Prior to the pandemic, Tom Eure and Amelia Osborne, members of Morning Star, Matthews, could be found sharing their musical talents—folk music with a Celtic twist—at festivals and other venues. Tom is a veteran singer/songwriter and Amelia is a fine artist with the voice of an angel. They combine their talents to paint a musical picture as uplifting as it is engaging, taking audiences on a ride that leads from laughter to tears, from waltzes to foot stomping, along with a few detours that take them straight to church.
At the encouragement of the Morning Star staff—Pastor John Mouritsen, Minister of Music Ed Tompkins, and Deacon Wendy Roberts—Tom wrote a hymn, Love Compels Us To, for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. Tom shared, “I wrote a hymn that was way bigger than us, so we asked for help.” Deacon Wendy helped by inviting folks across the NC Synod to participate. “Tom and Amelia are amazing humans and certainly the most creative people I know. They have a beautiful vision for celebrating the diversity that we share in our ELCA community by engaging as many congregations as possible through an artistic endeavor that is appropriate for all ages.”
With a bit of laughter in her voice, Amelia shared, “Early in 2020, when performance venues were darkened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we got cranky and then we got creative. And then we got “crankie” again when we discovered a passion for crankies.” Tom agreed, “We realized that this one is much bigger than us; it became “The Great Big Crankie* Collab”!”
Congregations responded to the collaboration request and Tom and Amelia traveled throughout the synod with 86 feet of paper and lots of markers while gathering 298 handprints from individuals ranging in age from not quite 2-year-olds to 93 years of age. They visited an Agapé Day Camp and a Soup Kitchen Ministry. They worshiped with a number of congregations and had folks “lend a hand” following worship. They visited the synod office—can you spot the bishop’s handprint in the crankie?—and gave the synod staff an opportunity to flex their creative muscles.
In Winston-Salem, Tom and Amelia visited The Dwelling and Christ’s Beloved Community: ministries working with persons experiencing homelessness and the food insecure. Amelia shared, “They are literally doing God’s work. I can’t even begin to tell you how many ways they are making a difference. During our time with them we collected wonderful art contributions for the crankie, heard amazing stories, made new friends, and had our eyes pried wide open.”
“We have been so encouraged to see how passionate each church has been about safety protocols to keep everyone safe because Love Compels Us To. It’s a blessing to us to worship and share a chance to be creative through art with communities that have such loving and compassionate hearts.”
The finished collaborative product combines Tom’s beautifully-worded hymn and Amelia’s compelling artwork showing the ministries that we share as ELCA congregations in North Carolina—all surrounded by the hands of those sharing in that ministry: “God’s work. Our hands.” Watch “The Great Big Crankie Collab,” officially Love Compels Us To video [See Link in Additional Content]. Share it via the big screen at worship or simply on your social media outlets. Be sure to use hashtags as you share: #lovecompelsusto, #tomeuremusic, #crankiecollab.
And, although “The Great Big Crankie Collab” is complete, Tom and Amelia feel called to share their gifts with more congregations through music and art; they would love to chat with you about your ideas, their ideas, and create something unique for your setting, especially as we all begin to heal and recover from the pandemic. Amelia said, “We are incredibly grateful to do what God gifts us to do and to celebrate the good that folks are doing to serve their communities!” Contact Tom and Amelia.
- How might you share the Love Compels Us To video with your congregation?
- What ways can your congregation celebrate service in your community?
- In your community, who can you serve?
- With whom can you collaborate in that service?
* “What’s a crankie?” you might ask. A crankie is a storytelling tool that’s been around since the 1800’s. It begins with a long, illustrated scroll that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box which has a viewing window. The scroll is then hand-cranked while a story is told, a song is sung, or a tune is played. As the spools are cranked, the story comes to life, often with the help of shadow puppets.
The crankies proved to be the perfect blend of Amelia’s artistic talents and Tom’s songwriting. Amelia has created and promoted art professionally and she has a passion for puppetry that was inspired by her father. Amelia creates the art and shadow puppets for their crankies. Tom builds the crankie boxes and spools. In their music videos and live performances, crankies offer a whole new depth to the story telling ability of their music by bringing a little bit of magic and a whole lot of whimsy.