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Sarah Circle Thursday, Apr 1 @ 7:00 PM

75th Anniversary of CGS!

Celebrating 75 Years of Christian Ministry and Mission


Through the Years . . . 

Kneelers for a Cathedral


The 20 needlepoint kneeling cushions for both our chapel and sanctuary were complete in 1993. In addition, June Fee and Shirley Francis had stitched two chair pads for the lectern and the pulpit. Another two cushions, the Evangelistic Kneelers, had designs chosen for the four gospels. On one, Matthew’s has a winged figure alluding to Jesus’ genealogy, and Mark’s Winged Lion suggests Christ’s kingly nature. On the second cushion, the Winged Ox bespeaks Christ’s sacrificial death from Luke, and the soaring Eagle on John’s symbolizes His Divine nature.


With this, it seemed the Good Shepherd needlepoint stitchers had completed their mission. But wait! an invitation came to make four cushions for the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.! This is where Shirley, in the early 90s, had seen kneelers that had inspired her to suggest the idea for our church to Pastor Frank Finkbiner.


The invitation was not without its constraints. Our women were chosen from hundreds nationwide who submitted samples of their stitching. “The work had to be just as good on the back as on the front,” said June. Moreover, they had to sign a contract to finish the kneelers within a year or send them back unfinished. And they paid $250 for the privilege of participating! The ladies gladly committed to the agreement.


The cathedral chose the designs, but the women could choose their honoree. As described by columnist Phyllis Brewster in a local newspaper, June Fee’s Crown-and-Sunburst motif honored the family of her husband John. Margaret Matthews’ Phoenix memorialized her late husband Bruce. Shirley Francis and Betty Walls both used Peacock designs that honored Spencer Francis and the late Richard Beckner, respectively. Each piece was used for one of the 42 kneelers in Resurrection Chapel, one of the cathedral’s nine chapels.


The needlepoint kneelers were dedicated at an Evensong at Washington National Cathedral in October 1996, an event to which the stitchers were invited. Husbands Spencer and John joined their honoree wives in reserved seating in the Great Chapel for the impressive occasion.


So now the story of our needlepoint stitchers had come full circle—from inspiration at the National Cathedral in the nineties to the dedication there six years later. All that remained was for Shirley to tell the story from inception to completion in a handsome scrapbook. Ernie Hetherington’s colorful photos of all the women and their kneelers enhance the album. Programs from all three dedication ceremonies are included. The album is kept in our church library for all to see. And now, we look forward to when we can once again kneel at our communion rails and appreciate anew the beautiful needlepoint kneelers.


With immense gratitude to Sandy Jelinek, Shirley Francis,

and Phyllis Brewster, whose input have made this series on the history of the

Needlepoint Kneelers possible.



400 W. Duarte Rd Arcadia, CA 91007      [email protected]      (626) 447-2181
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