A Ministry Stole: A Glimpse at the Creative Process

Carrot Top Studio was honored to create the moderator's stole for the PCUSA 220st General Assembly. that was held in our hometown of Pittsburgh in 2012. Almost two years later, the day after my husband accepted a new job in Detroit, MI, the office of the G.A. called to offer us the commission for the next moderator's stole. The PCUSA G.A. of 2014 was interestingly to be convened in Detroit! The G.A. staff of course had no clue about the coincidence of my upcoming relocation so I was amazed but thrilled at this offer. The charge was to create a stole that reflected the host city in combination with a visual message of the assembly's theme scripture which was to be: May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13) It was with great pleasure that we researched what was to be our new home town to create this stole. What follows is a little bit of how the stole came to be and what the symbolism means...

The first component on the stole was to reflect the streets of downtown Detroit which, many years ago, were designed in a radial fashion. From the back tip to the front top third of the stole these lines were embroidered on the stole. It is subtle but it also represents the sun which in art history can be a symbol for "the son." To represent the theme scripture of Romans 15:13 on the back tip of the stole an anchor cross was used as a symbolize hope.

Swirls were hand painted on the front of the stole to represent joy and a white dove with a green laurel branch to symbolize peace was appliqued to the front.

The amazing architecture of Detroit is a symbol of rebirth, so the skyline is predominate on the border of the stole. The buildings are created out of fabrics that are imprinted with designs that echo the many Art Deco buildings in the city. We love subtle details like this!

The Detroit skyline is edged with the light blue Ambassador Bridge. This structure was built to bridge two countries but in this situation the bridge can also remind us of 2 Corinthians 5:20, "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

Lastly the stole border is capped off with a river. It can be seen as the Detroit River but it also evokes the many Biblical references of rivers such as entering promised land, transition from slavery to freedom, or of cleansing. The rivers were created with fabric from Kenya because the Presbytery of Detroit has a partnership with the church there in Thika.