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Local

Girl designs image for church doors

Reagan eighth-grader's art welcomes people to St. Paul

DIXON – Faith Garnhart has used her artistic abilities to give back to her church and her community.

The 14-year-old Reagan Middle School eighth-grader designed the image that now welcomes people to St. Paul Lutheran Church, 421 S. Peoria Ave., on its new glass doors.

Faith, who will be confirmed May 19, was part of a committee charged with choosing a logo or image to adorn the new doors, which were installed a couple of weeks ago.

The group looked at some designs from the artist who would etch the image onto the glass. It also considered historic symbols of the Christian faith and the Lutheran church.

But Faith submitted something from her own sketchbook.

Faith is the daughter of Tim and Judy Garnhart of Dixon. Her siblings are Philip Garnhart, 16, a sophomore at Dixon High School, and Joy Garnhart, 10, a fourth-grader at Jefferson Elementary School in Dixon.

We sat down with her – and her mother and her pastor – for a quick chat:

How did you end up submitting an original design? I mentioned something [at a committee meeting] ... and they said, 'Well, that's good. Why don't you sketch it out?' So, during class the next day, I pulled out my sketchbook and drew something out, and by Sunday, I handed it in.

Describe the image. It's three layers. The first layer is a silhouette of Jesus with his arms extended, like he's welcoming people inside. The next layer is the outline of a cross. And the third layer is the outline of a sunburst [behind the cross].

Why did you choose those symbols? [Images] of Christianity [in the media] are kind of negative ... I wanted ours to be welcoming.

What does it mean to you to have the image you created on the doors of the church? I've been thinking a lot about the future and what it holds for me, and I'd like to put a stamp of myself somewhere ... This is it. It's really awesome.

What her mother says: It's a very special honor for her. ... We could have gone with the Lutheran rose, but we wanted to stress that St. Paul is a Christian church, and then a Lutheran church. ... Christ with his outstretched arms speaks more to the reason we're all there.

What her pastor, the Rev. Janet Wittenmyer, says: [The image is] how her faith is. It says to the community that ... we can be excited about our faith in Christ, that he brings us joy and hope and peace. ... Faith is faithful. That's what inspires me as a pastor, when I see a young person with that kind of faith and potential.

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