Revise, Reopen

When I was growing up, my parents were for some years the directors of a camp that was maybe 45 minutes away from our house. In the spring we would pack up the family and move to camp, and at the end of the summer we would move back. Coming home at the end of the summer, we would tentatively wander through the house expecting . . . something. Even though almost everything was exactly as we left it, we still had to make sure. Like treasure hunters we’d scream across the house when one of us found a picture that had fallen off the wall or an open closet door that we were sure was closed before we left.

If there were COVID restrictions on gathering for worship in our churches, many of us feel the same way about coming back to church. What will be the same? What will be different? It has been so long!

But this might be the perfect time to make some changes—not wholesale changes to cause alarm or add to people’s anxiety, but revisions to surprise and maybe even delight.

I Did This for You

Some years ago I designed this set of liturgical paraments (hangings or ornamentation) for a collection of ideas that became a book (Come and See, Maybe dressing up the pulpit furniture would be just the thing for when people gather again in person.

The parts of this set would be used on the table for the Lord’s Supper, on the font for baptisms, and (perhaps less obviously) on the pulpit for a profession of faith.

Appliqué the individual letters to heavy poly/cotton fabric and finish with hand stitching. Even better,

find someone with a long-arm quilting machine to add the swirl patterns. Quilting adds substantial “oomph” to this design.

Every gathering of worshipers has its own character, of course, and visual artists need to respect that character. But it might be time to revise our worship spaces as we reopen them.

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at

Reformed Worship 142 © December 2021, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.