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Church Completes Thirty Year Needlepoint Project

Like many people, Pat Allen enjoys needlepoint as an activity. But where some needlepoint projects last a few months or even a year, Allen has most everyone else beat.

Allen attends Westminster Presbyterian Church in northeast Portland, and helped start a project using needlepoint to embroider cushions on the church’s wooden pews. It was so massive, it took 150 volunteers, many of whom had been laboring for more than 30 years.

The task was so daunting because of its scale. The church has 80 pews, most of which are 18 feet long. That’s over 1,440 feet of needlepoint stitches across 700 different patterns. The cushions for the 70 pews in the main sanctuary were completed back in 2004, but the last ten pews in the balcony took much longer to complete.

And they might have taken even longer, but there was an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic’s dark cloud. Allen said, “That was the one good thing about COVID. It gave everybody time to stitch.”

Gwen Harper is a longtime volunteer who led the effort until her death in 2019. “Sometimes I think about it as building a cathedral. Just one brick at a time, and you keep going until it’s done.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

God rewards those who continue in the faith with steadfast perseverance, trusting that their labor will not be in vain.

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