This baptism banner was designed by Ardy Klassen of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was constructed with the help of some of her fellow church members — Barb Veeneman, Connie Van Dyke, and Jane Buma Haverkamp.
During each baptism service, Eastern Avenue not only displays their baptism banner but also sings "You Are Our God; We Are Your People" (Psalter Hymnal 272). The song, in fact, provided the inspiration and words for the banner.Ardy says,"The rainbow mentioned in the song was both a popular image for children and a good banner symbol for the covenant.The descending dove symbolizes the Spirit's presence at this baptism and also reminds us of Christ's baptism." The words suggest that God and people, who were far apart, are joined through God's covenant.
The first step in constructing the large banner (6' x 9') was to make a pattern. Ardy was able to do this freehand, but the rest of us might be inclined to make a sketch on a transparency and use an overhead projector to enlarge the image.
Once the pattern was drawn and the fabric purchased, Ardy got the rest of the group involved. She cut the shapes out of the fabric, making sure she left one-fourth inch around each piece for seams. The others then sewed together the fabric pieces, inserting and machine-quilting the batting material.
Because of its size, the banner was constructed in two pieces that were later joined. To support the curving shape of the banner, a light-weight metal pipe (electrical conduit) was inserted in the backing of the banner. The metal tubing was shaped into an arc with a pipe-bender.
When complete, the banner weighed about 20 pounds. Cost for materials was $35.00, and construction time totaled 21 hours.
- 3 yards of each color for the rainbow stripes: purple, red, yellow, green, and blue
- 1 yard of white for the dove
- 5 1/2 yards of light blue for backing and words
- 1 roll (large) of quilt batting
- 9 feet of electrical conduit
Ardy noted that she might someday remove the words from the banner. "Words can add further meaning," she said, "but can also restrict another person's free association of thought and therefore can be stifling." She added that although working as a group doesn't always go smoothly, working on this banner was "as spiritually uplifting as a person's reaction to the final product."
We'd like to see your banner creations. If you've done a banner that you think was successful, send us a photograph and brief description. In your description, please describe the materials you used, the total cost, and the time required. If appropriate, we'll publish the photograph and description in a future issue.