Woodcraft & Spirituality

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10).
Using one’s talents to glorify God, being inspired and to inspire others, is the essence of a true gift – recognising that a gift is given by God.

Maria Assumpta Parish in Beach Haven, Auckland, is blessed to have an artist who has been active in the parish as a musician and carver of wood and bone.

Bill Verryt recalls his first venture into wood carving when he was a Boy Scout leader: “I cut a manuka thumb stick for tramping and started decorating it whilst sitting around campfires on tramping expeditions. The stick has been with me and added to for forty-five odd years. The carvings all depict aspects of my life, my family, my church, my scouting, my many travels throughout NZ, my origins in Holland, my art, my music, and much more. It has become precious to me.”

Many years later, when Maria Assumpta church was built and an old house that was used as a temporary church was demolished, Bill Verryt managed to save some Kauri. Over many years, he used this wood to carve figurines for a Nativity set.

In his daytime job as graphic artist and latterly in wood turning and manufacture, he once almost lost fingers in a work accident. That’s when his attention was drawn to his hands, and how important they were for his life. His dream of creating stations of the cross in his retirement took form: “Contemplating on this I realised that throughout the life of Jesus, His hands featured many times in Scripture. I had my inspiration and theme and started to carve.”

Bill Verryt finished the carvings of the stations of the cross in his own time. Once he had finished them, he brought them to Maria Assumpta parish and showed them to his fellow parishioners.
Everyone was amazed and fascinated by the beautifully carved, relatively small square stations of the cross. When he was about to put his artwork back into a box, Beate Matthies asked for permission to write reflections on these stations. This was the beginning of a new project.

Recently, Bill Verryt brought his most precious artwork to Maria Assumpta: the tramping stick with his very personal carvings, the nativity set made of the wood of a temporary church, and the stations of the cross focussing on hands.
Thanks to the reflections on these stations written by Beate Matthies, the pictures of these stations are available in small booklets which are available in several languages through Titipounamu Study & Joy.

BM