And start carving he did, finding that he had a talent for making the wood come to life. Still, when he was approached by a group led by parishioner Nancy Aldridge to consider creating a series of carvings to mark the Stations of the Cross, he wasn’t sure he was up to the task. There were trained artists in the congregation who he thought would be better choices. Amazed that he was allowed to try to create them, he accepted the challenge and began to study.
Learning about the tradition of the Stations of the Cross was the first step. He read extensively, visited other churches, and looked at examples of the art that was used in churches in Europe. He began to form a plan: there would be 14 stations, and each one would focus clearly on the central action of that scene from the day of Jesus’s crucifixion. “A lot of the images I looked at were so complex and had so many things going on that you couldn’t tell what was really happening.”
Jim’s gift to St. Andrew’s makes participating in the Stations of the Cross service a deeper and more soul-stirring experience. Beyond the emotion of entering into the story of Jesus’ final hours through the prayerful words and physical journey from station to station, the carvings allow you to see the passion of each scene. Jim says he still feels awe each time he looks at them, “I look at them and say ‘Thank you, God.’”