Sarah Slack's worship visuals bless many Annual Conferences

Sarah Slack's worship visuals bless many Annual Conferences

The Rev. Sarah Slack preaches at Monday morning's Bible study and Holy Communion service, amid the worship visuals she created. Photo by Sarah Varnell

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. -- The Rev. Sarah Slack has created altar settings at Holston Annual Conference for almost 20 years. On Monday morning, she preached in the Spirit-provoking environment she envisioned for the “Worship Together” theme on the Stuart Auditorium stage.
Sunday night's altar setting for the Service
of Ordination and Commissioning. Photo
by Buzz Trexler 

The hoops on the altar table are made with beads, representing individuals who are worshipping together and united, Slack said. The entwined altar hoops are repeated on the backdrop. The fabric on the altar table also represents how we are weaved together in worship.

Slack began assisting the Rev. Ashley Calhoun with creation of Holston Annual Conference worship visuals in 2004. When Calhoun retired in 2006, Slack stepped into the role.

Her worship art has been photographed and admired through many Annual Conferences and over many years.

“I love doing it,” said Slack, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Maryville, Tennessee. “It is very tiring because I’m here very early and very late … but it’s a great chance to be creative, and I love being able to put something together that many times.”

She explained that if she prepares an altar setting at her own church, it might stay put for as many eight weeks. Over four days at Holston Annual Conference, she will change the altar at least seven times.

Slack had a new challenge this year in Lake Junaluska, when she discovered two weeks ago the altar table she usually uses on the Stuart Auditorium stage had been moved to Memorial Chapel. Within a few days, her stepfather had constructed a portable altar table for her, using the tabletop from a dramatic visual she created for a Holston "unity service" in 2018. The new portable altar table’s legs are wheelbarrow handles. 
Rev. Sarah Slack recreates the altar setting 
between worship services.

Yesterday morning, Slack preached how there is a place at the table for everyone, her first time preaching at Holston Annual Conference. She celebrated Holy Communion.

Then while others in the congregation took a lunch break, she cleared away the communion elements and began preparing for an altar set change in time for the Memorial Service.


annette july 2023.jpg
Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.

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