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May4MonMay 4, 2020 Captain Laura Van Schaick
Captain Monika Gillard was walking down a trail shortly after arriving in Sussex, NB, when something colourful caught her eye. Painted rocks had been dispersed along the side of the trail, and every time she saw one it instantly put a smile on her face.
Painted rocks have become increasingly popular across Atlantic Canada in recent years, thanks in large part to NL Rock Art, a Facebook group established in Newfoundland by Salvationist Karen Young. With close to 38,000 members, the goal of the group is to create community by painting rocks and placing them around your neighbourhood for others to find and enjoy. Participants post photos of the rocks they have found as a way of tracking them, and then can choose to keep them or re-hide them to spread even more joy.
For Karen, placing rocks around the community began as a kindness project. “I saw this trend popping up in social media a few years ago,” Karen recalls, “and I was so excited that I had found a simple but effective way to spread kindness that combined with my love of painting. NL Rock Art was born!”
For Karen, community is even more important during this time of pandemic. “Kindness improves quality of life in the community, bringing people together,” she shares, “which has been especially important during COVID-19.”
While Captain Monika was inspired by the painted rocks she found in her early days in Sussex, it wasn’t until recently that she found the time to create her own. “I always said I could paint some rocks and do the same thing,” she shares, “but never did find the time.”
Many of us now have time now due to distancing measures in place, and Captain Monika has found joy in finally getting around to painting some rocks. “We have some time on our hands right now, and what better way to serve God and find our inner creativity!”
While the rocks do not always have a Christian theme, there is the opportunity to use these painted rocks to spread the gospel message. Captain Monika indicates that, “if we intentionally add a word of encouragement or scripture to the rocks then we can weave our faith into a way of serving others through kindness and love. Sometimes when Christ calls us to serve Him, it doesn’t have to be complex. We can keep it very simple and spread his love in simple ways.”
Karen agrees. “Jesus says in Matthew 5:14, ‘You are the light of the world.’ As Christians, spreading kindness is a way we can spread his light.”
Colonel Shelley Hill, Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries, is encouraging Salvationist Women to spread kindness and joy through the sharing of painted rocks. “It would be beautiful if…women and families across the country could paint some rocks and bring messages of encouragement to our neighbours during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Want to get involved? Anyone can paint a rock! Here are some basic steps to get you started:
1. Select a rock - any rock will do!
2. Clean your rock of any debris. If you need to rinse it, be sure to dry it completely before painting.
3. Paint with acrylic paints, marker pens, alcohol inks etc.
4. Seal your rock with an aerosol spray sealer.
5. Place your decorated rock around your neighbourhood and give hope to those around you!
Are you already painting and sharing rocks in your neighbourhood? We’d love to see your beautiful creations in the comments below or tag your rock art photos with #SalvationistWomenRockArt on Facebook or Instagram.
Image: Captain Monika Gillard's inspirational painted rocks.