How do you create 30+ banners that will be shared as gifts for sister churches more than 8000 miles away from your own? Carrot Top Studio was approached by the Malawi Partnership from Pittsburgh Presbytery with just such a prospect. The challenges included designing a visual message that represented both Pittsburgh, PA and Malawi, Africa, creating many identical banners that would travel easily, and doing the project as financially frugally as possible...all in six months!
|The original design.|
First, our studio designed the banner as seen at right. The official description is: The Holy Spirit (the dove) and our faith in God (the Bible and cross) bridge the partnership between the church in Malawi (baobab tree) and in Pittsburgh (three rivers) as we work together to be mutually encouraged by each other's faith (Roman's 1:12). The bridge and the rivers together also make the shape of a sun. Artistically the sun can be used to represent the 'son' who died for us all.
It was agreed that the most frugal way to create the banners was in the tradition of an old fashioned quilting bee. Carrot Top Studio was able to then step out of the project and turn it over to very capable hands. A lead seamstress was identified and the word went out to sewers in the community of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. One of the wonderful things about this gathering was that it allowed people that are passionate about this partnership but weren't planning to travel to have a creative way to participate and be supportive. Why else should churches create in community?
- sharing a common interest and goal allows everyone to be accomplished in the project,
- the work atmosphere promotes creativity and Christian fellowship,
- everyone brings their unique talents and abilities and this fosters a positive learning environment.
The banners needed to not take up much suitcase space or weight. As you can see here their 3 x 5' size folded into a neat little package!
The partnership travelers have now traveled half way around the world and back home again to Pittsburgh. I am just starting to learn their stories of what it was like to be mutually encouraged as we all walk together in faith. And there are now banners in the partnership churches....a visual reminder of friendships and our faith to be used when the people in Malawi gather together to draw closer to God in worship.
|a detail....with scripture in Chichewa and English|
|Presentation of a banner in Malawi|
So why do we share all of this? Because sometimes banners (or even a single banner) seem like too big or scary of a project. Let this example of one person having an idea and networking with others that had specific talents show you how a goal can be well met. I write this to encourage you!
*an interesting fact...when the Malawians visit Pittsburgh they are enthralled by the vast amount of bridges this city has....so it was doubly fun to use the 'bridging' theme in this design!*