Leavenworth pastor’s calligraphy a gift to his congregation

Mark Rountree
The Leavenworth Times
Pastor Tim Hutabarat of Southern Heights United Methodist Church is shown with examples of his calligraphy.

Growing up in Indonesia, Tim Hutabarat learned the fine art of calligraphy.

These days, the pastor at Southern Heights United Methodist Church in Leavenworth is sharing his work with members of his congregation.

Each of his 80 parishioners will receive a free, hand-crafted placard with their name carefully and creatively drawn. Calligraphy is a decorative form of handwriting and penmanship.

“I love to help people, make them feel better,” said Hutabarat, who has served at Southern Heights United Methodist Church for the last eight years. “They seem to like it, and I love doing it for them.”

He said it takes about one hour to complete the calligraphy artwork for each person’s name.

Hutabarat said the COVID-19 pandemic reduced church service attendance, but he is seeing signs that people are beginning to feel safe enough to return to church.

“I just thought these signs would be nice to give to people, welcoming them back,” he said.

“Pastor Tim is so amazing,” said Melinda Slavens, a member of the church. “He truly cares about his congregation. He has handmade each member a sign with their name in calligraphy. It is such a meaningful expression of his love.”

During each church service, Hutabarat presents about a half dozen name cards to parishioners.

Hutabarat said that he does calligraphy “just for fun.” But he said if his artwork inspires people to attend church services, that’s a bonus.

“Pastor Tim plans on continuing to make the name placards and giving them out during worship service every Sunday until every member of the congregation of Southern Heights UMC has a name placard,” said Gladys Folger, church administrative assistant.