While growing up on Signal Mountain, Karol McCracken remembers a woman named Ms. Greenway who would come into the schools and teach Bible stories using a flannel board.
"Those images really stuck with me," McCracken said of the felt scenes Ms. Greenway would create to illustrate stories from the Bible. "I think it's a very strong memory for all of us."
She hopes to help imprint visual images from the Bible on the hearts and minds of others through the medium of quilts through Signal Mountain United Methodist Church's show "A Congregation of Quilts," to be held at the church Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The church's current theme is "The Bible in the World Today," and McCracken had the idea to gather as many quilts inspired by the Bible as possible.
"We just really want to hold the Bible up as a source of contemporary inspiration," she said. "I hope people will come and enjoy it."
As she began to amass her collection, she realized that many people in the congregation already had quilts with marvelous stories behind them, she said.
"Every quilt, like every person, tells a story," said McCracken.
The show will feature 20 biblical themed quilts displayed about the sanctuary, as well as a plethora of other quilts brought in by the congregation that will be hung over the pews.
"Just like the people of the church, they're all going to be different," McCracken said.
One Bible study group at the church has created a quilt with 12 blocks, each representing a woman from the Bible. McCracken said her granddaughter saw the quilt and described it as "like a Bible story without words." This reminded McCracken of the images that still stick with her from her lessons with Ms. Greenway.
"I think there's just a lesson for everyone in how to live your life," she said of the quilts in the show, which include a variety of patterns from Jacob's Ladder to the Tree of Life to the Star of Bethlehem to Noah's Ark. "They're all so beautiful, and it's a good tool for the instruction of children."