The Women in Ministry Painting Series
~Embroidered Art by Liz DeBraber~
From 1999 – 2004, artist Liz DeBraber envisioned a project celebrating women in ministry. She envisioned and gave birth to ten paintings each celebrating women’s roles in church leadership. The paintings represent a balance of female and male expression by combining portrait paintings, (historically done by men) with words and embellishments embroidered onto the canvas (typically a woman’s art). This rare and unique combination adds significantly to the small body of work depicting women in ministry.
“When I look at my paintings, I wonder who will be touched by them and what they will mean to other people. I hope my art will encourage people to look around them and see the beauty in one another.” —The artist Liz DeBraber
Wisdom ~ Mother Clara Woodson~
This painting of Mother Clara represents the wisdom that women not only give to each other, but the deep wisdom that women have to give to the world.
The work of a Chaplain involves caring for the least of these, often in a hospital setting. Here a hospital chaplain is depicted as going through an unconscious patients jeans pockets to determine more about them and how to best care for them.
Spiritual Guidance ~Rev. Sharon Nelson Arendshorst~
This painting of Rev. Sharon depicts women’s work of Spiritual Direction, which often asks the questions about the deepest and most profound parts of our human existence and our relationship to God.
Preaching ~Rev. Victoria Menning~
This image of Rev. Vicki illustrates women’s work of Preaching. While the sermon is seen and heard only for a short time, it reflects women’s many hours of deep study and prayer over God’s message for the people under our care.
Justice ~Rev. Charlotte Ellison~
This image of Rev. Charlotte Ellison depicts women’s work for justice. Often it is the women who stand with the marginalized and those who are locked out of equal opportunities. We too know the deep hurt of misogyny and the pain of exclusion.
Rev. Char currently serves as the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Albion, Michigan.
Baptism ~Rev. Diane Maodush-Pitzer~
This image depicts the Rev. Diane baptizing the artist’s daughter Anna. The promises of the congregation to the child are much like the promises made by adoptive parents, committing to love and raise the child as their own in the family of Christ.
Nurturing Children ~Blanche Svendsen and Liz DeBraber~
This painting is from a photo from Liz’s childhood. Written on the back of the photo is; “Elizabeth with Auntie Blanche, the Sunday School Teacher whom she loves.” The daughter of an Reformed Church in America minister, Liz spent many hours in church, “Usually drawing on a bulletin.”
Music ~Beth DeJong~
This painting depicts the artist’s mother, Beth DeJong at the organ. Women often bring their extraordinary range of musical gifts to the leadership of music in congregational worship.
Communion ~Rev. Kama Jongerius~
This painting depicts Rev. Kama breaking the bread of communion during worship. Women’s traditional role of providing and sharing food to their families naturally extends to the communion table where women invite people to share in the feast of God.
Sabbath ~Rev. Marti Reinstra~
While women are very good at ministering to the needs of other, they also need to minister to themselves. The practice of sabbatical, of rest and replenishment is critical to the church to ensure continued healthy leadership .
About the artist, Liz DeBraber in her own words:
“I do mostly acrylic or oil on canvas. My art reflects what is important to me —people and my relationship to them, so I do a lot of figures and faces with intense
colors and undulating lines. I try to bring out the hope, beauty and truth of being human. The actual act of painting is an intensely personal expression. I feel that I am living in the moment, honoring my past and giving hope to my future.”
“My maternal grandfather was a painter. He especially loved to paint pictures of the ocean. When he passed away, he left me all of his art supplies as a last
encouragement. Embroidering on canvas honors my paternal grandmother, who taught me needlework when I was a child.”