Liturgies for   Hope

* More about this Project
Liturgies for Hope started as an act of defiance against fear. As New York City teetered on the brink of the COVID-19 crisis, two friends asked each other: What can we, lovers of words, create to recognize and defy the darkness? Unsettled by the flood of frightening headlines, unhelpful think pieces, and mindless escapism, they began to wonder if they, as writers, could draw from a deeper, time-tested well.

Old prayers, rooted in the liturgical tradition, proved to be a catalyst for their writing. Designed to be read and recited in community, these liturgical prayers address the turmoils of the human heart and point toward the steady, evergreen truth of God’s presence promised in Scripture. Christians wrote these prayers generations ago, looking around at the collapsing world and resolving to offer something more beautiful and trustworthy. Something true. The two friends wanted to create a similar offering for Church of the City New York.

So, with morning light spilling on their pens (read: keyboards) and paper-cut-fingers turning through their Bibles, they both asked God to help put form to the shapeless depths of grief in their community, to point their eyes to words of comfort and wonder in Scripture, and to reorient their own hope to its true Source. They pray these liturgies help others press into the ache of holy longing, and equip readers with words and promises they can repeat back to their loving Creator.
Colophon (note on design)
Designing a set of “digital liturgies” presents a series of strange and interesting challenges: How can something usually read aloud in unison, or printed in old, yellowed pages, be translated into a digital design? How does one lend weight to words meant to be read in repetition, meditation, or contemplation? And finally, how does one create a website meant to be steadying and evergreen, addressing anxieties being faced around the world?

Visual inspiration for this came from an ineffable sense of something printed ten years ago—that poem your mom had photocopied from the library and taped to a mirror ten years ago… or an old book filled to the brim with handwritten notes. Like those warping, fading pieces of paper, we wished for our liturgies to be something familiar and bright—easy to return to. The web design is meant to be content and legibility-first, with modest design choices to support a sense of print-like physicality and timelessness.

Color choices were informed by a bright and varied late 20th-century palette, inspired by modernist optimism, pastel photocopy paper, and the 1980s packaging of Japanese food bar CalorieMate. The final color selection for each liturgy was drawn from Dictionary of Color Combinations, originally published by designer Sanzo Wada in the 1930s (available at Printed Matter here). Each liturgy’s background animates between two colors in a steadying rhythm of hue and tone.

For typefaces, EB Garamond provides stolid (and open-source) legibility, while a handwritten typeface gives it a warm human touch beyond the margins. This typeface—Shake—was created from the real, shaking handwriting of the designer’s mother, and published to raise awareness for her and all patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Its hopeful warmth feels perfect for a moment where the world itself feels a little sick and shaky. 

Shake is available at with all proceeds going to finding a cure. This article on It’s Nice That has a little more background.
Who We are ~ Church of the City New York
We are a community of followers of Jesus, based in New York City. Our vision and our desire is to see “the fame and deeds of God renewed and known in our time” (Habakkuk 3:2). To that end, we live as those who pursue God’s presence in our midst, and practice the Way of Jesus in our time and place, to bring spiritual, social, and cultural renewal to the city. Learn more about us at our website.
Special Thanks
Thank you to everyone who helped make this project a reality: Audrey Elledge and Elizabeth Moore, Joyce Chang, Christen Smith, Megan Carroll, Flora Baik, Laura Cave, Jeff Woldan, Jon Tyson, Ashley Anderson, and Chris Lo.

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Church of the City New York