Needlepoint Pulpit Fall
The Pulpit Fall represents the four major seasons here in Winona: fall, winter, spring, and summer. The river in the cross represents the grace of God that flows to us through the death and resurrection of Christ. This flows to us night (as represented by the stars and moon) and day (as represented by the sun’s rays) every season of our life. The church has often used the sun to represent the Son of God, thus the sun is in the middle of the cross. The water of grace that flows downward is in coordination with the river that flows around the communion rail. This piece is based on a cross designed by well known church artist and author Gertrud Mueller Nelson from San Diego. She was born in Germany and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The piece measures 28.5 inches by 44 inches for an area of 1,254 square inches. This would involve 180,576 stitches and 746 hours of work to complete. When the Pulpit Fall was completed and the stoles were in process, it was decided to dedicate the entire project on Christ the King Sunday, November 23rd, 2003. This was seven years after the dedication of the altar cushions in November, 1996.
The Pulpit Fall represents the four major seasons here in Winona: fall, winter, spring, and summer. The river in the cross represents the grace of God that flows to us through the death and resurrection of Christ. This flows to us night (as represented by the stars and moon) and day (as represented by the sun’s rays) every season of our life. The church has often used the sun to represent the Son of God, thus the sun is in the middle of the cross. The water of grace that flows downward is in coordination with the river that flows around the communion rail.
Toni Ambrosen dedicated her needlework on this piece to her father, Edwin Ambrosen, a member of Central Lutheran Church. The piece measures 28.5 inches by 44 inches for an area of 1,254 square inches. This would involve 180,576 stitches and 746 hours of work to complete.
When the Pulpit Fall was completed and the stoles were in process, it was decided to dedicate the entire project on Christ the King Sunday, November 23rd, 2003. This was seven years after the dedication of the altar cushions in November, 1996.
After the needlepoint cushions were completed in November of 1996, the Needlepoint Guild looked around for another project. Some had noticed that the bishop at the time had a needlepoint stole that he used when visiting parishes. The idea grew that we could design and complete stoles for use at Central Lutheran. The stitching of the needlepoint stoles has been an ongoing project since it was begun in 2000.
Designed by Mary Ellen Kitundu, the stoles were created in sets of three for the six liturgical seasons of the church year: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter. and Pentecost (two sets). The avibrant colors compliment the altar cushions and the pulpit fall as well as the stained glass windows. There is a predominant color for each one of the seasons, so the design is focused both on the season and color. Each stole differs from the other two in the set while remaining within the theme of the season. The embroidery labels identifying each stole were created by Jeanne Janssen of Fargo ND.
The project was divided into 42 pieces – a right and left side for each of the 21 stoles. Each half measures about 60” by 5.25” for an area of 315 square inches. This would involve 45,360 stitches and 187 hours of work to complete. To complete both halves of the stole would require 374 hours of work for the 630 square inches, 90,720 stitches. Christine Wilmot did the finishing of the stoles which included joining the halves in a neck seam, blocking, pressing, and lining. Christine dedicated this finishing work to her mother, Ruth Swenson, who first taught her to sew. These steps added an average of 21 hours to each stole.
Stoles are displayed just inside the Wabasha Street entrance of the church in a cabinet built by craftsman, Lee Buxengaard.
Memorial gifts to Ralph & Helen Carlbloom and Jack Thode have been instrumental in funding this project.
Stoles in Detail
ADVENT is the season that prepares for the coming of Christ. The color for Advent is blue. Blue is the color of the water and the color of the river of life used on the cushions. One stole has a waterfall pouring down ……. like the grace of God in giving us the gift of Jesus Christ. The second stole has blue waves symbolizing the fact that grace comes to us over and over ……. unending like the love of God. The third stole looks like ripples of water ……. the grace and love that flows into every part and cell of us. The Advent star shines from the top of each Advent stole.
Waterfall was stitched by Anne Deedrick and Mary Ellen Kitundu
Waves were stitched by June Halverson and Pam Franko
Ripples were stitched by Arlone Turner and Mary Ellen Kitundu
CHRISTMAS is the season celebrating the birth of Christ. The color for Christmas is white, so white flowers were chosen for this season ……. poinsettias, wood roses, and calla lilies. The transformation from the sky to the flowers is light blue ……. illustrating God’s breaking through nature to reach down to us.
Poinsettias were stitched by June Halverson and Arlone Turner
Wood Roses were stitched by Mary Lou Klagge and Toni Ambrosen
Calla Lilies were stitched by June Halverson and Beth Ambrosen
EPIPHANY is the season following Christmas. Epiphany means new day and growth in our lives as Christians. This is illustrated by the use of a sunrise ……. in colors of yellows, purples and pinks. In front of the sunrise is the growing amaryllis. It grows as its roots become deeper and more plentiful, symbolizing our growth as disciples of Christ, nourished by the seven activities of reading the gospel, prayer, worshipping, giving, helping, inviting, and serving.
Mustard Bulb was stitched by Anne Deedrick and Beth Ambrosen
Lavender Bulb was stitched by Jean Kinzie/Joyce Miesbauer and Shirley Steckel
Pink Bulb was stitched by Mary Lou Klagge and Christine Wilmot
LENT is the season that prepares for the celebration of Easter. The color for Lent is purple, so purple flowers were chosen for this season ……. irises, pansies, and coneflowers. In addition to the obvious floral meaning, another definition of the word “pansy” is “to ponder.” Especially during the Lenten season, thoughtful reflection is encouraged and meaningful.
Irises were stitched by Carol Rustad and Audrey Huggenvik/Carol Rustad
Pansies were stitched by Mary Ellen Kitundu
Coneflowers were stitched by Beth Ambrosen
EASTER is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The color for Easter is white, accented by the brightly colored butterflies on each of these stoles. Metallic threads intertwine with the wool yarn to give shimmering color to the butterfly wings. The butterflies are pastel on one stole, blue and green on another and bright primary colors on the third. Butterflies are often used in the church as a symbol of Easter, signifying the death and resurrection of Christ.
Pastel Butterflies were stitched by Toni Ambrosen
Blue and Green Butterflies were stitched by Christine Wilmot
Primary Butterflies were stitched by Beth Ambrosen and Christine Wilmot
PENTECOST SUNDAY has the color red. It is also the color chosen for the ordination of a pastor. Pastors often receive the gift of a red stole upon ordination and may chose to wear their own special stole on this festive Sunday. Because of that, only one red stole was completed. The dove, accented with oranges and yellows to suggest “the tongues like as of fire,”symbolizes the coming of the Holy Spirit on “the day of Pentecost.” The red tulip was chosen to complete this design because it appears in the spring, fresh and vibrant, bringing new hope after the darkness of winter. The bulb is like our Christian life, rooted in the grace of Christ. Even though at times this grace may be unseen and unfelt, it is ever present for our needs.
Pentecost Sunday was stitched by Mary Lou Klagge and Christine Wilmot
PENTECOST season is the longest season of the church year so it was decided to have two sets of stoles for use during this time. Normally the color of Pentecost is green so the greens of oak leaves, birch leaves, and maple leaves were chosen for the summer part of this season. When fall begins, the stoles are exchanged for the second set in which the green oak leaves mature to gold, the green birch leaves change to yellow, and the green maple leaves turn to red.
Summer Oak was stitched by Christine Wilmot
Summer Birch was stitched by Audrey Huggenvik and Mary Ellen Kitundu
Summer Maple was stitched by Toni Ambrosen and Mary Lou Klagge
Fall Oak was stitched by Cindy Welke and Carol Rustad
Fall Birch was stitched by Shirley Steckel
Fall Maple was stitched by Jean Kinzie and Mary Ellen Kitundu
On Christ the King Sunday, November 25th, 2007, eleven stoles were placed into use. In September 2008, five additional stoles were placed into use. The remaining five stoles, plus the single red stole, were completed in 2013 and placed into use.
Although the use of stoles by clergy has deep historical roots in the church, the actual source of their use is unclear, probably dating back to the seventh century. There are many biblical as well as historical theories to consider in the function they serve as liturgical wear.
Some believe the use of stoles by clergy comes from the use of a “Tallit”, or prayer shawl. by Rabbis in conducting worship. Others believe it has a secular connection with the scarf of office worn by empirical officials of the Roman Empire. In both cases it is a symbol of status distinguishing those who serve as leaders in the worship service.
Basically, the stole symbolically represents a yoke (Matthew 11:28-30). Like the yoke worn by oxen or a horse for field work, clergy wear the stole to note that as servants of God, they carry the burden of ministry as they care for the faithful. Another likely Biblical connection is with the towel Jesus wore as he dried his disciple’s newly washed feet at the Last Supper (John 13:1-20).These references mark stoles as a symbol that clergy are servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Mary Lou Klagge has served as chair of the Needlepoint Guild since originating the altar cushion project in 1993. The stole project was begun in 2000 when artist and co-chair, Mary Ellen Kitundu, completed her designs. Following Mary Ellen’s move to Tanzania, Christine Wilmot became co-chair in 2006. The diligent and creative work of all the Needlepoint Guild members made these beautiful artistic gifts to Central Lutheran Church possible.