Mural a work of faith and charity
by Deirdre Long
dlong@annistonstar.com
Sep 29, 2012 | 3486 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Julia Segars talks to Patricia Armour and her daughter, Nakeshia Duncan, about the mural she painted on the wall of the children’s classroom at First Missionary Baptist Church. Photo: Terry Lamb/The Anniston Star
Julia Segars talks to Patricia Armour and her daughter, Nakeshia Duncan, about the mural she painted on the wall of the children’s classroom at First Missionary Baptist Church. Photo: Terry Lamb/The Anniston Star
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Julia Segars has learned to recognize how the Lord works in her life — “through convergences of people, experiences and ideas,” the vice president of the eastern division of Alabama Power explained in an email. Through a seemingly chance encounter, she became the artist of a new mural in the children’s nursery at First Missionary Baptist Church in Anniston. “I ... find painting a spiritual endeavor, as it frees me from distractions and opens my mind to the voice of God in a way that nothing else does,” Segars wrote.

Last summer, one of Segars’ colleagues at Alabama Power, Patricia Amour, saw the artist on a scaffold painting the mural “Nesting Angel” inside Classic on Noble. This inspired Armour to ask Segars if she would consider painting a mural for their church; Armour’s daughter, Nakeshia Duncan, coordinates the children’s ministry and her husband, Cedric, is the minister. They had been praying for some time about how they could get a mural painted in their nursery.

“I agreed at once to do it, because I don’t have a lot of time to minister in the traditional sense, but painting gives me the opportunity to use my talents for a higher cause in time frames I can manage,” Segars wrote. “When Patricia first talked with me about it, I couldn’t afford to take the time off work until the next summer, but they were willing to wait.”

In the meantime, Segars was working at home on a painting inspired by the lyrics of a song written by her brother. The song, “Snow Files White,” is a reference to her late grandmother and her farm in South Alabama. While listening, Segars reminisced about the closet her grandmother had converted into a bed for visiting grandchildren — Segars was one of 23 — which was dubbed “Lion’s Den.”

“That’s when the idea came to me to make the nursery into a Lion’s Den — a fun, safe place for the children to go,” Segars wrote. “I read up on the Bible story in Daniel, chapter 6, to make sure I could be true to the scripture and still make a fun mural, since the actual lion’s den was not a desired destination. Verse 22 brought it all together for me. ‘My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight…’ The lions did not scare Daniel, and he was confident of his safety because of his innocence.”

The angel in the mural is based on a photograph of Nakeshia’s daughter; Armour had a photo of the child holding a lion cub at a petting zoo.

The mural was dedicated last week, when the church also announced a contribution to the Alabama Power Service Organization, whose members focus their efforts on helping nonprofit groups and charitable projects across the state that promote education, environment and community enhancement and meet critical human needs.

“I have been blessed not only by the time spent painting, but also by the loving reception of this special congregation,” Segars wrote. “The experience is a treasure in my heart, and I hope the mural is a blessing to many generations of children.”
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Mural a work of faith and charity by Deirdre Long
dlong@annistonstar.com

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