didn’t know what my story was. I didn’t understand where I
Ana’s adoptive mom, Lee Muirhead, said because of Ana,
she and her husband, Jim, learned about Latin American his-
tory and culture, adoption issues, and White privilege.
After each story water was poured in the baptismal font
to represent shed tears. Once all the voices had been heard,
people were invited to dip their fingers in the healing waters.
Many of the 70 people who attended described it as a powerful service. Afterward there were hugs for the speakers.
Some people did find the conversation difficult because of
their personal experiences. Two adoptive parents had never
previously considered the loss connected to adoption. For
many, it opened up an opportunity to at least consider that
adoption is a constellation. With love, the brightest star can
and will be the child.
Mary Anne Alton Lemm is a documentary filmmaker and
an active member of Beach United Church, Toronto. 1
BEACH UNITED CHURCH, TORONTO
• Location: neighbourhood church where
people are willing to consider a new language
Karen Dale pours water in baptismal font used during the
Church hosts a fabric art
installation and workshops
by Brenda Riley
Fabric art brought a unique opportunity to experience the sacred interconnectedness of creation to Knox United Church and the community of Parksville,
British Columbia. This past spring, Knox hosted a successful
fabric art exhibit and two workshops for community members to paint or sew a fabric panel for a collection.
All Beings Confluence (ABC) is an expanding fabric art
collection that developed out of a meeting with musician
Carolyn McDade and eight Saskatchewan fabric artists.
These artists each stitched a 3 foot wide by 8 to 10 foot high
panel depicting a creature, or aspect of creation.
They decided to offer this experience to others. Now, the
initial eight panels have grown to more than 350, and are
Knox’s connection began when member Phyllis Fanning
returned from a Western Women’s Conference, which had
hosted an installation of ABC. Phyllis wondered if hosting
ABC would open new doors to spirituality for Knox and the
community. It has done just that—and so much more.
Over a year ago, we met with Martha Cole—one of the
original fabric artists who maintains the ever-growing collection—during one of her teaching trips to the Vancouver
area. Our plan unfolded. We received a Small Project Grant
through Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery. Travel costs for the
fabric installation and for Martha to teach a workshop were
shared with Cadboro Bay United Church, which was also
hosting ABC and workshops.
We strung about 1,000 feet of wire across the sanctuary
to hang approximately 250 panels. To accommodate the
installation we removed all but the centre section of chairs.
Martha was unable to teach at Knox due to health reasons,
so I spent a week at Cadboro Bay United learning how to give
the workshop. When Cadboro’s exhibit ended, they brought
their panels and helped with our installation.
We advertised through a Vancouver Island arts magazine, presbytery, Conference, local churches, and community notices. Thirteen women from the community, Knox,
and other churches signed up for the workshops. Over four