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Sharing an artistic vision of Christ

From Tenebrae prayer services and telecast speakers for Good Friday to sunrise and traditional worship services on Easter Sunday, believers in Newberg had no shortage of options for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Area churches didn’t have a corner on the market this year, however, thanks to recent Newberg transplant Deb Evans, who has introduced a new and unique way to connect with scripture in an artistic and spiritual manner.

Evans brought her own creative photo exhibit, Portraits of Christ, which pairs scripture verses with images of Christ in a powerful way.by: SETH GORDON - Visions of scripture - Recent Newberg transplant Deb Evans is presenting the photography exhibit she created, Portraits of Christ, at the unused church at 23945 North Valley Road, through April 27. The images pair scripture with photographic representations of Christ and have drawn rave reviews since the show opened April 6.

The free show opened April 6 and will run daily from noon to 8 p.m. through April 27 at an empty church located near her home at 23945 N.E. North Valley Road.

“I think there is a lot of power in scripture, the actual language of scripture,” Evans said. “It adds a lot to a picture to have the words of the scripture with it.”

The response from visitors so far has been positive, with many people spreading the word for Evans, including several that have returned multiple times with new people each time.

One of those repeat customers is Ashley Stahle, a passionate art fan and Christian who has raved about Evan’s vision.

“When you walk in there’s just a special feeling,” Stahle said. “You walk in and you see all these portraits of Christ and there’s just a peaceful calm that permeates the building. As you’re reading the scriptures alongside the photo, they just come alive a little bit more to me.”

Evans created the show while living in Shelly, Idaho and first exhibited it in her sign shop there in the fall of 2012.

She became an immediate convert during a vacation trip to Oregon, first asking herself what it would be like to live somewhere near to Multnomah Falls during a construction delay on I-84 alongside Oregon’s most-visited natural attraction in August.

It quickly dawned on the mother of two that her family could live near there and a few days later a drive through Yamhill County en route to Lincoln City sealed the deal. Within a month, Evans was living in Portland on a month-to-month lease and three months later had purchased a home just off North Valley Road.

“We actually went home from our vacation early,” Evans said. “I had a little sign shop and cleared it out, closed it up.”

Enamored with her new community, Evans decided to share her project and rented the church for the show, which seems to have elicited many responses similar to Stahle’s if one takes a look at the guest log.

“I felt like there was no agenda,” Stahle said. “You just get to feel the love of God and that’s it.”

Evans plans to invite artists in the community to share their works for a show next year, His Hands, the theme of which will be depictions of the way Christ used his hands to heal and bless others.

Among the many Good Friday celebrations this weekend will be a non-denominational citywide service presented by the Newberg Ministerial Association from 12:05 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Newberg Friends Church.

Among the many Friday evening services will be a six-hour David Platt telecast at Newberg Christian Church. It will center on the cross in everyday life and begin at 6 p.m. Cost is $7.

“We’ve used some of their materials in smaller groups in the church, in Bible study,” discipleship and care pastor Andy Heisler said. “We’re looking forward to doing this in a larger format and really helping people to focus in on the cross for that Good Friday leading into Easter.”