May 19, 2024

Mar. 10—ELKHART — For the third year, an artistic fundraiser event returned to First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart.

The church hosted a Ukrainian Egg Decorating, or “Pysanky,” event Sunday afternoon. Pastor Sally Wicks said that this year the event has a combined focus.

“It’s for Ukraine and for those suffering from the Gaza/Israel war,” she said, shortly before the event got underway.

Wicks said that they were maxed out, with 123 people having signed up for the event and another 25 on a waiting list.

The event, previously hosted in the downstairs Contemporary Christian area, was moved to the church sanctuary due to renovations.

Cindy Vanderwerk, Elkhart, took part in the event for the first time.

“I think they’re beautiful and I want to see how others can do it,” she said about the Pysanky eggs.

Wicks said that Pysanky, or “Pysanka” in singular form, is an old type of folk art, which was adopted when Christianity was brought to Ukraine, eventually moving to Russia, Bulgaria and other Slavic nations. At the event, eggs were set up at tables, with about four dozen in reserve, and each participant used three components to decorate their egg — a candle, a “kistka” and a small portion of bees wax. After the first portion, decorators would bring their eggs to the dyeing station, at the back of the sanctuary, and video monitors were set up around the sanctuary to help with instruction.

“My mother was an artist and she had a friend who was Ukrainian,” Wicks said during the introduction, reflecting on fond childhood memories of learning the art form while growing up in the Detroit area, eventually teaching it herself when she became a pastor.

Cheryl Miller volunteered at the dyeing, or coloring station.

“I do the coloring station every year,” she said.

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