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.
I’m being very deliberate in attempting to finish some projects. I’ve had these bow tie blocks finished for some time. I bought four charm packs of Seasons Gatherings in Fort St. John, BC over four years ago. I love this fabric, it began my love for reproduction/traditional/civil war type fabrics.
I had no motivation to finish this one since I didn’t have anyone in mind to give it to, and I didn’t have suitable fabric for the back. When we moved into the new house we needed living room furniture. A local furniture store was having a sale and we picked up a lovely chocolate brown leather couch, chair and loveseat. This quilt compliments perfectly, recipient me!
I pieced the back with more Seasonal Gatherings fabric. I used a variegated thread for the quilting – perfect on the solid black back. The only drawback is a solid colour shows all the dog hair, so don’t look too close.
Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
It has been a long time in the making. At least two years in the praying and the asking. I have been called to a new congregation. It was finalized by Presbytery in May, the next day the house went on the market and we began packing it up in earnest.
The new church is much closer to family, in a city, no less! That is amazing to me. I always expected to remain in rural ministry. Even though women have been ordained as Ministers of Word and Sacrament in this denomination for over fifty years, there is still an old boys’ club and patriarchal mentality that firmly hold the glass ceiling in place. I am not sure if I am now above or below the glass, but I am thrilled to be here. God is good. There are so many opportunities for great things to be done, I am blessed to be in this place and looking into the future with excitement and enthusiasm.
Leaving my previous congregation was bittersweet. There are a number of people I will dearly miss. As a gift of leave taking for myself, I quilted a string quilt and asked everyone to sign it. It lies draped over the back of a chair in my new office.
It reminds me of things accomplished, that people are not all cut from the same cloth, that united we are beautiful and serve a purpose, that even scraps and odd and ends are useful, and that errors and mistakes can only be seen with extremely close inspection (and in the larger scheme of things, don’t matter in the slightest bit).
Isaiah 42:9 See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.
The Mystery Quilt is quilted, bound, washed and in the dryer on a very low setting. Tomorrow night it will be one of the silent auctions at a fundraiser for youth. The binding was hand stitched on this morning as I watched the Canada – USA men’s semi-final hockey game at the Sochi Olympics. Our boys dominated. It was a good game, worthy of being a final game for gold. Our women won gold in hockey against the USA yesterday. A nail biter, we were trailing 2-0 with four minutes left in the third. They tied it up with less than a minute to go, and scored a beauty to win in overtime.
A seminary classmate recently became a Canadian citizen. We exchanged comments on facebook the day of his swearing in. He said he felt conflicted over which country to cheer for since he now has dual citizenship. It got me to thinking about loyalty and what binds us. He has been an American all his life. We graduated from seminary at the same time. He had married while he was studying and recently he and his wife were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. Are relationships the glue, the possibilities provided through education opportunities, the ability to build a good life, freedom to make choices, love? What is it that forms and shapes our loyalty and love for country. Is it nostalgia, because this is the place of first breaths and discovery of the world’s wonder, the taste of fresh wild strawberries, the sound of the robin’s praise from the top of the maple tree bright with spring green leaves? Is it learning the national anthem through a daily repetition with classmates, to swim in clean, cool waters, to fall asleep to rain’s gurgle and drip on the roof? What is it that spawns patriotism?
Proverbs personifies loyalty and faithfulness. There appears to be some chance that they are fickle, able to forsake. Somehow we are to bind them to ourselves, absorb them into our being and live them for life abundant.
In life’s marvelous quirks and twists, I flip over the corner of the quilt for its portrait and I am reminded of maple leaves. “God keep our land.”
Proverbs 3:3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.