Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Holy Grail: Look no further than Nevada City

This week we head more to the spirit end of things. I want to feature my chalice and paten, the receptacles that I use for serving Holy Communion. My chalice and paten are made from Montana soapstone, shaped on the lathe of Jack Richardson who is an amazing artist who lives in Nevada City, California. You can see Jack's work on his website Turned Stone.

Jack says we are relatives, so I believe him. We aren't sure how, though. I found his work in a gallery Half Moon Bay before I was ordained, and used some ordination gift money to commission him to craft a chalice and paten for me.

Last year, as would happen, the paten (the plate) fell on the floor during a church service and cracked. We brought the damaged paten up to Jack's workshop. He reshaped it as a gift for the young acolyte who accidentally dropped the paten. Then he made two new patens for me. 

He was an art teacher many years ago, retiring (if you can call it that) to Nevada City. I can only envy his students. What an extraordinary gift he brings, not just with his art but with his wisdom and teaching and gentle wit. It was a treat for us last year to spend a few hours with him, listening. His speciality is turning stone, and his backlot is full of boulders and stones that he has an eye upon for future projects.

I hope you get to see some of his work in galleries, and share in the wine and bread of communion out of one of his chalice and patens. The Spirit is truly at work through Jack's hands.

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