Christ Church Hosts "Drawn to the Word"

September 12, 2014

“Drawn to the Word” inspires.

Rev. Paul Oman is renaissance man of sorts.  He is a former middle school science teacher in Hopkins, a Lutheran Minister who headed a parish in rural Wisconsin, a former camp counselor who worked his way through college selling worms to local fisherman. But at his core, Rev. Paul Oman is an artist.

Rev. Paul has painted watercolors for nearly 40 years.  Within the last decade, he has paired his artistic gifts with his religious training to create a new ministry: “Drawn to the Word.” In this ministry, Rev. Paul celebrates God by telling stories through murals.

Rev. Paul’s art has told these stories in churches and community spaces all over the country and even internationally. He has spent weeks in China painting murals and teaching classes.  People are awed and amazed by his gift.

River Falls, Wisconsin dairy farmer Jim Harsdorf, commissioned Rev. Paul to paint a mural for his parents’ Lutheran church.  “Everything I knew about murals is that artists can spend weeks creating them.  What makes “Drawn to the Word” such an amazing thing to watch is that Rev. Paul created the mural in about an hour. Our whole congregation got to watch while the story unfolded on the canvas.  It is simply amazing.”

And now, Rev. Paul is bringing his gifts to Woodbury.  Christ Episcopal Church is commissioning him to create a signature piece to display in its family room as a part of its Journey of Faith event.

“We are very excited to work with Rev. Paul,” says Catherine Harrington, Christ Church member and interior designer.  “The art that Rev. Paul is creating will cap off a three-year, quarter-million dollar remodel to our facilities.”

Although Rev. Paul has worked with many denominations, this will be his first time working with an Episcopal Church.  It is fitting that Rev. Paul is doing so with Christ Church, one of the oldest churches in the state.  “Christ Church has a history of innovation and acceptance,” says Jamie Mair, longtime church member. “Christ Church has been a on a faith journey for 160 years, with diverse ministries and service to others. Our founding members would be amazed and proud of the diversity we have in our faith community now. We see hosting a Drawn to the Word service as an extension of that inclusion.” 

The “Drawn to the Word” service is not just watching a gifted artist create.  There are music and readings which help to tell the story.  In the case of Christ Church, that story is one of a journey from a large urban congregation in the 1900s, to the medium-sized suburban one today that is growing and prospering.  “The most recent chapter in our Christ Church journey included a very successful sabbatical,” according to church member Dave Leick.  “This allowed us all to evaluate our own personal journey, and we thank the Lily Foundation for making it possible.  We see “Drawn to the Word” as helping us wrap up our sabbatical and to enter our next phase refreshed and renewed.”

The Journey of Faith event is offered by Christ Church free of charge.  A free will offering will taken to benefit Canvas Health Homeless Youth Project, which strives to provide a stable housing plan for homeless youth in Washington County.

“Shoreline Splendor” a painting by The Rev. Paul Oman