What Inspired the Church Army Christmas Cards?

Becky Warburton

2022’s Church Army Christmas card was inspired by the ‘driving force’ behind our activities. With the vision for everyone everywhere to encounter God’s love, the nativity story seems like a good place to start to illustrate that message. The concept of the inn keeper making room for Mary and Joseph, and the Star of Bethlehem guiding the way for the three wise men, ties in with Church Army’s activities through our projects and many Centres of Mission.

Over the years (140 to be exact!), Church Army have empowered individuals to transform our communities through faith shared in words and action. To symbolise our heritage and contribution during the World Wars, Mary and Joseph are guided by the historical tea van to the Wilson Carlile Centre. Based in Sheffield, this building is Church Army’s centre of operations which also offers catering and accommodation. The mobile canteen depicted in the illustration is an American circa 1941 Chevrolet Dubl-Duti Package Delivery Van.

“The invention of the Mobile Canteen van was a turning point for Church Army and vastly expanded the scope of the work. By not being restricted to stationary huts, Church Army Captains and Sisters were able to visit all battle fronts. They regularly visited those posted to remote gun-sites and listening-posts to provide relief from the intense loneliness. These visits brought with them more than just company; they served day and night on the airfields and provided emergency relief to victims of air raid attacks.” (read the full story here).

A lot of our design work is done using software, for this illustration though I decided to draw by hand with good old fashion pencil and paper, then, just like Church Army, the design moved with the times, and I incorporated modern technology to paint with light in a digital software package. Church Army’s brand colour palette was used in a range of transparencies to add depth to the image to draw the audience’s eye from the Mary and Joseph silhouette in the foreground through to the vintage tea van, and then the current day operations at the Wilson Carlile Centre.

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