Faith albums record the presence of God - Catholic Courier

Faith albums record the presence of God

With an estimated 25 million enthusiasts, scrapbooking is a hot hobby right now, according to the Craft and Hobby Association.

The craft is all about preserving memories, and scrapbookers do this by using photographs, stickers, patterned papers and a variety of other tools. Scrapbooking has turned into a $2.5 billion dollar industry with about 4,000 independent stores selling scrapbooking supplies in the United States, according to the association.

“I think that people really want to preserve their memories so future generations know about them and their lives. It’s kind of like getting back to basics,” said Terri Martone, co-owner of Scrapbook Creations in Fairport.

While scrapbooking has become a booming business, another approach to preserving memories has also quietly gained popularity. Faithbooking — as it is often called — is not only about preserving memories and photographs but is also about leaving a record of the ways God has worked in a person’s life, said Kimberli Brackett.

Brackett is a member of Faithbuilders — a ministry of Christian women who teach nondenominational retreats and seminars about women’s spirituality — and works as a consultant for scrapbooking company Creative Memories. On the surface, scrapbooking and faithbooking appear similar. Each involves putting photographs into an album and writing a few thoughts about the memories represented in the albums, but the similarities end there, Brackett said.

A faith album’s purpose is to glorify God, so journal entries should explain how God’s presence and work can be seen in the accompanying photographs, Brackett said. Instead of simply recording the basic information about what is happening in a photograph, faithbookers try to look at it through God’s eyes and show future generations what an individual’s journey with the Lord has looked like, she added.

Emphasis in a faith album is placed on the spiritual aspect of the pages instead of the decorative aspect, said Sandra Joseph, president of Reminders of Faith, a publishing company specializing in the Christian scrapbook market. Scrapbookers are often concerned about using the latest techniques and creating complex layouts for their scrapbook pages. Ten years from now those pages might be out of style, but the memories written upon the pages of a faith album will always have value, she said.

“We’re not concerned about the beauty of the page … it’s the stories that are so important,” Joseph said.

In a scrapbook she made many years ago, Joseph’s grandmother wrote about the emotional struggles her husband endured when the family was quarantined with polio. Joseph’s grandfather thought he’d done something wrong to cause his family’s illness, and he struggled with his faith, Joseph said. Reading this story helped Joseph gain a deeper understanding of her grandfather, which she would not have received by simply looking at his photograph.

“He was a man who was faithful to God. He struggled through it, persevered through it, and that makes him so real,” Joseph said. “That’s what’s important to know; that’s what helps us hang onto our faith. Yes, we’ve had to struggle, but yes, God was faithful, and the same God will be faithful to you.”

In this way the Bible can be considered a scrapbook or faith album because it gives us a record of the early Christians’ struggles and lives, she added. Both Joseph and Brackett believe Christians are called through the Bible to leave a record of God’s hand in their lives for future generations. In the fourth chapter of the Book of Joshua, God told the Israelites to leave 12 stones by the bank of the Jordan river to remind their ancestors of the way he had helped them cross the river. Faith albums can be the “stones” of our generation, Joseph said. Chapter 78 of the Book of Psalms reminds God’s people to tell future generations about his power and praise-worthy deeds.

“We have taken that as verbally and forgotten that the most permanent way we can do that is to write things down. It’s this real easy way to show what God has done in our lives,” Brackett said.

Any photograph can be used in a faith album, Joseph said. For example, pictures from a trip to the Rocky Mountains might be paired with a Scripture verse about the wonder of God’s works, acknowledging that God created the mountains, Joseph said. A faith album can also include prayers, inspirational quotes and journal entries about the spiritual markers in one’s own life, Brackett said.

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