Extraordinary Time Banner Triptych

This week, we return to Ordinary Time. We count the Sundays in order through the end of the Church Year, and then we begin again at Advent. For All Souls, 2020 became known as Coronatide. As we journeyed through Lent, through the Easter Season, to Pentecost and beyond, we sometimes referred to that year’s Ordinary Time as Extra-Ordinary. The banner the Souls created in that season was called our Extra-Ordinary Time Banner. At long last (and with the generous assistance of Emma Bolton), we are pleased to present our banner today as a permanent addition to the Narthex—a triptych banner to commemorate that season.

In Japanese, boro means “tatters.” Using a technique called Sashiko, boro are mended repeatedly, creating garments that would be passed down to the next generation and continue to be mended to keep them whole and warm. In modern Sashiko, stories are added while stitching. These garments—Boroboro—contain the stories and prayers of generations of family members.

Emma Bolton cast a vision for the Souls during 2020. We were hurting. And separated. We needed a way to come together.

Fr. Rob shared a quote from Jerusalem Jackson Greer:

“When we tell our stories, when we read through the scriptures, when we study the history of our faith, we are unfolding the crazy quilt of the Story of God. A beautiful, intricate, pieced-together-one-scrap-at-a-time quilt. No matter how jagged or ragged the pieces we add, no matter how uneven or precious or dirty, a beautiful design continues to emerge.”

So, we invited the Souls to share their ragged, jagged pieces. Some shared precious scraps of clothing containing memories of childhoods. Some shared well-worn dish cloths. A piece of a wedding dress. A clerical shirt. A flannel robe. Curtains sewn as a young bride.

Cristy Marchis gathered the fabrics. And the stories. And we began to sew, using the Sashiko technique Emma introduced to us. Cristy shared:

“As each piece is bound together in our banner, they create a new story. The story of us.  And how we came to be together, the mistakes we have made, the hurt we have caused and the sorrow we feel, the love we have endeavored to share. How God made us a family, how he brought each of us to his banqueting table together here on Jewell Road, and spread his banner of love over us. Even now, even in our failures and fears, he spreads his banner of love over us.”

As we mount the triptych in the Narthex, we remember God’s faithfulness during Extra-Ordinary Time. We count the blessings of community and the ways we are stitched together. We invite those who were there to remember. And we invite those who were not yet with us to listen to the stories and begin to add their own.

God is good. And His banner over us is love.