‘Come and Walk with Jesus’: The Footprints Story

Church of the Brethren Newsline
November 5, 2007

Who would have ever imagined that the choice of “Come and Walk with Jesus” as the theme for the 2007 District Conference of Western Plains District would help create an amazing new ministry?

Every year the committee that plans the conference chooses a theme, and worship centers are created to reflect the theme. This year, committee member Cheryl Mishler contacted Connie Rhodes, from Newton (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, and asked if she would consider making the worship centers. What followed was nothing short of divine intervention.

Connie spent time thinking and praying, and thinking and praying some more, about what she could do to help carry the conference theme over into the business meetings and worship. Finally, she started creating the worship center: wonderful works of art around the theme of footprints.

Each painting ended up in the shape of a foot. Each painting was created on plain white corrugated cardboard. In addition, Connie provided scripture references for each painting as well as her own personal thoughts about each painting.

Here is what she said regarding “The Footprints,” as they are now called: “I left the cardboard footprint posters free hand-cut, with all the nicks, tears, and uneven rough edges, because life is full of nicks, cuts, roughness, and yet smooth and straight at other times. Especially walking in Jesus’ footprints…it’s a good reminder to us that it’s not so much the situation that will be remembered…but our reaction to it! And that this gives us character of the soul.”

Connie’s wonderful paintings have had an impact on conference attendees. The beauty of each painting, the spiritual impression, and the interpretation that each person took from the paintings was amazing. We were truly blessed to have Connie share her God-given talent with us that weekend of district conference.

One of the ways the district has decided to carry on “The Footprints” ministry is to offer the paintings as note cards. Profits from the sale of the note cards will benefit the ministries of Western Plains District. Each set of note cards contains 18 cards, including the 17 Footprints paintings and a card of the 2007 Western Plains District Conference logo. Each card features the name of the painting, the scripture reference, and Connie’s personal reflection, with the inside of the card left blank. Each set of note cards is $25 plus $4.60 shipping. Order from http://www.rochestercommunitycob.org/.

–Terry Smalley is a member of Rochester Community Church of the Brethren in Topeka, Kan. (formerly Topeka Church of the Brethren).

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The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Submit news to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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