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Last updated on March 8th, 2024

UPDATE: In January a decision was reached by the Altar committee regarding the artist of choice: Michelle Reid, from Kingston, Ontario. Offer accepted and Michelle is eager to get started.

Michelle Reid is an award-winning Canadian artist who has quickly become recognized for her unique abstract-impressionism. Her contemporary landscape paintings in oil are distinct, vibrant, and full of hope. Examples of Michelle Reid’s artwork can be found here:

Michelle visited the church in February, the Altar committee welcomed her with a potluck luncheon meeting, walk on the lakeshore and engaged in discussions to provide final inspiration and guidance for the artwork. The artwork will be a triptych (set of 3) pieces that will fill the altar space.

December 16, 2023 -The Altar Art Committee extended the deadline for submissions of interest to November 15, 2023. By the October deadline, they already received 6 responses from artists who are interested in working on our Altar Art Project. They will be reviewing submissions mid-December and aim to submit a final selection for review/approval to Church Council mid-to-end of January 2024.

Expression of Interest Document [PDF ] April 15, 2023

May 16, 2023 – Leanne and Kristin showed us the space for Altar Art in a Call for Submission due Oct 15, 2023 [Video]  Please share our Call for Submissions [PDF] poster far and wide. Thank you.


Expression of Interest Document – Altar Art Project

The purpose of this document is to inform artists of the opportunity to work together with the Martin Luther Church on their Altar Art Project, as well as to provide interested parties with the appropriate background knowledge and overview of the Altar Art committee’s selection criteria so that they may express their interest in the commission.

The Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church is a Lutheran congregation in Mimico, Etobicoke founded by German immigrants to Canada in the 1950s. Now the “Lutherans by the lake” this resilient multi-lingual con- gregation aims to serve the local population and wider German-speaking diaspora in Toronto both spiritually and in mission.

The church building is located at 2379 Lake Shore Blvd West between the major intersections of Lake Shore and Royal York Rd, and the rapidly gentrifying Humber Bay Shores area of Lake Shore Blvd West and Park- lawn Rd. This location is historically significant as the first church building purchased by the founders of our congregation, geographically a short walk from Lake Ontario and the Martin Goodman Trail, and demographically situated at the intersection points of communities with diverse cultures, socioeconomic circumstances, gifts, and needs.

Although still a German Lutheran church with a strong core of German membership, the make-up and mission of the Martin Luther Church has changed over the last decade and continues to evolve through outreach and partnerships. Our full mission statement: “Lutherans by the lake, celebrating faith, serving and inspiring people” reflects the place we want to continue to hold and fill with our intentions, actions, and facilities.

Martin Luther Church Toronto is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC): , and partners with the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD).

More about our history, on our website at Our Church History and 50 Year Anniversary book and our 60th Anniversry booklet.

In early 2018, a member of the congregation made a generous donation for the express purpose of the cre- ation of an “altar picture”, a piece of art to be placed above, on, or behind the altar. This donation was the impetus for a larger renovation of the sanctuary and altar area, which would address the current needs of the congregation and compliment the altar art.

Over the last several years, this original sanctuary renovation project has expanded to include more parts of the building, with multiple committees hard at work consulting with stakeholders and working together with our partner Martin Luther Child Care, as well as architects, engineers, and consultants to bring the vision to fruition.

In the spring of 2022, a group of designers and artists from the congregation came together to form a committee dedicated solely to the altar art portion of the project. This group has collaboratively decided on the parameters of the project and the selection process and so produced this document Expression of Interest [PDF].

For a piece of art to fill the space behind the altar which will be visible throughout the sanctuary and reflect the mission statement of the Martin Luther Church and to support the purpose of inspiring the congregation and all who visit the sanctuary space for worship and reflection.

Preferred proponent to be chosen in early 2024 to then work with the congregation until the work is completed, approximately 6 months after the selection is announced.

General parameters
Our faith, the material and images already present in the space, and the beauty of creation (especially given our proximity to the natural element of Lake Ontario’s shores) should inform the piece. We are particularly partial to water, tree, or light related imagery in keeping with our geographic and spiritual context, and imagery from the Bible that honours our Lutheran beliefs and values.

Spiritual inspiration

Being Sheltered (Gen 6,9-13, 17)
If you enter the sanctuary of our church, the first thing you will notice is the presence of wood in the architecture. The arch of our ceiling may make you feel as if you are in a ship. Noah survived an ancient flood on his ark that was big enough to fit his family and two animals of every kind – a story full of wonder and images. Think of the birds sent over the sinking waters after the storm to find signs of life like an olive branch and the rainbow in the sky after the flood that symbolizes the promise of God to his people: Never will there be anything as catastrophic as this ever again. Many of the founders of this church came over the North Atlantic Ocean on big ships that brought them to new horizons. The water carried them, so that after World War II and all it’s horrors they could start fresh, and like Noah, find firm ground beneath their feet.

Worshiping by the Lake (Matthew 14,22-33)
Believers experience mysterious things in and around bodies of water, and the Bible has many stories to proof that notion. Once Jesus appears to his disciples after their boat is shaken by strong winds far out on the lake. He walks over to them on the water. They do not recognize him at first because it in the middle of the night and they think he is a ghost. Peter asks to come out to the water to test Jesus, and miraculously, he finds he can defy the element like his master and walk on water. Suddenly, he is spooked by the wind and starts to sink. He cries out to his master and is immediately pulled up by Jesus, who then asks him we he doubted him. Water can carry us but also leaves us feeling afraid and in awe. In the light of faith things may appear differently for us than they seem at first glance. Sometimes our doubts rob us of magnificent water walking moments. Nevertheless, Jesus brought his disciples dawn and so will he bring us the light of each new day.

Existing materials and images:

Inside the sanctuary: 1. Nave looks like a ship’s hull interior; 2. Gothic arches in the doors and pews; 3. Wooden liturgical furniture; 4. Wooden pews and the organ 5. Stained glass windows -See at

Outside natural inspiration: Humber Bay, Lake Ontario

The Space
The current altar niche has the following dimensions. The art piece must fit, both physically and proportionally

Side A: 155” Side B: 189” Side C: 72.5” Width: 69” Height X: 92”

The Project Considerations
The piece must be reverent and representative of our Lutheran faith, values, and traditions, as well as re- spectful of our specific congregational history and present mission.

Artistic mediums
The committee will consider sustainable and permanent single and mixed media (e.g. painting, sculpture, installation, metal, wood, lighting, ceramic) for the project. The materials and installation must be durable and long-lasting. No materials prone to degradation or decomposition will be considered. The proposal must consider how the art will be adequately cleaned and maintained. The proposal must consider how the art will interact with the current lighting and power infrastructure or specify any new lighting design ideas.

Visibility and accessibility

It is important that the piece be large and clear enough to be seen and fully appreciated from any seat in the sanctuary to preserve the principles of accessibility.

Expressions of interest will be due October 15, 2023. Candidates are to be selected and notified by end of November 2023, and then interviewed and asked to submit a proposal. A final choice of preferred proponent will be made before the spring of 2024, at which point the design process can begin. The final design will be approved by the congregation and/or its representatives. The design, construction, and installation should take no longer than six months after the selection of the preferred proponent.

Budget and Fees
The Project Budget is up to $8000 (incl. HST). This will include materials, installation, and artists fees.

Those selected from the expression of interest phase will be contacted to inteview and submit a proposal proposal and will compensated with an honorarium for their work and time.

Selection Process and Criteria
The selection process begins with the distribution of the Expression of Interest document on April 17, 2023. Interested artists may submit their information to the committee, from which a shortlist will be drafted. The shortlisted artists will be contacted for an interview and asked to prepare specific proposal materials, for which compensation will be provided. The content of the interviews will be evaluated by the committee and an individual or group will be selected to collaborate with the congregation through congregational approval.

Requirements for the expression of interest
The following is required of artists to submit their expression of interest to the committee:

– 10 images of your body of work representative of your style, media, and skills
– Brief biography
– Resume
– Paragraph or less detailing your interest in the project
– Any links to social media or website

Email the above information in the body of the email with jpg. or png. images attached, or as a compiled and attached PDF document with the subject line: Altar Art Expression of Interest to by October 15th 2023. Please send files that exceed 10MB via a download link.

Criteria for proposals
Proposals will be evaluated on the adherence to project background and parameters. Further information will be provided to the artists shortlisted from the expression of interest phase in late November 2023. An honorarium will be provided to those asked to prepare proposals.

Please contact with any questions or concerns.

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