Wrapped in God’s Love


St. John’s has a long standing practice of gifting individuals receiving baptism, graduates of high school and university, and others going through life transitions.  It began with the baptism of infants.  They were given a receiving blanket embroidered with their name and date of birth with the assurance they were, are and will always be ‘wrapped in God’s love.’  In the past recipients were typically children, but since my call to the congregation it has expanded a little.  The recently widowed, widower-ed, moving away or into assisted living were given a prayer shawl or quilt, because in my mind, we are all ‘wrapped in God’s love.’

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Recently in the presbytery there was an ordination of a young woman as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.  It was a month short of my tenth anniversary of my own ordination.  I was reminded of the prayer shawl a congregation in the presbytery gifted me on the night of my ordination.  I had just finished a quilt intended for a congregation member recently entering a nursing home.  Sadly, they only lived a few days beyond the transition.  It is a quilt drenched in prayer and who needs it more than someone newly ordained.

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This was intended to be a simple Trip Around the World quilt.  Once I began placing the blocks on the design wall I decided I had to line up the strip blocks as much as possible.  Durn OCD.  Solving the puzzle was worth it, I think it turned out awesome!

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Exodus 29:29  The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed on to his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them.

Post Christmas – PreChristmas


I’m only a year late posting last Christmas’ quilt and realizing it is time to start thinking about this year’s Christmas projects.  This fabric was another find I couldn’t leave behind.  It was a layer cake I bought at the IQS in Gimli, MB.  The result was a lap quilt to donate to the church’s annual bazaar.

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Alas, it did not sell.  I gifted it to a wonderful and faithful member of the congregation.  She does not get out to Sunday morning worship any longer.  She has type of dementia that she handles fairly well by leaving post-in notes everywhere as a reminder.  She would call me Mondays after she had attended church with appreciative words for the sermon.  Not long after she would call again, same reason.  And then again, and again, until she remembered to throw out the post-in note reminding her to call me to tell me she appreciated my sermon.  It was a blessing.

I gave her this quilt at the end of the bazaar, just as she was preparing to leave.  During her ride home she mentioned to the driver someone had given her a lovely quilt.  The driver answered, “Yes, I know, the minister gave it to you.”

“Did she?!  How thoughtful of her.  A good preacher and generous too!  To bad I won’t remember to thank her.”

Psalm 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.

For the Love of Fabric


As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I am way beyond being a fabric collector.  I see something I like and I buy it, without thought of what it might become, or when I might get around to using it.

Here is another case in point.  I really, really, liked this fabric.  It was the combinations of colours that caught my eye.  They spoke Christmas to me.  Luckily, I belonged to a small gift exchange in the congregation and I made a table runner and four place mats for the church secretary.  She greatly dislikes birds, but assured me these were ‘okay.’

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Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Tired and Retired


 

How does time pass so quickly?  It has been over two years since I have completed a quilt?  If you could see the pile beside the ironing board you might wonder, “How that could be?”  I have at least a half dozen tops that need binding, or sandwiching, or quilting.  Big Sigh!  I have been much too involved with work and just can’t seem to carve out time for hobbies.  I am tired.

May 2018 a colleague retired as the Executive Director of an important mission in the city and accepted a part time position as the Minister of Word and Sacrament for a rapidly growing indigenous congregation.  They refer to themselves as Oji-Irish, walking a blended spiritual journey of Indigenous and Christian belief and ceremony.  A person of great strength and immeasurable compassion.  To honour the occasion I designed this stole and it was gifted at a regular meeting of presbytery.  The colours of the Dakota Star and the cross are those of the Medicine Circle.  There are four bear paw blocks at the bottom of the stole.  These represent the individual as a member of  the Bear Clan. The eagle fabric on the back was chosen as it is part of the recipient’s name.   I know God’s Spirit will rest always upon them and richly bless their ministry.

Jeremiah 6:16 – This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Friendship Ties


Our denomination encourages her clergy to pursue continuing education opportunities.  The seminary from which I received my degree offers courses in the summer that are often of interest.  In July of 2017 I flew west to attend a course on Sacred Dying.  Part of the attraction to return is spending some time with my friend, mentor and now, colleague.  She is wise and faithful, caring and lovely.  I have learned so much from her.  I have had the pleasure of staying with her and her husband on many occasions.  About time I brought a token of my gratitude for their hospitality.

This quilt is similar to one draped over the sofa in our living room.  The bow tie blocks had already been sewn together as an accent wall hanging to complement the throw in the living room.  I couldn’t envision a way of hanging the finished project, it was the width of a block and twenty feet long.  I ripped them apart and reconfigured them into this quilt.  Now my dear friend and I share similar quilts, in fact, the centre block that is slightly different from the rest in the quilt is exactly the same as blocks on the back of my quilt.  We are tied together, in faith, in friendship, in affection.  I give thanks to God for her.

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Stars and Stripes


Over a decade ago I met one of the most interesting people I have come to call a friend.  We met in the Where’s Willy forums.  He is a veteran living in Ohio.  We’ve had some serious heart to heart conversations.  He is intelligent and funny and thoughtful.  He has interesting hobbies, a fascinating life, and a great family.  The popularity of fb gradually lured us to other ways of social media and we don’t connect as much.  I miss it.  While still in northern BC I came across a quilt pattern in a magazine that immediately reminded me of him.  Over three years already!  The cut pieces came with me to Manitoba and I managed to complete the project last summer.  My bad waiting so long to get around to posting once it was completed.  I know it was last summer because that was the summer we had the purple paint petunias bracketing the bench on the front veranda.

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I quite pleased with this one.  I used my favourite sort of fabrics, reproductions of civil war designs – blues that incorporated tiny stars, and red with stripes.  The finished quilt was lap size.  I think that bed size quilts are presuming too much.  First colour preferences, second bed size, and this one was a surprise, so I couldn’t very well ask.

I mailed it off end of summer.  They were surprised, and delighted, I think.  They sent a thank you stating as much, my friend commenting it would be most welcome once the cold weather arrives.  This quilt carried many prayers with it.  Serving in the navy does not come with a plethora of good memories, especially when one serves in a way that sees atrocities done to bodies that no one should.  The thought gives me a heavy heart and an ache in my throat.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to witness the hatred and violence of the world.

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The quilted design of loops and stars was applied by The Quilty Guilt.  So blessed to have a long armer in the house.  This quilt is one of the first to not have a flannel back.

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2 Chronicles 14:13  Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army.

 

A Christmas Wedding


Christmas is always crazy for clergy.  Multiple worship services, parishioners ill because of the weather, wind-up parties, more often than not a funeral, even more rarely a wedding.  Add in all the personal preparations for Christmas and you have a recipe for an abundance of stress and little time to sit still in awe of the reason for the season.

Today there was a wedding.  Lovely, appropriately white and red colour scheme for Christmas.  Two 30 somethings, 14 children between them, tattoos and pretend bling, chaos and nerves.  It has been my practice to give a quilt as a wedding gift.  I had this top finished for some time, the Quilty Guilt quilted it yesterday and I spent the rest of yesterday and this morning binding it.  Turned out beeeeeautiful!  Hubby didn’t think I should give it away, but I did.  It really did turn out nice.

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As usual, I didn’t have enough fabric for the back.  I pieced in an orphan block and a few other odds and sods to make a piece big enough.

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It was quilted with hearts, perfect for a bride and groom.  Wrapped in God’s love in grace I pray them all the best for their new life together.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.