By Reba Balint, Project Manager and Social Media Coordinator
The Rev. Stacy Williams Duncan is the part-time rector for the Little Fork Episcopal Church in Virginia. When COVID-19 hit her community in March, one of her concerns was how her congregants would be able to participate in traditional Easter practices while remaining socially distant and safe. Because of COVID-19 her church was not holding in-house church services, would not be hosting any social gatherings, no Easter egg hunts, and no Stations of the Cross. Ever the clever problem solver, Stacy wracked her brain to think of alternative ways to offer these sacred traditions to her community.
Inspiration struck when she remembered her friend, Choctaw artist Melonie Twelves’s, beautiful artistic rendition of the Stations of the Cross. For over a decade, these Stations have been a spiritual beacon to Stacy, for years she has wanted to utilize them in Holy Spaces. And 2020 is the year it finally happened. Melanie created a complete set of Station of the Cross paintings, depicting Christ as Native, using symbols and natural elements to suggest connection and representation.
Her artist’s statement is below:
“These stations are inspired by the Indians of North America. Their love for the natural world brought them knowledge and gave them respect for the Great Spirit. Emblems in the Bible for the Holy Spirit: the dove, fire water, and wind are all symbols Native Americans use in their daily lives. These symbols are aspects of God’s creation that Native Americans honor because they are natural gifts that sustain life on the earth. In these stations, Christ is shown wearing a leather fringed garment, probably made of deerskin. The crown of thorns is a cactus found in the southwestern part of the United States. The cactus plant survives in the desert and becomes a home to birds, much as Christ survived the desert of temptation and becomes our home. Christ carries a blue cross out of obedience to His Father in Heaven. Blue stands for loyalty and truth.
May you enter into the mediation of these stations open to what God might be saying to your heart. May He reveal to you a deeper conversion in His call on your life.”Stacy Williams Duncan
Stacy and Melonie swiftly worked together to bring her artwork to life, and to offer a socially distant outdoor Stations of the Cross experience. Her church community worked to get these paintings printed on weather resistant materials, to get them mounted onto strong foundations, and set up instructional material to go online, to be printed on site, and to be shared across social media. Stacy and this incredible team of people created an amazing opportunity to pray at the Stations of the Cross, which depicts the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, from either inside their car or by walking along a country lane full of blooming cherry trees.
You can read more about this project and even pray through the Stations yourself at, https://smallchurchesbigimpact.org/