The Annunciation. The Shepherds. The Nativity. Epiphany. These are the serigraphs by John August Swanson which we pass by as we enter the sanctuary at Rolling Hills United Methodist Church.
Take Away The Stone. Washing of the Feet. These are detailed depictions by Swanson of key revelations in the ministry of Jesus. (Christ came to bring life. He came to serve.). We can spend time with them in the Aldersgate Room.
Entry into the City. The River. We are met by motion and color and an invitation to receive the blessing of water when we come into the reception area of the church office and encounter two more of Swanson’s works.
The Presentation in the Temple. The Procession. If we spend time in the conference room we can gaze at the rich color and vivid detail which Swanson used to depict important moments in scripture and in the life of the church.
I never get tired of looking at the work of the wonderful artist, sensitive soul, and humble human being that was and is John August Swanson. I am not the only person at RHUMC who is blessed to have his art hanging in my home. Thanks to a generous wedding gift from the congregation, Bob and I continually enjoy a lively rendition of Jesus’ disciples in a fishing boat under a sunny sky. Their nets are full, as is my heart when I think about all that John shared with the world and all the times and ways I have been encouraged on my faith journey by his vision.
On the treasured occasions when we here at RHUMC were able to spend time with John, he brought before us the value of welcoming refugees, caring for the poor, and celebrating God’s love. We observed that he was so eager to engage with people that it was hard to convince him to eat or take a breath. He pursued his calling with passion to the end of his days.
John August Swanson joined the saints in light on September 23, 2021. He was 83 years old. His home was the City of Angels. His art resides in churches, educational institutions, and museums in various parts of the world. He gave generously of himself at all times and in all seasons. We are blessed to have known him, and I am grateful to the members and friends of RHUMC who purchased and then loaned or donated his serigraphs so that we all may benefit from their presence among us.