By: Helena 2011-07-18
Altars of Remembrance in Banner Ministry
In the early spring of 1988, I was approached to do a banner for a Christian conference in Jerusalem, Israel that would celebrate the Shavuot, or Pentecost feast in May. I was to take the design from an acrylic painting of Israeli artist Martha Stern depiciting scenes of the old and new covenants and translate it into a 9 x 13 foot fabric mural that would be used as the backdrop for the conference. When I agreed to take the commission, I had no idea the adventures I would have in producing this project.
The time frame was maniacally short. From the time I received the print and patterns, I had exactly one month until the last day the banner could be shipped for timely arrival for the conference. While I was waiting on the patterns, I was talking to people I knew about the project and a great excitement was getting stirred up in our little rural church about the opportunity to be a part of something that would minister in Israel.
It took about two weeks to assemble materials and prepare the patterns. Because of the complexity of the design, over 70 different fabrics and 50 trims had to be selected and purchased. Most of these were found in one day in one store. The few others necessary were mail-ordered and were covered by much fervent prayer for timely arrival. Amazingly, though there were several shipping delays, items would arrived just on the day we needed them.
By the time I was ready to begin actual work, I had about twenty volunteers anxious to help and be a part of the effort. This was a new experience for me, I had never had anyone ASK to help with work on the banners before. So, from the time we were ready to begin I had shifts of up to ten people working 16 hours a day for the two weeks (yes, only fourteen days!) that it took to complete the mural banner. The patterns were arranged in sections, and each person would complete their assigned section and then it would be applied to the banner as if it were a piece in a giant jigsaw puzzle. The fact that God gifted me with the organizational skills to keep this whole production going is one of the little recognized miracles of this project.
Before delivering the banner to Paul Wilbur and Israel's Hope to be hand-carried to the event in Jerusalem, the banner was previewed at a regional America Arise event in Detroit. Over 600 more believers began to pray for the Word of the Lord to go forth from the upcoming Shavuot event.
The real story begins in the testimonies that came back from Jerusalem following the conference. The site of the conference was an orthodox hotel, the Ramada Renaissance, in Jerusalem. Countless Jewish people filed past the banner as it hung in the conference hall, and even more as word got out and people brought their friends to see. There were many opportunities for the conference staff to give glory to the God of Israel and make a faith connection with Jewish people because of this banner that depicted their history. Jewish believers in Jerusalem, who up until this time had kept an extremely low profile, began to declare themselves and for the first time ever, the local newspapers began to carry reports on Jewish Christians. Believers from all over the world attended this conference and were affected by the message of the banner. In the future, "Two Covenants"is slated to be hung on permanent display at a visitor's center in Jerusalem, and will keep speaking the message of God's faithfulness to fulfill His promises to His people.