Just above on the Sound Transept hang six medallions depicting, in Christian symbolism, the six parts of Luther’s Small Catechism carved by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church member Art Roe (pictured right) in the 1950s.
One Sunday afternoon in the early 1950s, Pastor Gordon Tollefson came over to the Art’s home to meet his mother, who was visiting from Minnesota. While they sat and talked, Art was doing some whittling and the Pastor asked him, when are you going to whittle something for the church? Art asked, “What do you want?’ That’s entirely up to you, Tollefson answered.
Art had always been interested in Church symbolism, so he began to research just how artistic carvings could be adapted into some symbolic rendition. He decided to pattern the medallions after the catechism.
Carved from ponderosa pine from the mill in Bonner, the medallions’ outside borders are stained and varnished, while the center area is simply varnished. Art said he had real concerns about warping after he began carving the first one, but through persistence and patience he was able to solve the problem.
These six medallions, which took about a year to carve, have been a part of St. Paul’s for nearly half a century. They were dedicated on October 26, 1952, as part of the dedication ceremony for the new church addition.
They are symbols, aids to worship. They tell a wonderful story for us all. To help you better understand their meaning, here you will see what each one represents (above, left).
For nearly 40 years, the medallions hung on each side of the Altar, but in the early 1990’s they were moved to the front of the Sound Transept, where they can be seen more clearly.