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To the Workers of St. Agnes' Guild, St. John's Church, East Hartford, Connecticut, this Book is Affectionately Inscribed.

Part I. The Symbolism of Ornaments.

Part II. The Usage of the Church.

Part III. The Theory and Practice of Church Needlework.



THIS little book is intended merely as an introduction to a most fascinating subject--that of Symbolism. The writer has found it a difficult matter to know what to reject, but she has endeavored to make the book what its title indicates--a manual for beginners. It is not intended, either in its explanatory chapters or its practical directions, for professional workers, but rather for those in need of elementary instruction.

As regards the plates, a word of explanation may be necessary. No one can truly say, of designs for church needlework, that they are original, for only such emblems can be used as have "the authority of the ages." At the same time, there remains a good deal of latitude in the grouping and treatment of these emblems. In the suggestions for stoles and altar hangings herein given, care has been taken to keep in mind the definite thought which underlies each symbol, and this constant reference to fundamental principles by which all choice should be governed is, so far as the author is aware, wholly original.


IN almost every parish in the country there is a little knot of women who have executive talent in many directions, and it is to them that both rector and congregation look for the planning, organizing and much of the actual execution of parish work. Some of these women have artistic gifts, some have wealth, nearly all have deftness in feminine handicraft, and while most of them have their own home duties and occupations, they still have a certain amount of time which they can dedicate to the service of the Church. They visit those who are ill or poor; they work for hours every week on missionary boxes; they raise money in countless ingenious ways for countless purposes; they hold up the rector's hands and strengthen his heart; they form a very large proportion of the worshippers at every service, and this they have done for years. Now in many parishes they are seeking a new field of activity in the direction of church embroidery. Altar Societies are being formed for one of two purposes, and sometimes for both combined. These societies aim first to provide [9/10] suitable altar hangings and vestments for their own churches, and then, as opportunity arises, to make them for others which are not provided. These are sometimes sent as gifts to needy parishes and missions and sometimes made to order and sold. The work always interests those who busy themselves with it and in more ways than one mentally and spiritually benefits the worker. Nor does it, as some would fear, lead to a loss of interest in the more usual work of women in the church. It has been demonstrated over and over again that the Altar Society and the Woman's Auxiliary can work, not only side by side and hand in hand, but that each and every member of the one can work just as heartily and enthusiastically as members of the other.

There are several large houses in the United States which take orders for all kinds of church needlework, and execute them most satisfactorily, and there are several Sisterhoods whose workrooms produce most exquisite specimens of embroidery. A parish which can afford to pay for the work of any of these is most heartily to be congratulated. But there are hundreds of parishes where it is a difficult matter to raise the money for the purchase of the material alone. [10/11] The work must be donated or the hangings and vestments can not be had. It is sincerely hoped that these pages may be of some little assistance to the workers in such parishes.

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