Since our inception Seekers has displayed different forms of art at our building. Some pieces we use regularly in worship, some inspire us to meditation and prayer, and some reflect on our history of building community in this local expression of the Body of Christ.
Mosaics on the Building
At the heart of Seekers’ understanding of God is the idea that each of us can be both broken and whole all at once. This concept is illustrated by the colorful mosaics on our building, which were made from pieces of broken plates, bowls, and other ceramics that many of us donated. A handful of Seekers learned how to work with the broken pottery, cement, and grout and guided the larger group in creating the beautiful mosaics during a Seekers event at our retreat center, Dayspring.
The round, four-foot mosaic is installed high on the front of our building, with the design based on the plates described below. The round mosaic is a key element of Seekers’ logo, along with the cross.
When renovation of the historic farmhouse at the core of Seekers’ building left three windows partially covered on the back of the structure, we created smaller mosaics of the needed sizes using the same design elements and materials as the large round mosaic.
In the Sanctuary:
Chalice, Plate, and Communion Cups
Marjory designed and created these and describes them in her 2009 book on Seekers: “The pattern on the cup, plates and bowl speaks of God as our Source and our Caller with its pattern of waves and circles. In the beginning, God’s spirit brooded over the face of the deep, calling us forth as part of God’s good creation. Then, centered by Jesus, we come to know God’s love for the world and our part in the sacred process of redeeming our broken parts.” (Marjory Zoet Bankson, The Story of Seekers Church: 1976-2006, pg. 30.) Whenever the chalice, plate, or cups have broken over the years, Peter Bankson has repaired them, using the art of kintsugi as his guide, to both restore function and find beauty in brokenness.
Cross, Altar, and Pulpit
As he was leaving his career as a federal public servant, Seekers member John Schultz sharpened his woodworking skills with support from the Seekers Growing Edge Fund. Around the same time, a cherry tree was reaching the end of its life in the Alexandria yard of Peter and Marjory Bankson. The Banksons had the tree cut into rough slabs and air dried it under their deck until Seekers was ready to move to its new home and John was ready as a woodworker. John then made the Seekers cross, modeled on the cross at the Embassy Row home of Church of the Saviour, from the now-dry cherry wood, along with the altar table and pulpit.
Processional Cross and Banner
The processional cross and banner were a collaborative effort by Deborah Sokolove, who conceived the design and made the copper cross, David Lloyd, who made the oak cross, banner frame, and stands; and Margreta Silverstone, who made the quilted banner. Their process is fully described in a May 18, 1997 sermon “A Cross and a Banner” by Deborah Sokolove, David Lloyd and Margreta Silverstone.
The “Prayer Net” hung outside our sanctuary is participatory art. Anyone is welcome to tie colored ribbons on to the net in honor or remembrance of special prayers – a reminder of the beauty of being in relationship with God who hears our prayers.
“Untitled” by Liz Vail
Artist Liz Vail was part of Seeker’s Artist Mission Group for over ten years, working towards her own call as an artist and supporting several others as they explored how they might use their artistic talent to further God’s work in the world.
Altar Cloths made by the Community
We occasionally use special altar cloths handmade by Seekers. Two depict people on their perimeter as a symbol of inclusiveness; one was made by both our adults and children at a weekend overnight event and the other was made in a Sunday School class. The third is a quilt made by Margreta Silverstone.
Down the Stairs:
“Pillar of Power” by Nolan Smith
Required by forward-looking regulations to bury the power cable coming into our building, an unexpected concrete pillar was required right in the path of our monumental stairway. Rather than taking even more space to frame it in, we declared it Art and added a shiny brass plaque listing our beloved contractor who created the concrete angles that have kept us safe and fully powered.
The Living Water Mission Group helps to remind us of members of Seekers Church who have died by putting their names and dates of birth and death on glass tiles, which descend the rear stairwell. At the top of the stairs is a notebook with each person’s short autobiography.
“Noah’s Ark” mural in the Nursery
This mural was designed by Deborah Sokolove and painted by Seekers children and adults
Stairwell banners, Altar Cloth, and Stoles by Adelaide Winstead
Seekers originally commissioned the banners in the early 1980s to surround the cross in the front of the sanctuary. The altar runner and stole by the same artist were gifted to Seekers for the marriage of Bob Bayer and Rozanne Oliver. There is another hanging by Adelaide Winstead in the yoke room at Dayspring Retreat. Winstead is a feminist artist who was part of the Greenfire Collective in Maine for many years.
“Tree of Life” by Peter Bankson
Peter Bankson crocheted this freeform tree as an experiment, exploring how the shape would emerge as chain after chain of stitches was added from bottom to top to an armature made from 12 feet of PVC pipe. The roots reaching down toward the earth added a suggestion of growing outside the box.
In the Library:
“Now a Single Pair Keeps Watch” by Keith Seat
Marjory Bankson and Keith Seat independently happened upon this pair of geese at the Lake of the Saints while on silent retreat at Dayspring, and to each of them the geese seemed linked to the same poignant event. When, at the end of the retreat, Keith shared that he had captured this still-unseen image with his last two frames of film, Marjory noted that she had written a poem about it, “A Single Pair Keeps Watch.”
In the Quiet Room:
“Clothed with the Sun” by Deborah Sokolove
This 24″x24″ acrylic painting was from a 2004 series by Sokolove called “Visible Prayer.” The painting was purchased for the Meditation Room by members of the Living Water mission group.
Fiber and shell medallion by Letwan Talensa
Given to Seekers Church by a delegation of Marshall Islanders who are survivors of nuclear testing, some 67 nuclear bombs worth of radiation, between 1946 and 1955. All who see it are invited into solidarity both with the pain and the generosity. The artist lives on Eniwetak Atoll.
“Untitled” by Amde Adje
The Senegalese artist donated this painting after his work was featured in a show at the Seekers Art Gallery. Though homeless, Adje was a dedicated painter who spent every day working in donated studio space until he died of cancer.