SELLERSVILLE — The initial plan for the quilt celebrating St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church's 150th anniversary was to have the painted images show a historical timeline.

What it grew into was a display of the congregation's outreach.

"You can just see how many things they do," said Nancy Zola, the artist who did the 14 paintings on the quilt.

Included in those are a replica of a stainglass in the church, a view of a circuit riding preacher who helped start St. Michael's, communion and baptismal symbols, along with mission programs in Puerto Rico and Togo, the local Garden of Eatin' community garden and even the chow chow and fastnacht doughnuts sold by the church to help support the Appalachian Service Project.

The phrase, "The Spirit stirs us up like ripples in the pond to do God's work with our hands," runs around the border of the quilt. 

That was inspired by a sermon by Pastor Julie Berghdahl, said Carol Nase, St. Michael's director of music, the designer of the quilt, and who is doing the quilting.

"The quilting started around the cross and it just spreads and every new thing has its own set of ripples and they just kind of intersect with each other," Nase said," and they just keep going and nobody knows where they stop."

Zola, who attends Trinity Lutheran Church in Quakertown, and Nase met and became friends at a Pennridge Community Center art class, they said. 

The two have different backgrounds, but work well together, Nase said. 

"We are simpatico," she said. "Our ideas feed off of each other, so that's been a really good collaboration." 

After the two became friends, Zola said, she went to St. Michael's to hear Nase's music.

"I was really moved by the service and the friendliness of the people," she said. 

In what appears to be divine timing, she volunteered to help with an art project at St. Michael's at what turned out to be the time someone was needed to do the paintings for the quilt, she said.

She said she did a lot of research to make the images accurate. In some cases, such as the chalice and Christ candle, she used the actual ones at St. Michael's as the model.

Another of the images is based on a photo of St. Michael's at sunset taken by one of Nase's sons who has since died.

The quilt and work involved in it drew praise from Pennridge Community Center leaders. 

"I don't see how you can do this stuff. It's amazing," Ted Heimbach, the president of the center's executive board, said as the quilt was being displayed to a reporter.

"When I saw this, I was so impressed, and I thought, wow, this is a collaboration and they're doing it here at the center," Debbie Scollon, the center's manager, said. "To come up with something like this was incredible."

The 150th anniversary observance at St. Michael's will include an open house during the Sunday, Sept. 15 Pennridge Gallery of the Arts in Sellersville. The church will have cemetery tours at noon and 2:15 p.m. and building tours at 1:15 and 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, there will be a Community 150th Anniversary Service at 3 p.m. at the church, with Bishop Patricia Davenport of the Southeastern PA Synod preaching. A reception will follow.    

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