The beginning of
The San Antonio Lutheran Coronation
Fifty years ago, a youth worker had an idea for a fun event with the Luther League at St. John’s Lutheran Church. The event involved the young ladies of the Luther League in formal gowns, with the young men escorting them as they gracefully displayed their dresses. The event was well received. Each year, the youth worker saw the event grow more elaborate, and soon, the young women were sewing appliques onto their gowns. Eventually, the dresses were designed to display the best appliques that told the story of a far-away place or a mysterious culture.
Young women from other churches became interested in the yearly event as time passed. The San Antonio Lutheran Coronation became a grand evening displaying the young youth worker’s talented themed designs.
Farrell Tyson had a heart filled with beauty and the rare gift of being able to translate the beauty inside him into flowing, story-filled gowns. Under his direction, the Lutheran Coronation consistently provided inspirational, intricate works of art made from textiles, jewels, beads, and hard work. These gowns each played a dual role: as artwork and a teaching tool. Each year, Farrell taught us topics he had thoroughly researched: symbols of our faith, African culture, parades from around the world, Scottish culture, Faberge Eggs of Russia, Arabic stories, and so much more. Each year, we marveled at the beauty of the dresses and the lessons we learned about history, art, and culture.
Farrell’s talent allowed others to be part of his artwork. Over the 50 years of this Lutheran Coronation, hundreds and hundreds of family members have come together around tables piled high with sequins, beads, fabric scraps, and glue guns. Mothers, grandmothers, fathers, siblings, and grandfathers have shared time and laughter while creating the gowns. Parents have drawn awe-filled breaths on the night of many Coronations as the spotlight first illuminated their daughter, suddenly full of poise and confidence as she proudly displayed a robe that came to life from Farrell’s imagination. Young men have donned elegant tuxedos and found themselves involved in the artistry of movement as they escorted young ladies during the display of the gowns.
To Farrell’s memory, we owe our gratitude for his fantastic artwork and teaching. We remember his prodigious imagination and loving heart. We give thanks for the many lives he touched with an incandescent personality and offer our prayers that the relationships formed around the creation of his gowns will serve to strengthen families and communities in Christ’s name.