Rev. John Wilson, along with members of Equality UMC and special guests, consecrated the church's preschool classroom and mural August 31. The ceremony concluded the church's month-long "Back to Sunday School" focus.
Also on hand was Neta Stephens, who painted the mural with help from her grandson, Brooks Archer, and fellow church member Anne Barkley. The mural depicts the creation story with pastoral scenes on the walls and the hand of God on the ceiling. The scenes were inspired by the class mission statement, "To help each child experience the love of God and to surround them with adults who love them."
"We want to extend love and caring to the children, and let them know how special they are to God and to us," said Barkley. "Each is a one-of-a-kind child of God, as depicted by each child's handprint and birth date which are incorporated into the artwork."
Artist Neta Stephens gives God the credit for directing the work of her hands as she designed and painted the mural. Stephens, whose work has appeared in the Decorative Artist's Workbook, has painted murals in daycare centers, homes and libraries in Alabama and Georgia. She and her husband Wayne moved to Equality from Leesburg, Georgia, three years ago to be closer to family.
"This was a labor of love for us," said Barkley. "Wayne and Neta have become a vital part of and valuable assets to the church as well as the community."
"Truly the hand of God is upon the children at Equality United Methodist Church!" she added.