Easter Picture Unites English Community

Pentecostal pastors in a central England town have united a multi-faith community—by encouraging them to paint the Easter story. They also hope to smash a world record in the process.

Phil Weaver and Dave Holmes—who lead New Springs International Christian Church, Loughborough—came up with the idea of using a huge picture to involve the wider community in celebrating Easter.

Part of a nationwide mission called Hope 2008, the project has exploded—with more than 500 people using 2,500 pots of paint to create the picture, which is longer than the length of a football field and taller than a two-story house.

Involving more than 20 churches in the town, the picture could break the record of being the biggest “painting-by-numbers” in the world. It has already been featured on local BBC TV and radio.

Artist Terry Woods, a member of New Springs, drew the Easter scenes, which were traced onto boards using laptop computers and projectors. The boards were then sent out for painting by schools, churches and community groups.

Called The Bigger Picture, it has drawn people from other faiths. “Children at the schools—regardless of whether they’re Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs—have been painting the boards and wanting to know the story,” Holmes said.

The boards are being put up on a huge frame—made up of two miles of scaffolding—in a field next to a local church. A big party will be held there the day after Easter Sunday, and the picture will stay up for another week.

“One school said, ‘It has inspired the whole of the school,’” Holmes explained, “‘and we’ve done nothing at school but talk about Christ.’” Church pastors believe God has been “constantly guiding” them all the way.

“There’s just been an incredible openness for this to take place,” Holmes added.

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