Church adds functional work of art

Bill Peters, Michele Pawlik, Leanne Reed, Robin Metz; and back: artist Jordan Smith and Ted Metz with the Montevallo Presbyterian Church's new bike rack. (Contributed)

Bill Peters, Michele Pawlik, Leanne Reed, Robin Metz; and back: artist Jordan Smith and Ted Metz with the Montevallo Presbyterian Church’s new bike rack. (Contributed)

By MICHELLE ADAMS / Community Columnist

Montevallo Presbyterian Church recently held a dedication ceremony for its newly installed bicycle rack. The term “bicycle rack,” though, hardly seems to adequately describe this sculptural masterpiece, which beautifully marries environmental conservation, an honor in memoriam and artistic integrity.

Made of recycled and salvaged materials, including post-consumer recycled steel, the bicycle rack is an extension of the church’s dedication to energy conservation. In 2008, the church established a Green Team, which conducted an environmental audit of church activities and made improvements to diminish its environmental impact as part of its mission to care for creation, and received the EPA Energy Star for Congregations in 2010.

“Our church’s concerted focus on energy efficiency has saved thousands of dollars over recent years in utility usage,” Pastor Leanne Pearce Reed said. “From those savings, we are able to support mission work, further improvements to better conserve energy and complete projects like our new bicycle rack.”

This newest addition to the church grounds developed from an idea to install more bike racks around town presented at a meeting in which church member Michele Pawlik was in attendance. She brought the idea to Green Team leader Bill Peters, Pastor Reed and other church members, which culminated in the bike rack’s creation by University of Montevallo graduate Jordan Smith.

“Jordan had taken a course on public art with Dr. Ted Metz,” Reed said. “Through the course, he learned how to propose a design suggestion for art for the public. His real-world suggestion for us, and ultimately, what he accomplished was to form functionality yet artistically mirror the architecture of the church.”

The bike rack supports the church’s continued commitment to remaining energy efficient, provides a place to park bikes for congregants, should they choose to cycle to church activities, and also honors the memory of a loved one. The centerpiece’s bicycle frame was donated by Robin Nance Metz in honor of her late daughter, Georgia Richards, who owned the bike.

“Montevallo Presbyterian Church appreciates what the city has done to promote outdoor activities, including the Vallocycle program and the trail system,” Reed said. “We feel our bike rack contributes to the beauty of the community and the church grounds through its aesthetic charm, as well as represents our congregants and our commitment to care for the Earth.”