A canopy of prayer. A symbol of unity.

Prayers of the People. St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN. Copyright ©Nancy Chinn, 1993
Prayers of the People. St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN. Copyright ©Nancy Chinn, 1993

Interpreting the nature of relationships with sacred art was the inspiration for this community created installation.  In her book, Spaces for Spirit: Adorning the Church, Nancy Chinn provides some background for “Prayers of the People,” an example of liturgical art literally stitched together with the individual prayers of the assembly.

As part of a ten week program on the topic of relationships held at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Minneapolis, MN, members of the congregation were invited to pray about one specific personal relationship. Each was also provided with a strip of fabric onto which they were invited, at the end of the ten weeks, to visualize their prayer through any means such as sewing, collage, painting or writing, for example. Participants of all ages and from all backgrounds were invited to take part, adults, children, extending even to the people outside the community who were served by the Cathedral’s outreach programs. For the remainder of the program the topic of relationships was woven into weekly preaching and formation activities.

Closer view of Prayers of the People. St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN. Copyright ©Nancy Chinn, 1993
Closer view of Prayers of the People. St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Minneapolis, MN. Copyright ©Nancy Chinn, 1993

Then, with the congregation’s help, Nancy wove the individual pieces together to create a canopy large enough to span the length of the Cathedral. She describes the effect as “a canopy that sheltered all, that connected and covered all in the church and symbolically all the world. (…) The prayer canopy at St. Mark’s Cathedral invited all who experienced it to place their own relationships in a wider context. The design invited participants to see their own relationships as part of a whole.”[18]


[18] Nancy Chinn, Spaces for Sprit: Adorning the Church,  First Edition (Chicago, IL: Liturgy Training Publications, 1998)

Advertisements