Monday, November 23, 2009

An Article about Tatoos at church-Not Kidding -Leave us speechless!!

Tattoos at Mill Creek church pierce skin, soul
A Mill Creek church invited its members to be tattooed during Sunday services.

By Nick Perry

Seattle Times staff reporter


Above: Matt Sawdon covers Erica Armendariz's tattoo with plastic after working on her religious iconography at Sunday's 10:30 a.m. service at the Gold Creek Community Church in Mill Creek. Below left: Armendariz started her tattoo with religious images a year ago.


Erica Armendariz, 24, a hairdresser and member of the church, started her tattoo with religious images about a year ago. She wants to share what she believes in- faith and family- through art. On one arm, there is a guardian angel, a sacred heart, a cross and a ribbon with the words.

Gallery | Gold Creek Community Church tattoo service
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The sight of a woman being tattooed live on the altar accompanied by the sound of a buzzing ink gun provided a startling backdrop to Sunday's evangelical sermon.

Your parent's church service this was not. In the drive to stay relevant, the Gold Creek Community Church has been hosting a series called "Permanent Ink" that featured Sunday's live-tattoo finale.

The Mill Creek church is not exactly staid — booming 20-minute rock sets launch regular sermons — yet the pastors acknowledge this series was pushing societal norms.

"We've said from the start that we are not advocating tattoos — nor discouraging them," said pastor Larry Ehoff.

"We think of it as amoral. It's neither immoral nor moral, it's just the choice of a person."

Ehoff said the church is telling the same story of Jesus as always, it's just finding different ways to tell it.

Sharon Snell was one of several congregants who volunteered to be tattooed Sunday. At the noon service, she got on stage and faced away from about 150 parishioners while tattoo artist Matt Sawdon worked on the image of a police shield on her lower back.

It was Snell's third tattoo and represents her husband's work as an Everett police officer. Snell said last month's shooting death of Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton forced her to confront the fragility of life and the dangers inherent in her husband's job.

"Anything can happen at any time," Snell said. "Him being an officer is a big part of my life and of who I am."

As Snell's tattoo took shape, pastor Dan Kellogg told the congregation that permanent markings, both good and evil, are mentioned in the Bible. The most famous symbol, he said, is "666," the sign of the devil.

But there's also mention in the Bible of markings on Jesus, saying he is the king of kings and lord of lords, Kellogg said.

Another congregant who volunteered was Erica Armendariz, who was getting work done on an arm tattoo she calls her "faith sleeve."

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