Have you noticed the beautiful new cloths on the pulpit, lectern, and communion table? These are called “paraments,” and they are standard in Presbyterian churches—and all mainline Protestant churches. These cloths are green during the long season between Pentecost and Advent—called “ordinary time”—to represent new life and growth. In Advent, they will be dark blue like the night skies over Bethlehem. Blue is the color of waiting, longing, dreaming. In Lent, the cloths will be purple, which was the color used by mourners in the ancient world. Purple also suggests royalty. At Christmastime, Easter season, and a few other holidays, the cloths will be white for purity and victory. Pentecost is the one day of the year when the color is red, like the flames of the Spirit. Whoever designed our stained glass window had these seasonal colors in mind. The cloths take a single color from the window and draw it toward the congregation. Notice how the triple banner design of the tablecloth mirrors the three panes of stained glass, too. Most churches have paraments bought from church-supply stores. Very few have paraments, like ours, that have been designed and sewn by members of the congregation. These are truly a product of our church: approved by session, paid for by anonymous church members, and created by Sarah Cannon and Debbie Boisvert in memory of Joan Zakor.
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