Painting God’s story: Calvary Baptist mural relates Bible message

Calvary Baptist Church in Russellville has always shared the stories of the Bible, but now children at church have a visual representation, with a hand-painted mural in the children’s department.

The mural begins with the creation of man in the Garden of Eden and continues throughout the Bible, ending with the cross, the empty tomb and Jesus’ ascension.

“We are very excited to have this,” said Calvary Baptist secretary Nancy Harrison. “The kids are going to love it.”

Russellville High School graduate Emily Cooper, of Emily Cooper Studio in Muscle Shoals, completed the mural after members of the church contacted her. Cooper had painted several other church murals, but she said this one was the largest project she has undertaken, with more than 130 feet of mural.

“I was excited to get to use my talent for God and to see what all I could do with this,” Cooper said.

Cooper said the mural took one week to design and seven weeks to complete. Prominent scenes range from the feeding of the 5,000, to David and Goliath, to Jonah and the whale.

All of the animals and people are full-size, which Cooper said was fun but challenging to design and complete.

Cooper said her favorite part of the mural is the scene with Daniel and the lion’s den because of how large the lions are.

She said when she first began working on the mural, she expected it to be great – but it turned out even better than she expected.

“Looking at it is unbelievable, and it just makes me happy to see,” Cooper said. “More than that, it means a lot to me to know that my artwork can bring joy to someone else.”

Harrison said the children’s department is currently off limits because of renovations, so right now the mural is not open for many church members or the public to view. She said the church has been renovating the children’s department since March of this year and hopes to have it ready as soon as possible.

“We are ready to have our children back in here, and having (this mural) will just make it even more exciting,” Harrison said.