Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Urban Abbey Quilt Retreat by Angela Churchill

Dear Urban Abbey members and friends,

I wish you all could have joined us for an amazing Lenten Retreat exploring the artwork "Quilt". On Saturday, Feb 20, Karen Rowe expertly led 9 members of St. George's (6 members and 3 non- members) in an amazing journey of Quilt. We learned first of Kate Rasanoff's inspiration for Quilt which is an icon of St. Michael who's symbols are both the scales of justice and pole with the devil on the end. In exploring this icon Kate really begin to question what this could possible mean and as she sat with these hard questions of how these two aspects are in our world simultaneously the first piece of Quilt was born. Quilt now consists of six or seven panels each exploring an injustice such as violence against women, the relationship between rich and poor or the rapid loss of people, languages and diversity in the world. And at the same time she sews, glues, embroiders hope love and justice into each piece. Having the entire morning to explore and respond to Quilt barely gave us time to embrace two or three of the "books" as Kate calls each panel. We spent the last hour together expressing our response to quilt by creating our own piece using a wide variety of materials such as yarn, felt, paper, lace, materials, and ribbons. To conclude the morning we each offered our own piece of quilt to God for a specific person, need or injustice to the world. We placed our piece prayerfully on the alter. After seeing the beautiful piece created and the issues that were offered to God in prayer, our simple response was "Let it be. Amen. Let it be."

It was a very powerful and meaningful experience for me personally. If you have not done so already I highly recommend you stop by St. George's church any day of the lenten season and experience Quilt for yourself. It is probably best absorbed when there are not hundreds of people around. Keep in mind Lent is a time where we reflect on the sins and challenges in our lives as we cleanse our hearts in preparation for the great gift of Easter. We are more likely to value the gift of Easter when we have spent time exploring our own internal pockets of resistance to union with God. Quilt is a corporate expression of many evils in the world that separate us from God but every loving stitch is also an expression hope and love that God provides to heal us as individuals and as a people. Please take advantage of having this piece in our midst. I look forward to spending time with the piece on many occasions during this season. Karen Rowe will be sharing more about Quilt on March 7th at the Adult Forum (10 am at St. George's). Please mark your calendar. Knowing and understanding Quilt makes it all the more powerful.

Blessings on your Lenten journey, Angela

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