Verna and Erica Fiedler are adding colour and meaning to worship in a growing number of LCA congregations – and helping others, too.
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Has your attention ever been caught by the vibrant embroidered fabrics adorning the altar, pulpit or lectern of your church, or on the stole around the pastor’s neck?
From flowers to flames, crosses to crowns, the beauty of these symbols evokes the Scriptures represented and the seasons of the church reflected.
They are works of art without an artist’s signature. They suggest, instead, divine inspiration using the Bible as a guide and God-given talent to bring Scripture
One such artist, Verna Fiedler, 77, has spent more than a decade creating embroidered masterpieces by hand, ably assisted by the visual design skills of her retired photo engraver husband Eric, also 77.
Verna and Eric’s son Brenton planted the seed 12 years ago when, in his final year of pastoral ministry studies, he asked his mum to make a set of stoles.
‘When he first asked, I didn’t know whether I could, but I wanted to, so I didn’t say no’, retired nurse Verna says. She began to research the craft and took patchwork lessons.
That first labour of love led to more requests, and now Verna can count at least 20 stoles created by hand. Each stole takes two to three months to complete, with Verna usually creating five for each pastor, in line with the colours of the liturgical seasons.
After Verna and Eric work with pastors to determine the symbols they will use. Eric transfers the patterns onto the fabrics. The parents of four and grandparents of eight love the teamwork. ‘We can’t do it without each other. We have been married 51 years.’
Following their relocation from Tanunda in South Australia’s Barossa Valley to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills early this year, Verna and Eric have no plans to ‘retire’ from their passion.
‘I like the challenge’, Verna says. ‘This talent that God has given me, it gives me a great sense of … fulfilment in serving my Lord and in helping the less fortunate people.’ After expenses, all money raised goes to the Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS).
And Verna’s word of advice to fellow ‘retirees’? It’s from Colossians 3:17: ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’.
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