Last Sunday, Pastor Angie, who is one of the directors of Huntsville Master's Commission, asked me to do some sewing for them. 'I know you're busy,' she said, 'but I was wondering if you could sew six mantles...like choir robe stoles...for our third year graduates. Would it be too hard, do you think?' I'd made choir stoles years ago...using a pattern taken from a disassembled one...but I wasn't sure I could remember how it was done. And I had to make the green dress that week, too.
But...this was the first graduating class; the inaugural group of students who had gone through all three years of the program. And one of them was my oldest daughter.
I waffled, wanting to do it, but...
I said I wasn't sure I could come up with a pattern...and she said that she had a pattern for them and she'd get all the materials needed; I'd just make them. 'But I can ask someone else if you're too busy.' Then she went on to explain, 'We want the pastors to put them on the students...they're actually stoles, but we're going to call them mantles. It will be symbolic of passing the mantle on to the next generation of leaders.'
Suddenly, I caught the vision of what she wanted to do. And she was asking me to be part of it. I did some calculating in my head; I thought I could finish the dress by Wednesday and make the mantles on Thursday and Friday. I literally fought back tears and replied,'I would be honored to make the mantles for those kids. If you can get the fabric and pattern for me, I'll manage it.'
Well, I picked up the fabric and pattern Wednesday night...I've already told the Green Dress story, so you know that I really didn't get started sewing on the mantles until Friday afternoon. I'd made a request from Miss M, who has a Memorycraft, to make some name labels for me; she'd left ribbons embroidered with the first names of each of the students at the church and I picked them up Friday morning when I dropped off PJ's dress.
The pattern is Butterick 3819, view F (the scarf with the tassels). I really think that the directions for it will result in a very 7th-grade-home-ec-class-project looking thing. I added some interfacing, changed up the sewing order completely (details in the review), and probably spent twice as much time at the ironing board than I did at the sewing machine...but that included fusing on interfacing and then fusing on the letters and numbers at the end (boy, was I wishing I had a press!)
The pastors wore the mantles white-side-out through the service, and, when the third years students were presented, they came up and stood behind them, laid hands on them and prayed over them (each student had chosen which pastor they wanted to impart to them). After they had prayed and the kids had received their commission, then the mantles were reversed and placed on the students by the pastors. I thought there'd be a photo op when the students stood with their mantles, but that didn't happen. There was more to do in the service...and they each left the stage when their selected pastor had finished praying for them. DD is on the far right...these are the only photos we ended up with that showed anything at all of how the mantles were used. In true HMC fashion, the kids laid aside their special designations and went right back to ministry for the rest of the evening.
But the cool thing was that, since I'd put the names in them right at the beginning, I knew which mantle would be given to which student, and I could pray over them as I was making them. Oh...I finished at 2:10 AM Sunday morning...they took a little longer than I expected. But it was SO worth it!