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.’
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.
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!
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.
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.”
Last January, a long time, much loved member of our congregation passed away. I officiated the funeral and was handsomely renumerated. Her favourite time of year was Christmas, she always did it up BIG! I told the family that I would like to do something in her memory.
So, here was my vision. Our congregation has a quilting group that managed to pull me into their creative circle. I approached them with the request that ten banners be quilted to decorate the worship space of the church. They agreed and asked that I provide some sort of ‘pattern.’ It was my hope that everyone would use somewhere in the skyscape the same fabric, purchased by me, to give some continuity through all the banners and they were free to use other fabrics I had available or fabric from their own stashes. The lightest colours fabric was to begin at the bottom of their banner and gradually get darker toward the top. The stars were Friendship Stars and could be placed as suited them. My hope was that the pattern was just a guide and that each quilter would use their own creativity and imagination.
Following is the progress on my own banners.
Top for the 48″ x 64″ banner intended for the left side of the sanctuary
Full view of banner in process of being quilted
Smaller 36″ x 48″ banner in process of being quilted
These larger quilts are 48″ by 64″. They hang at the front of the sanctuary, and so are larger so they can be seen, since no one sits in the front pews…
The below eight quilts are 36″ by 48″. Some of the ladies embroidered the words with machines using a free motion foot. Others hand stitched the lines from favourite Advent and Christmas hymns.
Regrettably the lines do not show up well, but do encourage viewers to come take a closer look.