Do you know about the beautiful needlework kits and supplies of Elizabeth Bradley? Tired of those coloring book-like cartoon patterns for kneelers? Visit the home page at http://www.elizabethbradley.com/theamericas/ to see the beautiful floral, fruit, and animal needlepoint kits, fine wools in 154 muted colors of four-ply tapestry wool. There are also border patterns and mini kits of 6- inch motifs.
http://www.stpaulswickford.org/ I hope you will enjoy this slide show made today on a visit to historic St. Paul’s in Wickford. The afternoon winter light was just right for viewing the wonderful contemporary and Victorian stained glass. The sacristy is a real treat, with pale cabinetry and a good deal of natural light. There is lots of great storage and room for tall vases. Be sure to check out the last slide of frontlet storage which is suspended from rods in a pull out drawer access- very clever! A little jewel box of a sacristy. Do visit the website above for the history of the parish. The views of the water out of the windows are breath-taking.
“Presently, my firm is redesigning the sacristy at our church which was originally built in @ 1950. This is the only article that I have been able to find on the subject although our clergy has tried to contact a number of churches for suggestions. Thank you!
Happy New Year! I have been down with the flu bug along with many others for the past two weeks. I am hoping you have taken many great photos of your church decorated for Christmas and will share with us here.
The catalogues are starting to come into my office so it must be January! I love looking through all of the religious goods catalogues and finding new items. You may want to keep one of those stand-up storage files in your sacristy for your supply catalogues. Almy’s and Egan’s usually are sent routinely to the church office, but all companies will be delighted to send a catalogue and sometimes even fabric swatches and samples upon request. If you have a good resource, please send me the company name so we can share it here. I will be posting catalogue resources this year beginning with Monastery Icons http://www.monasteryicons.com/
The company has a beautiful line of icons. I ordered the St. Damiano crucifix to the left a few years ago for Taize prayer services. You will enjoy surfing their website for cards, beautiful jewelry, statues, garden statuary, Celtic designs, incense, banners, and many other kinds of religious items. There is a link on the site to request a free catalogue. Perhaps someone in your altar guild will be appointed to maintain a catalogue supply archive for your sacristy. It is always a help to have a catalogue with photos at the ready when a donor comes forward wishing to donate an item to the church.
The prie-dieu (singular) or prayer desk once seen in most Episcopal churches is becoming a rarer article these days. Literally meaning “pray (to) God”, these items of convenience for prayers and devotions have been around for centuries-both as home furnishings for private prayers and also in chapels, in front of votive stands, at marriage ceremonies for the bride and groom to kneel upon, in front of shrines to saints, and in priests’ sacristies for prayer preparation before Mass. Often today a long kneeler has taken the places of the wedding prie-dieux and real candle votive stands are on the wane. Those electrified candles alas, aren’t quite the same thing! Still a staple in most Episcopal churches are kneelers in a hassock style, or pull-down hard kneelers on a wooden frame.
The prie-dieu to the left is from 1830. Some prie-dieux look very like a chair with an elongated back with a padded top for missals, breviaries and prayer books to perch while kneeling. Monastic prie-dieux have shelves for storage of materials needed during the many offices around the clock. The Episcopal church, especially after WWII adopted the needlepoint kneeler in pews, and on prie-dieux kneelers and padded tops. Trinity Church in Newport has an extraordinary collection of needlepoint kneelers and prie-dieux. That of the rector’s wife, situated in front of the pulpit, is of needlepoint in a pale shade and features violets, the state flower of Rhode Island.
Royalty, saints and even the Virgin Mary are often portrayed in art kneeling in pious attitudes on a prie-dieu. Prie-dieux have been made of every possible material, in every style according to the current taste, elaborate, simple, decorated and plain. with all manner of upholstery and padding. The prie-dieu of important persons have often survived to be preserved in museums. Simple, sturdy, and well-constructed ones have survived in humble convents and monasteries and are still in use.
The amazing gilded prie-dieu to the right is from 1706 Italy and not surprisingly belonged to a lady of great rank and privilege.
A simple prie-dieu offered in a style still very affordable and obtainable through most church furnishing catalogues. The kneeler would look well in needlepoint.
The famous architect, and decorative arts designer and artisan, Augustus Welby Pugin, (1812-1852) who created masterpieces of Gothic Revival style from jewelry to the Parliament buildings in London designed a prie-dieu which had everything included in one impressive design.
There seems to be quite a diversity of ideas as to setting up a credence table or shelf depending on custom in the parish or desires of the current clergyperson. As I travel around to different churches, I take note before the service begins of how things are done in our parish churches. Some churches use a chalice veil, some use only a purificator and pall on the chalice. Pita, or baked bread requires a different presentation than wafers. So, in the end- there are no hard and fast rules. Consult your parish priest for preferences. There should, however, be a clean white cloth on your shelf or table, the chalice should have a purificator across the top and a white pall to cover the top of the chalice at the least. When placing your water and wine cruets (or flagon), make sure the handles are at 12 ‘o’clock-in other words- pointing away from the altar server. When the server grasps the cruet by the neck, then pivots to face the priest, the handles will be convenient for the priest or deacon to grasp.
In some churches, I have observed the corporal is already spread on the altar at the beginning of service, with a vested chalice center altar as a time-saving convenience. It is a particular desire of our bishop that this not be done. The Liturgy of the Word should take place without communion metalware on the altar. The portion of the service devoted to the Holy Communion is the time for the deacon (if there be one) to “set” the table for the Eucharist, beginning to do so at at the Offertory. The chalice(s) should be resting on the credence table or shelf up until that time. Some parishes have the custom of oblationists or gift bearers to bring the gifts of wine and bread up the center nave aisle to the foot of the chancel where either the Master of Ceremonies, head acolyte, deacon, or sometimes the priest will step forward to receive them. Once again, make sure the handle of the wine cruet is facing away from the bearer so as to be ready to grasp by the receiver.
After the service of Holy Communion is completed and the vessels emptied and wiped clean at the altar, everything should be returned to the credence table. I have noticed that many priests, after rinsing the chalice with a little water, wipe out the bowl with a purificator and leave the purificator in the chalice, then place the pall and veil on top. This purificator usually has a lot of wine stain on it and should be carefully washed out with the wash water going in the piscina or in the earth. Don’t forget to take the corporal out of the burse, shake any little particles of bread over the piscina to be washed away-the same for the paten or dish which contained baked consecrated bread.
It is always convenient to place the lavabo towel over the lavabo bowl, in readiness for the ablutions. I find most clergy appreciate a good-sized towel and not a tiny “fingertip towel”. A hand towel of linen, about the size or slightly smaller of a regular hand towel we use at home is much-appreciated. The lavabo towel is the one small linen which does not have to be blessed. You can make up lovely lavabo towels out of linen or cotton scraps, pieces cut from worn fair linens which still have some remaining good fabric left, or fine linen napkins or tablecloths. You may embroider a neat whitework or redwork cross on it when the edges have been hemmed.