Religion News: April 2018

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Robin McElwee and Betty Rauch. Photo: Theresa Curry.

Quilt Runds Tabor Backpack Project

The Crozet Quilters have cut and stitched a masterpiece for the benefit of some of the area’s poorest children. Tickets for the “flower basket” quilt now on display at B & B Cleaners and Laundry are going for $2 each or 3 for $5 in advance of the drawing. The quilt is a queen-sized masterpiece, with beautiful detail in the 30 all-different panels. The Quilters have improvised on the traditional flower basket theme with some inspired ideas of their own: there’s a basket of kittens, and one with a fat mama calico, as well as a basket of apples, a couple of mixed fruit, and a modern minimalist basket. Individual fruits, cats and flowers are pieced from contrasting florals and solids, for a museum-quality quilt. 

Just as appealing as the quilt is the project it will fund. Every year the church fills more than a dozen top-of-the line backpacks from L.L. Bean for students identified as most in need. Some of the young people who benefit are homeless, said Robin McElwee, a coordinator for the project, and the packs are filled to the brim with school supplies.

The drawing is May 13, and the winner need not be present for it. To see the quilt or buy a raffle ticket, go by B&B Cleaners, 1180 Crozet Avenue, or see a Tabor Presbyterian Church member. 

Yard Sale to Support Young Home Builders

The youth of Crozet Baptist Church will return to Costa Rica this summer to build a house in an area extensively damaged by last year’s disastrous hurricane season. The request for a second international trip in two years was a bit of a surprise, acknowledged youth minister Tracey Pugh: “We hadn’t planned on an international mission trip so soon,” she said. The teenagers built a house last year in Costa Rica’s capitol, San Jose, and had planned a domestic house-building project for this year, for about half the cost per person. Pugh said they were contacted by the church’s Costa Rican mission partners, who said the need there was desperate. “So we said of course we’d come, but now we need to raise twice the amount we’d planned for.”

Crozet Baptist youth mission on site in Costa Rica. Submitted photo.

The house-building project is a huge group effort and involves intensive construction, resulting in a finished home by the end of the week, explained Loren Therrien, one of the yard sale’s coordinators. A family displaced or otherwise affected by the hurricanes will benefit; and so do Crozet’s young people, said Pam Patterson, who has been on mission-building trips for the past 17 years. “It’s amazing to see,” she said. “Kids who couldn’t even hammer a nail are doing major construction after a few days.” The project is set up for maximum efficiency, which provides the young carpenters a great learning experience as well as a dwelling for the deserving family.

One of the fund-raising efforts is a community yard sale, and the church is asking for the public’s help for the festive spring event. Any community member who wants to participate can buy a space (the width of two parking spaces in the church’s adjacent lot) for $25. The space also includes a table, and the vendors keep 100 percent of their proceeds. Pugh said the church will also be selling some yard-sale items, but no more donations are needed for their own tables. 

The yard sale, scheduled for April 14, will offer food (including some famous Green House pastries), coffee, ample parking, and a chance to meet your neighbors at an outdoor event after a long cold winter. To reserve space and a table, contact Tracey at Crozet Baptist Church.

Icon Expresses Power and Mercy

The image of Christ Pantocrator (Lord Almighty) is now complete at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Greenwood. It fills the central dome in the nave, the traditional place for this powerful icon in orthodox churches for 18 centuries. 

Artist Michael Kapeluck with Fr. Robert Holet. Submitted photo.

The icon’s expression is both solemn and mild. That’s also traditional, said Father Robert Holet of St. Nicholas. There’s mercy and compassion as well as judgment conveyed by the image, with one hand raised in a blessing and the other holding the Bible. Iconographic artist Michael Kapeluck of Archangel Icons in Philadelphia spent several days completing the work, using scaffolds and platforms for the larger-than-life rendering in the dome. 

Kapeluck said he had a traditional art education at Carnegie Mellon, but early in his career gravitated to the ancient art of iconography. “More and more churches are asking for icons these days,” he said, including some Protestant churches that now want to draw on the rich symbolism of their common religious heritage. 

Christ the Pantocrator at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Greenwood. Photo: Michael Marshall.

The icon is about ten feet in diameter, and surrounded with gold leaf in the dome. The deep colors and sense of an inner light in the face of the Pantocrator come from 10 layers of different shades of pigmentation. In the structure supporting the dome Kapeluck installed icons of sixteen of the Old Testament prophets who foresaw the birth of Christ. “I was able to do a lot of the work in advance,” Kapeluck said. You can view the progress of the creation of some of the prophets, and scenes from the installation on Kapeluck’s facebook page.

Father Holet talked about the place of icons in the church: “With tangible symbols and images, we celebrate the physical reality of Christ,” he said. “With all that is unseen, this gives us something seen to focus our thoughts.” He also spoke about the role of painted images to convey meaning in churches long before most of the faithful could read.

Holet invites the community to come to a service to view the new icon or to arrange a private viewing with him at the church. 

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