Walka Creation Centers Assembly

When we proclaim God’s love and grace, our lives begin to echo this love and grace.

June 5, 2023 |

Deacon Michelle Walka, artist, created four original 2’x6′ banners (acrylic on canvas) for this year’s assembly using the theme text, “Who do you say that I am?”: an exploration of the synod’s core values. Deacon Michelle shared an artist statement to give us a glimpse into the creative process for her work.

As I reflected on the biblical text (Matthew 16:13-20) and the synod’s core values for the 2023 NC Synod Assembly, this 4-panel banner image emerged. Each panel represents a core value of the synod, and when put together invites us to ponder our individual and communal responses to Jesus’ question to “Who do you say that I am?” In this question, I hear God’s prompting to live our faith out loud. As we profess who God is, I notice how we then begin to connect our values, actions, and being in the world. When we proclaim God’s love and grace, our lives begin to echo this love and grace. The wave imagery (connecting the four banner panels) ushers us into the movement of the Spirit and reminds us of our baptismal promises and call. The individual panels, invite us into each core value and its coinciding imagery:

(from left to right)
Panel One  seeds, space, share, enough, gratitude, moved by a Spirit wave
Panel Two the Living Word, the cross, plant growth, encompassing celestial and earth connections, connecting to living and loving like Jesus
Panel Three waves greeting one another, gradient and mixing blues and reds into purples, stars of our ancestors, plant growth, embodied and grounded
Panel 4 new day/horizons (now and not yet), fullness of God and God’s kin-dom where there is space for radical hospitality, diversity justice, healing, compassion, peacemaking, advocacy, embraced by the waves of the Spirit

About the Artist: Michelle Walka (she/her) is an artist, spiritual director, and founder of Beloved Art and Practice. She is also a rostered minister of Word and Service (Deacon) within the ELCA. As the Director of Beloved Art and Practice, Michelle leads experiences centered in creative and contemplative prayer practices; providing space to dwell deeply with our own stories while paying attention to God’s Spirit in the midst. Michelle enjoys lingering with a good cup of coffee and many outdoor adventures with her husband, Keith, and their pup, Rosie. For more
information about the ministry of Beloved Art and Practice, visit: www.BelovedArtandPractice.com.

This year’s Synod Assembly artwork is available as a giclee matte print for purchase from Beloved Art and Practice. A print of her piece from the NC Synod Assembly ’21 is available also.

To purchase notecards (set of 10 blank cards/envelopes; $20) featuring this year’s artwork panels—and to support the audacious goal of sending all NC Synod youth to the ELCA Youth Gathering 2024—send an email to Lexi Barnhill to leave your address and get payment information.


Synod Staff


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