‘The Last Supper’ Carving Returns Home to Clapps Chapel

By Ralphine Major

“What started in an artist’s workshop in Corryton, has traveled the South and made its way back to home,” Dr. Chris Stanfield shared. Dr. Stanfield is the Pastor of Clapps Chapel in Corryton, Tennessee. He was referring to an amazing carving the church acquired recently. One of the artists, Gene Henegar, was a former member of the church and a well-known artist. Two other artists, Jerry Hankins and Paul Henegar, also worked on the carving. According to Dr. Stanfield, the church was blessed to host the carving for a brief time back in the 1970s when it was completed and before it started its traveling tour to different locations. “To the best of our knowledge, the carving has been in churches, ministry centers, organizations, garages, basements, and maybe even a college or museum,” he added. The carving has now made its way back to where it began. It seems quite appropriate that a special dedication service is scheduled for this time of the year—just before Easter.

On Maundy Thursday at 7 p.m., the carving of “The Last Supper” will be installed as an altarpiece at Clapps Chapel, 7420 Emory Road. The welcome and introduction will be given by Tennessee State Representative Dave Wright. Special music will include Shawn White of the Knoxville Symphony; Laura White, pianist; and Ally Rogers, Central High School junior and bassoonist. Rev. Dr. Chris Stanfield will give an interpretation of the theological elements that the carving communicates. “All art communicates something, and sacred art communicates something sacred. This large mahogany carving of ‘The Last Supper’ is a sermon,” Dr. Stanfield said. “The most obvious message the carving communicates is the sacrificial work of Jesus and the New Covenant He established, but there’s much more to this sacred piece. And that’s what the Dedication and Interpretation service will highlight,” he added. Dr. Stanfield holds a doctorate in Art & Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C. Longtime church member Shane Carpenter will dedicate the unique carving and altar installation. The dedication service starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. A Holy Communion service will be held at 6:30 p.m. and is also open to the public. It is quite amazing that such God-given talent could turn a simple piece of wood into a masterpiece! What a blessing awaits those who enter this rural church to see “The Last Supper” carving on Maundy Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. Be blessed this Easter!


Words of Faith: Dr. Stanfield shared this week’s scripture as well as the thought process leading to his selection and a fascinating observation about Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous work. “Initially, the carving will remind you of Da Vinci’s large painting of ‘The Last Supper.’ In fact, his painting was a major inspiration for the carving. However, Henegar and Hankins changed the thrust of the message in their carving from that of Da Vinci’s painting. Da Vinci produced a Christ centered painting on ‘The Last Supper’ that highlights betrayal and is sort of a foreshadowing of the events that would follow. The carving is more of a Christ centered carving on ‘The Last Supper’ that highlights a promise and foreshadows events that have not yet happened. Because of this, the text I see in this carving is Revelation 3:20 (KJV).” That special verse reads as follows: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”