Although the visual arts historically have not been important in Protestant Christian worship, the last several decades have seen a shift — and now there is a book to help guide church leaders and churchgoers through “a colorful new landscape.”


Although the visual arts historically have not been important in Protestant Christian worship, the last several decades have seen a shift — and now there is a book to help guide church leaders and churchgoers through “a colorful new landscape.”

Leslie James, a medical librarian at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita and a seminary student, is co-author of “Proclamation by Design,” just released by Mennonite Church USA’s Faith & Life Resources. James will sign the book from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Faith & Life Bookstore in Newton.

James and co-author Karmen Krahn of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada, collaborated during four years to put together a volume that both shows and tells why and how the visual arts are indispensable in telling the biblical story.

Both women are members of Mennonite congregations and, as such, are part of a religious tradition that has a long history of “creating formative images (for worship) primarily through words and music” rather than the visual arts, as they write in the introduction of “Proclamation by Design.”

The book consists of three main sections: “The Gallery,” a series of foundational essays; “The Catalogue,” a collection of color photos of art created for worship in a variety of congregations, including Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton, and First Mennonite Church, Hillsboro; and “The Studio,” a set of hands-on ideas and helps.

In conjunction with the book’s release, there will be an all-day workshop on using visual arts in worship Oct. 11 at Shalom Mennonite Church, open to anyone interested. For more information on the workshop, call the Western District Conference offices at 283-6300 or e-mail wdc@mennowdc.org.

“Proclamation by Design” is available at Faith & Life Bookstore, 724 N. Main in Newton. Call 283-2210 for prices or other information on the Saturday book-signing.