A three-piece sculpture, created by arts minister Regina Jupp, from Chicago, Ill., is on display outside the chapel where Synod 2023, the Christian Reformed Church of North America’s general assembly, is meeting June 9-15.
A plaque accompanies the pieces quoting Philippians 2:1-18 and speaks of “Christ’s humility and how his humility affects us.” The pieces focus on “the brokenness of Christ, the pouring out of himself, and the communal influence of his sacrifice.”
Katie Ritsema-Roelofs, content manager for worship with the CRCNA’s Thrive ministry, met Jupp in 2020 when the artist led a creative retreat called “Moments” for then-CRC Worship Ministries.
Ritsema-Roelofs said she got to know Jupp’s “talent as an artist, and her incredible servant’s heart.”
When anticipating synod, Ritsema-Roelofs, who prepared the corporate worship times, said she was thinking about “how to create some beauty in our space” and she immediately thought of Jupp. She said she knew Jupp’s work to be “not just ‘art,’ it’s made to help lift our hearts and our eyes to worship.”
When working on a commissioned piece like this, Jupp said she spends time generating ideas, researching, and speaking with theologians, “discussing vital elements, and testing metaphors.”
Jupp asked God for inspiration to “create something helpful,” she said. “I am very careful with my metaphors, not wanting to cause any distraction from the text, but only to amplify it in a visual way. I believe in the power of stories and the redemption of materials.”
She said she hopes that work serves as a “reminder for us to deal gently with each other—to remember the depth and expanse of Christ’s love and sacrifice. That like Christ, the way that the church interacts with itself and the world has ripples both acute and broad.”
Ritsema-Roelofs said, “I am so grateful for the care and wisdom she has put into these pieces.”
Pictures of the art were used to accompany projected song lyrics during synod. Although the artwork was commissioned for use during Synod 2023, there was a note saying the items are available for sale.
Synod 2023 is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod. Visit crcna.org/synod for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.