Uplifting History: Church plays host to exhibit of inspiring artwork

Published on Friday, 8 November 2013 21:49 - Written by By Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

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Sketches in the foyer of St. Louis Baptist Church give visitors and members an inside look at the church’s progression and history.

In one sketch is a brush arbor dating back to the 1800s, and another sketch shows a building under construction in the 1950s.

Griffin Elementary School attendance clerk Vikki Williams said she was asked to do the sketches, and began to work on illustrations that would show the church in different eras.

“What it did to me is it brought back our (African American) heritage and where we came from,” Ms. Williams said.

For longtime member Wilburn Criss, 81, “it means just a lifetime of joy.”

Criss recalled a time when people could hear singing as they came toward the church, Another member, Naomi Gossett, 73, recalled her baptism. She said the church is where she received her background.

“It means a lot to me. This is my home church,” Ms. Gossett said as she stood by the sketches.

The sketches are only some of the art pieces displayed throughout St. Louis Baptist.

On one wall is a painting based on the poem, “Footprints in the Sand.” The painting depicts the Lord carrying someone through a storm, the Rev. Ralph Caraway Sr. said.

“A storm is taking place in the background, and at the same time, there’s the significance of being carried,” he said.

In the women’s lounge is a painting titled “Crowns of Glory — Lift Him Up.”

The painting depicts a “jubilant church service,” Caraway said.

Among the other pieces in the church is a picture of a family, another picture titled “Take it to the Lord III,” and a picture titled “Lord Build This House.”

Caraway said “Lord Build This House” shows a congregation praying under a church, and was given to the church in connection with its building drive.

“The pictures that we have are positive pictures showing our respect and admiration of the Lord,” he said.

The church also is trying to give a positive perspective on African American history, Caraway said, and teach about generations of faith.

Overall, “it shows we are serious about our faith…” he said. “We try to display that where it can not only be felt and seen, but experienced.”

Caraway said the church will mark 128 years in the community this month.

“We try to be pretty involved in the community. Our objective is to be that beacon light,” he said.