Artwork in the Sanctuary
Into the Light of Hope
Since summer 2018, a stunning quilt has hung on the wall of the sanctuary, to the right of the dais. The quilt was designed and created by Peggy Eckerman. Peggy said the quilt, named “Into the Light of Hope,” was inspired by her desire for peace to overcome the hate and strife she sees as so prevalent in the world today. The design features the dove of peace winging its way toward a brilliant rising sun.
“Sunrise brings new beginnings, a new day full of hope. A brand new day full of possibilities,” Peggy explained. “The dove stands for inner peace, peace of mind, peace for our country and the world.” The design was inspired by Jamie Wallen. After a thread painting class, focused on using thread stitches to “paint” detailed pictures, Peggy mapped out the final design. She started with a mockup on paper, then on full-sized paper to fine tune it. Then she hand dyed the cotton flannel fabric for the quilt. The result was a blue sky and vibrant sunrise—a palette which Peggy has enhanced through quilting and thread painting to tell her story.
The beauty and story can be appreciated from anywhere in the sanctuary. But, other nuances can only be appreciated on close inspection. The 3-D quality of the dove, which was made separately and then stitched to the quilt, is built by layers and layers of thread atop a wool batting behind the body. And, stitched into the sky of the quilt are symbols designed to bring our church community into the story.
“If you look closely,” Peggy said, “you’ll see our flaming chalice—and also a Jewish star and a cross to represent the many origins of our faith. Though only three are pictured, they speak to the many religions that inform Unitarian Universalism.” Also stitched in an arc across the quilt are the iconic ‘gingerbread people’ holding hands, an echo of the circle of people often used as a symbol of Accotink. “They’re indicative of working together, friendship and community,” she explained. “I am often asked how many hours a quilt like this takes. It’s hard to say, but it is well into the hundreds, I’m sure,” she said.
The AUUC Legacy quilt, the orange and blue quilt which previously hung where “Into the Light of Hope” now hangs, was also created by Peggy, with design assistance from Birget Roberts. It has been moved to the back wall of the sanctuary. Peggy created it in the 1980s when our fledgling congregation was still meeting in the cafeteria of Keene Mill Elementary School. The colors are orange and blue as those were the school colors. She stitched the now iconic fellowship circle surrounding a chalice. It is this representation of our blessed community that is echoed in the new quilt.
Peggy’s husband, Don Eckerman, is a wood worker. He built the pulpit and the decorative wood around the windows over the dais in the sanctuary. For this project, Don built custom rails on which to hang the new quilt.
Hopes and Dreams
The “Hopes and Dreams” tapestry, dedicated in January 2019, was the work of over 50 congregants ranging in age from 2 to 87. The artists were encouraged to write their hopes and dreams on pieces of muslin and weave them into the work. It holds their words as a visual testament to their love for Accotink and its promise for the future.
The work is held by a branch of wood from a tree growing on the Church’s property. The stone hanging from a broken warp thread is from the Memorial and Meditation Garden. It is a visible reminder that those who are gone are always with us; their hopes and dreams for Accotink not forgotten but woven into our hearts.
Connie Diamant was president of Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church from July 2015 to June 2018, and wanted to leave a gift to the Congregation for the honor of serving them. She is also a weaver. Her gift was to share her love of weaving and spinning by leading our members in a community weave. The work is truly a community project, made by the community, for the community.
May this work of art, made by many hands, be a constant reminder that together, we can create a beautiful future.
Hopes and Dreams
by Barbara Wells
O, Spinner, Weaver, of our lives,
Your loom is love,
May we who are gathered here
Be empowered by that love
To weave new patterns of Truth
And Justice into a web of life that is strong,
Beautiful, and everlasting.