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Collaborative masterpieces: Families paint together at church

Collaborative masterpieces: Families paint together at church

Church Vitality

Like a lot of churches, First UMC in Lakeland was looking for family-themed summer programs where everyone could participate and that didn’t cost too much. 

Chris and Kim Mayes and their two sons proudly display their collaborative masterpiece.

The solution: Paint Night. 

Success? Absolutely. 

On Sunday, July 15, the church held its second paint event, a follow-up to the inaugural Paint Night the previous month. It worked in conjunction with Becky Yohe at Lakeland’s Art Centric. 

“This is something a little bit different from what they normally do in their studio, so I wanted to make sure that they could facilitate everything for us. And it has been amazing,” Director of Children’s Ministries Cristi Moore said. 

The evening includes a home-cooked meal by church volunteers. In June, 22 families enjoyed an Italian style dinner, during which Moore introduced a special devotion.

“I handed out bags to every table and said that God’s greatest creation was in there. Inside each bag was a mirror. I said, (that) we are His masterpieces and now we are going to make a masterpiece for our family,” Moore said. 

“I explained that when we make these paintings they are our family masterpieces, and we hang them in our house, so they bring us joy every time we see them. So hopefully when they look at those paintings they will remember that they are God’s masterpieces.” 

Families then moved to the gymnasium, where the floor was completely covered with brown paper. Each family found a place to sit on the floor and received one canvas to work on together. 

Yohe and her staff provided the paint and brushes, as well as step-by-step directions. The theme for the painting that night was Family Portrait. 

First, the youngest family member traced their hand on the canvas, then the next-oldest and on up until everyone was represented. Then the paint came out and colors were passed from family to family. 

A member of the church for 14 years, Ivelaisse De La Fe, her husband and two young daughters wanted to participate in Paint Night as soon as they heard about it. They often attend the church’s family programming. “I thought it would be interesting and a cool thing for the family to come together, and I’d love to see it offered again,” she said. 

Ivelaisse De La Fe and her husband Monacelli trace their hands to begin their painting.

Chris and Kim Mayes and their two boys had such a great time at the June Paint Night that they returned in July. 

“We just had fun working together as a family on one little project,” Kim said. “And my youngest is very artistic, so he just loves this.” 

The event even attracted families who aren’t currently members of the church. Will and Samari Simpson, for instance, heard about Paint Night while volunteering at vacation Bible school and knew they wanted to try it. 

“You’ve got food, you’ve got fellowship, you’ve got painting and it’s affordable,” Will said. “And any experience we’ve had with anyone affiliated with the church …  they’re all good people, so how do you say no?” 

Moore and Yohe would love to collaborate on more Paint Nights in the future. 

“(Yohe) was really excited to do something different,” Moore said. “She’s a creative wonder and was thrilled with the response.” 

For more information on any upcoming Paint Night events, contact Cristi Moore at First UMC Lakeland at 863-686-3163 or