Glory Sighting: Brokenness to Restoration


An inspiring project that began in the hands of Pastor Kristine Marshall, Senior Pastor, and Ervin Berry, professional painter and church member transformed a church and later, a community when The Worship Committee at Bethel UMC in Anderson developed the idea to represent Lent with painted butterflies. 

An important figure in the life of Pastor Marshall, butterflies signify both transformation and growth. 

“There’s always something about a caterpillar. It has to go into this dark and lonely place for a while and just trust that’s it’s going to end up OK. And then, it breaks free as a butterfly,” said Marshall. 

With the help of Berry, the butterfly figures were cut out and a structure was constructed. Each butterfly was delicately painted adding color and inspiration to the rural area of Anderson, Ind. 

Though inspiring the project was not without setbacks. Being a light in nature, the butterflies were susceptible to the common windstorm. One evening, the wind gusts were so strong that it left the butterflies scattered among yards and surrounding fields and shattered into pieces. 

Though Pastor Marshall and the members of Bethel UMC saw how God was working in this unfortunate event. They decided to continue on with the project and proceeded to restore the structure; putting the broken pieces back together and creating new beauty throughout the remaining days of Lent. How fitting, as their current sermon series was centered on “beauty in brokenness”. 

The shattered, and now restored beautiful butterflies continued to catch the attention of visitors and locals. Through this display, people began to experience healing from their own brokenness. 

As the week of Easter arrived, the church found themselves becoming a place of refuge for broken people and broken stories where they felt loved and valued. The butterflies, which represented transformation and growth, were growing and transforming this community in ways that only God can through the faithfulness of God’s people. The church and community responded with hope to the message these butterflies represented, and grasped, whole-heartedly, the concept of transforming something that was once broken into something that is now beautiful in its restoration and redemption of Jesus.

Today, the butterflies still live on. In fact, people within the community now want to purchase butterflies for family members going through struggles. The faithfulness of this congregation serves as an illustration of the beauty that can come from the broken; the repaired butterflies remind us to not feel disheartened in the midst of a troubled time but, rather, to be hopeful.

This story was inspired by the article written in The Herald Bulletin about this event. To read more details on this Glory Sighting, find the related article here.

Photo credit: John P. Cleary | The Herald Bulletin

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