Archive for November, 2009


Painting Photos Uploaded

Matt began his Advent painting tonight at the evening services at UPC. The feeling in the room was electric. Matt painted and chatted with people who stopped to watch or passed by. Make sure you catch Matt in action sometime this advent. Check out Matt’s progress from tonight by clicking on the link below.

Click here to see the rest of the pictures



From the Pen of the Artist: Entry IV

So, this is not the most traditional Advent image. There are no Christmas trees or manger scenes playing out. No religious iconography in a traditional sense. UPC has allowed me to meditate on the sermon themes and to come up with my own imagery, as opposed to commissioning something specific. We use and are comforted by the rich tradition of artworks and images that past believers have created. However, Christ tells us in Mark 2:22 that “no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” I believe that our tradition helps us, but that faith must be examined and reexamined anew in each of our lives, and thus it is proper and necessary to create new imagery and new artwork that reflects this. God spoke to believers in Christ’s time, in the early Christian period, Medieval times, the Renaissance, and He speaks today to us. It’s New Wine for us to drink, so let’s together find some new wineskins to put it in so we can share it with others in genuineness and authenticity.

by Matt Whitney


From the Pen of the Artist: Entry III


Matt Whitney's water color concept of the painting he will be doing through advent at UPC.


Back to the watercolor sketch. I’ll try to describe a little bit of it here for you. The Advent Sermon theme is “Yesterday, Today, Forever.” In thinking on this, I try to comprehend them as one and the same, not thinking about them too much in a linear fashion but as a grander reality. Similar to how the Holy Trinity is God in Three Persons, sometimes its hard to wrap my brain around, but when I just allow myself to accept that it’s bigger than I can possibly understand, it becomes a beautiful freedom. You’ll see some familiar Advent imagery, but rearranged to provide deeper context and meaning; thus, the large star in the middle of the piece, overlooking our city. There are some abstract elements that may not be apparent in the image, but they serve to obscure or divide the space between the star and our reality. Nevertheless, the star is big and is the focal point of the piece. On the left, people are waiting for a bus. Perhaps they are slowing to listen and be attentive, perhaps not. The female figure in the foreground has a handbag that contains an iconic image of the Christ Child (idealizing the past, or wanting to contain the definition of Kingdom). On the right is the Angel of the Fifth Trumpet from Revelation. It is an image of the Biblical future, which was revealed in our past. Thus completing the narrative of the artwork.

by Matt Whitney


Worship Connect for Nov. 29, 2009

Hello Friends,

This Sunday is our first Sunday in Advent!  Advent is the time in the church calendar where we celebrate the expectancy of a Savior, Jesus Christ, being born into the world.  There are multiple ways that we will celebrate this year.  The first is through the lighting of the advent candles.  Each week in advent we will light one of four candles as we get closer to Christmas.  Each candle correlates with a piece of the Advent story leading to the climax which is Christ’s birth.  The center candle is the Christ candle and will be lit on Christmas Eve.  The second way we will celebrate is through the creation of an advent painting that is themed around the sermons series Yesterday, Today, Forever; the painting will begin this Sunday.  We hope you will join us as we celebrate the redeemer of all creation, Jesus Christ!  This week the Gospel Choir will lead us in worship.

  1. In the Sanctuary by Kurt Carr | YouTubeBuy
  2. Welcome and Announcements :: Led by Mike McEvoy
  3. Lighting of the Advent Candle :: The Prophet Candle
    • Isaiah 9:2-6 – 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  4. Oh Come, All Ye Faithful led by Gospel Choir |
  5. Call to Worship :: Hebrews 1:1-4
  6. God of Wonders by Marc Byrd | YouTubeBuy
  7. Jesus, Son of David arr. Scott Burnett
  8. Scripture Reading :: Luke 18:35-43
  9. Total Praise by Richard Smallwood | YouTubeBuy
  10. Prayer :: Congregational Prayers of Thanksgiving
  11. Offertory :: His Praise Continues Led by Gospel Choir
  12. Sermon :: Yesterday, Today, Forever : WONDER by Tim Snow
  13. Communion :: Led by Tim Snow
    • Ancient Words | YouTubeBuy
    • O, Come Let us Adore Him
  14. Benediction :: led by Mike McEvoy

From the Pen of the Artist: Entry II

I believe that art, like music, is a creative expression of our praise and adoration of God, and thus is meant to be worship. My sincerest hope is that you will thus have an intimate engagement with the artwork as it takes shape, as well as with the finished piece. This whole thing may seem new and strange to you, and that’s OK. It’s certainly strange to me! I am a shy and introverted person, myself. If I allowed my fears to dictate my actions, I would probably much rather just make this painting in isolation in my studio. But God calls us into community, and if in sharing my process with you a new window into worship is created, then a good thing has happened. My prayer is that the images I create and the process of its making will be such a window into which you can also worship and experience God.

by Matt Whitney


From the Pen of the Artist: Entry I

Matt will be writing blogs throughout his time painting the Advent piece.  He will post four short blog this week as he anticipates beginning the painting on Nov. 29 at UPC’s evening services.

I’m humbled and honored to have been invited to create a three-panel artwork during the Advent season at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington. This goes beyond the typical commissioned artwork, however. I’ll be creating the piece on-site at various worship services. The image above is a watercolor sketch I came up with as a guiding concept for the piece. It’s a very rough draft, and I can’t vouch that the painting will look exactly as depicted above. In fact, I can vouch that the painting will indeed NOT look exactly like the sketch. As I work on a painting, images become fluid, shapes and colors change, and meanings become more nuanced or immediate. When I witnessed at UPC this past summer, I spoke about the process of art making as a wordless conversation, in which I bring questions about reality, life, and love to canvas, and then allow the images to ‘speak’ back to me. Thus, there is a push/pull, back-and-forth engagement occurring as I work on an art piece.

I think this type of prayerful conversation is similar to what a person experiences during worship, in which one might sing a hymn, read a Scripture text, listen to a sermon, and all the while be in a process of listening and engaging, opening one’s heart, asking questions, and perhaps allowing oneself to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Usually, this happens in the quiet of my studio (or not so quiet, depending on what music might be playing in the background).  For this project, you will be witness to this process during worship, whether you attend an evening service, morning service, The Inn, or Convergence on Tuesdays. Or you might see me in the Narthex working during the week sneaking in some extra time with the painting as you head to a meeting or small group. I think that this will provide a valuable context in terms of seeing the artwork take shape.


Yesterday, Today, Forever: An Advent Painting

Matt Whitney's water color concept of the painting he will be doing through advent at UPC.

We have some really exciting news!  Matt Whitney has agreed to paint a piece around George’s Advent sermon series theme Yesterday, Today, Forever.   Matt will be making it around to different services, as well as the INN and Convergence, as he is painting over the four weeks of advent.  This means we will be able to see this painting come to life before our eyes as we enter into this time of expectancy.

We also will have the privilege of hearing Matt’s thoughts as he paints.  He will be writing blogs about his experience with this piece.  You will be able to find those right here on our 7pm blog.   The painting will be on display in the Narthex alcove throughout advent.  The official appearances we have Matt scheduled for at this point are as follows:

Nov. 29th at 5pm & 7pm in the narthex
Dec. 1st at The INN beginning at 9pm
Dec. 6th at all morning services in the narthex
Dec. 8th at Convergence beginning at 7:30pm

Make sure you come, see, and experience this celebration of our Lord, Jesus Christ, breaking into the word.  Christ-mas is coming . . .

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