Thursday, May 24, 2007

ecclesiastical stole

This stole was a gift to a minister who was leaving my church congregation in London, Ontario. Two churches had amalgamated, and the agreement at the outset was that one of the ministers would move on, six months after amalgamation.

One Sunday morning shortly after the amalgamation I was chatting with Marilyn (the departing minister) before worship, and I happened to ask her about the colour of her stole that day. Marilyn began to explain the various liturgical colours, and as I listened to her rhyme off the seasons of the church year I realized she hadn’t mentioned Advent.

It turned out Marilyn didn’t have an Advent stole, which should be blue in colour. In a lighthearted mood, I asked her if she wanted one. The moment passed, but later that morning during the service I realized that an Advent stole would make a wonderful gift. Being an experienced sewer, I was inspired to create a unique present for the amalgamated congregation to give to Marilyn.

I envisioned a blue stole made of patchwork; only later, in a conversation with another church member, did I discover that Marilyn was also a quilter. All but one of the many blue fabrics included in this stole was recycled from used clothing.

In total, the stole took about 25 hours to design and sew. The colours of the stole remind me of Amish garments. The ends of the stole, and the point at the back, are inspired by “Nine Patch” blocks in traditional patchwork quilting.

The text embroidered along the length of the stole is a verse of scripture from the book of Luke - Chapter 1, verse 38 - where the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a child. Mary's reply is: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

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