First Congregational Church United Church of Christ creates art installation

Claudia Loucks
An Art Installation has been created by the Welcoming Committee at First Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Geneseo and is in place on South State St., north of the church. In the photo are, from left, David Smith, Summer Sellman, Marsha Welfer and the Rev. Stuart Schoup, interim pastor at First Congregational Church; and in front, Bobbi and Elli Sellman.

On Wednesday, June 1, children and adults from First Congregational Church United Church of Christ took part in an Art Installation titled “be you, with us.”

The Rev. Stuart Schoup, interim pastor at the church, said  " the church congregation is firmly connected to a Christian expression of being open-minded, and a non-judgmental faith of inclusion. The church embraces the message of Jesus who cherished and cared for all kinds of people. Jesus welcomed, loved and affirmed. Jesus spent time with people. He encouraged those around him to be in union with one another.”

Pastor Schoup explained with that thought in mind, the Welcoming Committee of First Congregational Church created an art installation that is set up on South State Street, just north of the church. The display will remain in place for the summer.

“The unique artwork includes six adult-sized Adirondack chairs in primary and secondary colors, and seven additional children-size Adirondack chairs that have been distinctively painted,” Schoup said. “The individuals who helped to paint these chairs included many people in the Geneseo community of differing abilities, some in need of wheel chairs, as well as individuals who have alternative life styles.”

He said the installation is titled “be you, with us,” and he explained the message “was inspired to communicate a message of ‘Welcome’ and inclusion to all people. This internationally public message is meant to be an affirmation statement for the church as well as an open message to those in the community who might otherwise be excluded.”

The church congregation invites the public to stop by and see this inspirational installation on South State Street…”Sit in a chair that you feel might be particularly welcoming,” Pastor Schoup said. “Bring a cup of coffee and a donut and relax for a while, maybe even read a book. Take time to sit with yourself, with God, with a friend. Give an affable wave to the public as they might pass by. Show everyone that Geneseo, and western Illinois, is a warm and welcoming community.”

The First Congregational United Church of Christ is located at 319 South State St. in Geneseo, across form City Park.