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Taking the Year’s
Temperature in
creative, I guess.
One afternoon, a boring mend-
ing project coincided with a climate change podcast, and an idea was born. I would record the year’s “tem- perature” in a quilt.
Every day last year—Every. Sin- gle. Day. I took note of the highest and lowest temperatures recorded by our backyard weather station (a range of -25 to +38 in 2021). I chose mottled, batik fabric from my stash to represent each 2–3-degree temperature increment, made a pat- tern and started sewing.
In the photo, each long strip is a month from January to December.
Each long rectangle within the strip is a week.
Each little rectangular block is a day.
The inner triangle represents the daily high, the outer triangles rep- resent the low.
This block is traditionally called “flying geese.”
I had misgivings during the year that my project idea was dumb; that the finished quilt would be ugly. I al- most abandoned it a couple of times. I thought, surely I could spend those hours and hours and hours doing something more edifying, something important, significant.
But it was soothing. Measure. Cut. Piece. Sew. Press. Trim. Sandwich the batting. Top stitch. Repeat. The way the fabric whispered as it slipped through my fingers; the faint aroma of vegetable dye released by the steam under my iron; the feel of soft, com- for ting cotton batting... This gentle rhythm allowed my mind to wander. I would think about the glorious heat of summer, the bitter cold in winter. I stitched my laughter into the day I first heard the “peepers” again in April, and my tears spattered the fabric the October day my nephew was lost at sea.I’dthinkaboutthedayIwassew- ing, and the people I’d encountered in it. And, as so often happens, without any effor t, those thoughts became prayers and the prayers sewn into the quilt blocks.
And when I was finished, I showed it to my friend who commented on its beauty. Not necessarily the quilt itself was beautiful, but what it rep- resented. The colours, the changes in season, the unexpectedness of a warm day in December, of chilling
frost in April. They upset the “pat- tern” of the quilt, but it was that one green among reds, or orange among blue, that made it more interesting, more...dynamic, just like those mem- orable days when unexpected things happen that turn out to be amazing. But more than that, it helped me to see that even from a year that was in many ways so unfulfilling, so strange, so difficult, so ugly...even from that came something beautiful. And I realized again how very wise my friend is, because that was spot on.... My quilt is not perfect—any sewist will easily see the mistakes, any artist the flaws—but I will treas-
Fish Pulpit Fall in the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Kingston.
  ure it for exactly those imperfections. Because every time I see it, I will re- member this strange, dissonant time. And that’s good!! Because even as I think about the pandemic, the loss, the anxiety, I will also remember the beauty hidden in this marvellous, ter-
rible year. And I will celebrate with Paul, and countless Christians before me, that “all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).
And I will smile.
   The 2021 Temperature Quilt, which measures 205 cm x 147 cm. PHOTO CREDIT: LORI-KIM DEN OTTER
By Lori-Kim den Otter, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kingston, Ont.
In the summer of 2020, several sewists in our congregation gathered on the church lawn to design a new pulpit fall for the church out of scraps left over from masks we’d made for ourselves, friends, families, local health-care workers and others with no access to PPE. We had a lot of scraps! We decided on a “Joseph’s coat of many colours” design, with the outline of a fish—that most an- cient symbol of Christ and Chris- tians—in blue fabric, nestled among the random colours. If you look at it from a distance, (not a problem in St. Andrew’s large sanctuary!) the fish becomes clear. The moment it takes to focus on it plays right into the im- age of Jesus always being here, even amid “chaos,” but that sometimes we must step back to see him—to focus on him.
When 2020 morphed into 2021, we were still under Covid protocols. I decided I wanted to remember 2021—to have a project of some sort to mark each day of what would be a full year in this seemingly end- less pandemic. I was well and truly “languishing” by then, and I knew that for my own mental health I need- ed to record that year. I struggled for a while with what to do. Writing a journal didn’t appeal to me—some days words just don’t come or seem inadequate to express my emotions. Besides, I wanted something more...
A New French-speaking Congregation in Québec
  Boris Mboke, Francine Carole Dongmo, Gina Farnell, Jackie Branion, Viviane Victoire Diemna, Delange Chimi. (Eric Nzokem Jeutsa is present but not visible in this photo as he is behind Boris.) PHOTO CREDIT: THE REV. DR. KATHERINE BURGESS
By the Rev. Dr. Katherine Burgess, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Québec City, Que.
Just before the COVID-19 lockdown shut everything down, a new French- speaking Presbyterian congregation took root in Québec City. To say that helping it to flourish ever since then has been a challenge is definitely an understatement! La Communauté Chrétienne Béthanie originally met in person, but with the onset of the virus, they moved to online worship, as most of us did. The lockdown also prevented us from beginning the el- der training that had been planned. However, with the relaxation of travel restrictions, the Rev. Eloi Agbanou
was able to travel from Montréal to get the elder training started just be- fore Christmas.
Five of the proposed elders met with the Rev. Eloi Agbanou for a first session. Then, we came together on Saturday, December 4, 2021. The Rev. Ross Davidson came from Thetford Mines to assist with the el- der training. Gina Farnell and Jackie Branion, assessor elders from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Québec City, assisted as well. There will be at least one more training ses- sion before the elders are ordained.
This training was made possible thanks to generous donations from Presbyterians to the mission funds of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
The Rev. Dr. Katherine Burgess and the Rev. Eloi Agbanou. PHOTO CREDIT: THE REV. DR. KATHERINE BURGESS

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