This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Hannah McConnell,
FPCE director of worship and music.

Dear friends,

This Sunday as you pass by the Chancel on your way to Fellowship Time, please pause, admire, and reflect on the story of the beautiful Quilt that adorns the Chancel Table. Once upon a time, back in the sunshine-soaked days of August…

…the Spirit brought the idea of a community quilt to Caryl Weinberg and Pastor Amanda together, as they were in a planning session one morning in Room 213. Caryl was so inspired by the thought she quickly ordered the material for this “quilt of many colors” from a small quilters’ shop in Texas.  

Next, it was your friendly Worship Director’s role to “drive” the project, soon finding the Worship Council to be wildly in support of such a beautiful symbolic effort. Within the Council, the Smith sisters-in-Christ graciously agreed to share their gifts of needle and thread with the congregation Kaci in her gorgeous embroidery on the large “First Pres” patch, and Carol in the daunting prospect of assembling the as-yet-unknown blocks into an as-yet-unknown pattern and whole. These ladies, wielding their rulers, met and measured and planned. But what would they end up having in hand to make into the completed whole? 

Suddenly September came, and it was Kick-Off Sunday. Your Worship Director, having enjoyed the artistic contributions of her choir members on the initial quilt pieces, realized the vast artistic potential being drawn that day to the delicious potluck lunch on offer that morning. And, so, a table was quickly installed outside entry to the communal meal, and as the morning unfolded, congregants of all ages added their signatures, symbols, slogans, and stories to the patches.  

Over the next week, even more folks added their individual stamp to a fabric square. Carol Smith came by to collect the beautiful, still motley, collection of patches, then over the next week and a half transformed the many various pieces into a glorious whole in a beautiful sub-textual picture of Colossians 2:2: “I want their hearts to be…united in love.”  

Stitch by stitch, she lovingly combined our individual patches together into one splendid quilt.  

After the last hem was completed, Carol passed the quilt along to Sherri Koenig, who arranged it on the beautiful altar table at which we shared the Lord’s Supper on World Communion Sunday and read together the great vision of Apostle John: “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9) 

In many of our favorite Scripture passages, we often contemplate other commendations of community, teamwork, and unity in Christ… “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:1)…”I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6)… “As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 20:21)… “There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). 

As we walk by the quilt this Sunday — and pause for a moment to look closer and to consider its story — may the Spirit whisper an encouragement to continue growing together into the unity and love that Christ prayed for us. In this, may we follow him more nearly day by day, stitch by stitch.

I’ll be glad to see you there!

Hannah McConnell

Director of Worship & Music/Choir Director

© 2023 First Presbyterian Church of Evanston

Church Theme by VamTam Themes

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