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Almost every church uses visual images in worship. From bulletin covers to banners to slides projected on a screen, visual symbols enhance our worship by appealing to one of our most impressionable senses: sight.

Visuals for Worship, a beautiful new book published by Faith Alive Christian Resources, provides a feast for the eyes and the heart. Author Elizabeth Steele Halstead created a set of original woodcuts that poignantly illustrate symbols appropriate for various seasons of the church year.

Following the organizational structure of The Worship Sourcebook, this resource includes all of the seasons of the church year as well as the various elements of a worship service, including call to worship, confession, blessing, and more. Each symbol is accompanied by a few explanatory paragraphs that make its meaning accessible to all.

Says Halstead, “My primary hope for Visuals for Worship was that I could create a set of visuals that would help the worshiper connect what is heard by the ear with what is seen by the eye during worship. Redesigning symbols was a perfect avenue for this.

“The nature of a symbol (usually based on a metaphor or motif in Scripture) is to see through the symbol to the meaning behind it. The end goal is not to focus on the image itself but through its integration into a worship liturgy, to encourage more fully embodied dialogue with God.”

So how does an artist go about the task of creating new symbols? Halstead says, “I prepared myself by reading Scripture and then supplemented that reading with prayers, creeds, and other resources to decide on a symbol for elements of worship, themes, and seasons of the liturgical year.”

The book’s editor, Joyce Borger, says Visuals for Worship can be used by congregations of any denomination. “The accompanying CD and copyright permission allows congregations to use the images in multiple ways, from PowerPoint backgrounds to art for note cards. This flexibility increases the value of the book exponentially.”

For more information or to order a copy, call Faith Alive at 1-800-333-8300 or visit its website at

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