FUMC IOP KNEELER DEDICATION October 21, 2012 Almighty God, thy Son Jesus taught us to pray to thee as Father; bless and hallow these kneelers, that all who use them may grow in prayerfulness and love as thy children; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God world without end. Amen Sometime in 2004, Dolly Cannon and Nancy Wood asked me to lead a church-wide project to stitch needlepoint altar rail cushions for our sanctuary. After prayerful consideration I decided to accept the challenge and the spiritual journey. Our pastor, Rev. Gloria Davis, gave her blessing to proceed. The initial task was to find a designer who would understand the mission and spiritual ethos of our island church. The search would take me from Texas to Florida to Michigan - and finally - back to South Carolina. I soon found that while there are many extraordinary designers, they tended to be oriented to themes more appropriate for high church or for what might be termed cutesy. Very discouraged at the lack of progress, I expressed my frustration to the Rev. Dr. Harlan Wilson, whoâ€™d succeeded Rev. Davis as our Pastor. In his calming manner, he told me of Ms. Linda Mote, a very talented lady in Lexington, South Carolina, whoâ€™d designed kneeler cushions for one of his former churches. This was, indeed, an answer to my prayers. I contacted Ms. Mote in August of 2005, and explained the scope and intent of the project at First Church. She expressed interest and we agreed to meet and have her visit our sanctuary. I felt a genuine affinity from that initial conversation and we moved quickly to a first-name relationship. And so, she brought her lovely portfolio to a very cordial - and productive - session with Dr. Wilson; Laura Sherrill, chair of our Worship Committee; Martha Lammey, chair of the Trustees; Marilyn Lipscomb and me. We perused her portfolio and talked with her about the mission and spirituality of First Church. She asked perceptive questions and took careful notes as she toured and photographed the sanctuary, altar area and stained glass windows. From that, she agreed to make some proposed sketches for us to review.
When Linda brought her beautifully appropriate designs to us, we believed that she had, indeed, captured the Christian imagery and liturgical symbolism appropriate for our island church. We quickly agreed to engage her talents and move forward. Meanwhile, Dolly had agreed to help with securing the necessary funding. Martha secured Trustee approval to retrofit and stabilize the existing altar rail sections. When this was done, Linda returned to make measurements and templates to accommodate the curvature of the altar rails. The linear span of the rails would require eight separate cushions - each with its own distinct design. Within a few months, Linda had painted them and they were ready to be stitched in January 2007. Each cushion includes the quatrefoil - taken from the stained glass sanctuary windows, as well as palm fronds, sea oats and swirling ocean waters. Each also features a centered, focal Christian liturgical symbol and recognizable elements of our coast, including shrimp boats, shells, native birds and - First Church and the Dangerfield Connector Bridge. The following statistics provide a sense of the scope of work that the stitchers accepted. Including the top, front, ends and back - each kneeler has approximately 783 square inches of surface to be covered with individual needlepoint stitches. It takes an experienced stitcher one hour to complete one square inch of the background canvas; and even longer to do the detailed design elements. In other words - each kneeler cushion requires a minimum of 850 hours and 132,327 stitches. And, these numbers don’t include undoing and correcting mistakes. To summarize, the volunteer stitchers spent more than 6800 hours on the eight cushions, painstakingly applying at least 1,058,616 individual needlepoint stitches. Further, over the estimated lifespan of the kneeler cushions, at least one-half million knees will experience prayer, meditation, Holy Communion and the experience of God’s presence. Please treat them with the respect, reverence and joy they deserve. To all the stitchers: Thank you….thank you…thank you! Your commitment of time and talent is the reason we are able to have this special dedication service. No project of this magnitude could be completed so successfully without the love and support of a true church family. To you - and your understanding and patient families - I extend my deepest and most prayerful gratitude and love. From Pattie Frierson, a seasonal resident and volunteer stitcher: This needlepoint has truly been a personal journey for me. It was May 2007, when I made arrangements to pick it up. I was on my way to the airport - my dad had been taken to Piedmont Hospital…I was at Piedmont with him for 31 days, and I stitched through the ICU, Intermediate Care and rehab. The canvas gave me an excellent opportunity to witness as people were always asking what I was working on.
To all the donors: Thank you…thank you…thank you! Simply put - this wonderful project would not have been possible without your generous financial support. To you and for your eagerness to sponsor these remarkable works of art - I extend my deepest and most prayerful gratitude and love. I would be entirely remiss if I didn’t prayerfully acknowledge - with heartfelt thanks John and Marsha Ray. Their willing and tireless support throughout the project just proves further that God does, indeed, send angels. I - personally - and all of the First Church family are deeply indebted to all who have so diligently and indefatigably spent of their talents, time, resources and efforts to bring this project to such successful fruition. With respect, Carlton Whelan October 21, 2012
The Kneelers SHELL WITH THREE DROPS The shell symbolizes baptism and often is depicted in religious art as John pours water over the head of Jesus at his baptism. The three drops represent the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The additional elements are: sand dollar, coquina shell, scallop shell, olive shell and whelk. To the Glory of God and in memory of Dr. Richard Hontz by Dolly Cannon, and by Wayne and Carlton Whelan To the Glory of God and in honor of Inge Baecheler by Dolly Cannon To the Glory of God and in honor of Janet Reed by a visitor To the Glory of God and in honor of all the Saints at First Church by Inge Baecheler, United Methodist Women, Ann and James Kizer, Martha and Jack Lammey and Jo Anne Kensil .
NOAH’S ARK AND RAINBOW From the earliest centuries of Christianity, the ark of Noah has been a symbol of the Church. The ark and rainbow remind us of the Covenant that God made with Noah and of the New Covenant that God made with His Church. The additional elements are: pelicans, loggerhead turtle, scallop shell, tulip shell, cockle shell, starfish and ark shell. Donated by Calvin Lipscomb and dedicated to God’s Glory as Marilyn Lipscomb dedicated her life to God’s Glory
THE WESLEYAN CHALICE AND LOAF This silver chalice dates to 1785, at St. Georgeâ€™s Church in Philadelphia. It was a gift from John Wesley to the church, which is considered the worldâ€™s oldest United Methodist Church in continuous service. The cup symbolizes the blood of Christ and the loaf the body of Christ. The additional elements are: blue crab, moon shell, scallop shell, coquina shell, herring gulls, Venus shell and whelk. Donated by Nancy and Boyd Wood to the Glory of God and in honor of their children and grandchildren
THE ANCHOR CROSS The Anchor Cross symbolizes the hope of the resurrection. As an anchor holds a ship in place, so hope holds the believer to Christ in life and death. The additional elements are: our Church, gulls, sandpipers, moon shell, auger shell and scallop shell. Donated by Dolly Cannon to the Glory of God and in memory of our mother and grandmother Betty Dangerfield
THE LIGHTHOUSE The Lighthouse symbolizes God’s Guiding Light of the Christian Faith. It protects from the rocks and shoals of temptation and sin, and provides hope for those who are spiritually lost. In 2003, The First Church Vacation Bible School featured this symbol with the theme “Lighthouse Kids: Shining God’s Light.” The additional elements are: shrimp boat, shrimp, oysters, oyster catchers, cockle shell, scallop and auger shell. Given by Jean and Bob Carlock and dedicated to the Glory of God and in memory of Jean’s father, Charles William Smith
THREE FISH The fish is the earliest known Christian symbol. Three Fish together symbolize the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; used in a circle, they signify salvation coming from the Triune God. The additional elements are: dolphins, mullet, terns, hermit crab, moon shell, coquina shell and scallop shell. Given to the Glory of God and in memory of Viola Hodgins by Dolly Cannon; To the Glory of God and in memory of Cecile Winston by Sally and Bill Lee, and by Betsy and Wayne Moseley. To the Glory of God and in honor of all the Saints at First Church by Rev. and Mrs. Harlan Wilson, Alma and Ron Kiser, Freda and Al Lynch, FUMC Menâ€™s Club, and Shirley and Bill Betchman
LOAVES AND FISHES The loaves and fishes call to mind the story of the feeding of the five thousand and represent Jesusâ€™s miraculous providence. They also remind us of Jesusâ€™s claim to be the Bread of Life. First Church also uses this theme to gather food for East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO). The additional elements are: the Dangerfield Connector Bridge, live oaks with Spanish moss, egret, Carolina wren, palm tree and Carolina jessamine. Donated to the Glory of God by Betty Dangerfield and in honor of her daughter Dolly Dangerfield Cannon.
CELTIC CROSS The Celtic Cross, usually associated with the early church in Scotland and Ireland, dates from at least the 5th Century and symbolizes Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. The cross, combined with the circle, emphasizes the eternal effect of redemption and the endless power of God’s love. The additional elements are: monarch butterflies, angel wing shells, whelk, moon shell, sand dollar, starfish and coquina shell. Given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Julie’s parents, Edwina and Al Blades, by Dr. and Mrs. Sal Moscatello.
Laura Barnes Sondra Branch Jane Brent Cynthia Carpenter Whitney Dye Dorothy Flott Pattie Frierson Ann Kizer Susan Kobrovsky Marilyn Lipscomb Connie Lyda
Julie Moscatello Sylvia and Pat Neeley Melinda, Claysen, Elise and Vance Powers Marsha and John Ray Donna and David Surrett Lauren Taylor Cindy Thornton Carlton and Wayne Whelan Laura, Janey and Caroline Whitley Gail Wilson Nancy Wood