing.

Process:

This piece is paper layered on paper. There was a lot of measuring and cutting involved throughout the process (and hot-gluing for the flowers). The different ways the different types of paper reacted to the adhesive was the most challenging aspect to creating this piece, which I eventually solved by layering on yet more paper. My main desire was to represent life out of suffering, thus the flowers growing out of the furrows. I chose colors and textures that had a royal feel and suggested the future glory that those in Christ will one day experience.

Psalm 128—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: John Forney

I came out to Colorado 20+ years ago and have lived here ever since. My wife, Veronica, and I can often be found riding trains throughout Colorado with our 11-year old, Grayson. I’m a black and white photographer who enjoys using an 8×10 large format camera.

Piece: Photography

I wanted an image that conveyed blessing, fruitfulness, and family (family tree). The image I shot is from a fruit tree in a vineyard.

Process:

I used an analog process called lith printing. Part of the lure of the process is the ability to work with certain papers that have been out of production for decades. The image was taken with a lens from the 1800’s that rendered a rather soft image. The lith process allowed for a high contrast print I was looking for.

Psalm 127—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Lou Ann Summers

I am a mother of four and a grandmother of eight. I’m in love with flowers! I am also obsessed with creating things!

Piece: Acrylic

When I read the words of Psalm 127, “ unless the Lord builds the house,” I thought of the saying “a man’s house is his castle.” How fitting then is this warrior contending with his opponents. “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior… Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!” If you’ll take a close look you’ll see that this quiver has four different arrows representing our four children.

Process:

God allowed me the perfect opportunity to go and visit my sister who is a professional artist. She is my artistic hero, and I was blessed for her to “hold my hand” while I painted this picture!

Psalm 126—Artwork

Learn more about Christ in the Psalms weekly artwork and see previous pieces here.

Person: Anna Armstrong

My name is Anna, and I’m finding my way as a new mom while balancing my career and creative pursuits. These days you’ll find me drinking lots of coffee, snuggling my daughter Margot for as long as she’ll let me, and dreaming about the next mountain adventure or trip for our little family.

Piece: Acrylic

This was a deeply meaningful piece to create. I lost my brother to cancer last November and Psalm 126 was a balm to my soul as I watched his health decline. We who sow in tears will reap in joy. I wanted to create a piece that conjured the beauty that can be born from faithful suffering.

Process:

The idea for this painting came to me one day while I was on a walk. I had the image in my mind of a bountiful field of wheat held within a teardrop. As I started painting, a scene emerged that blended my image of a wheat field with an image of the meadow where we laid my brother to rest. Within the tears is a place of bounty. The process of creating this peace was a small step of healing and faith.

Beirut Bible Church Update: July 2022

On Sunday, July 17, we shared a video update from pastor Marwan Aboul-Zelof of City Bible Church, our partner church in Beirut, Lebanon. Here is that video in case you missed it! Learn more about City Bible Church at cbcbeirut.com.

More about Missions at Park Church

Contact Andrew Goode, Formation and Missions Coordinator, to learn more about what’s happening in the realm of missions at our church.