Thursday, February 18, 2010

My chalice and paten, for those who are curious

Some of you have asked about my chalice and paten, the sacramental receptacles that I use for the Holy Eucharist now and then. I was particularly pleased that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori used them at the 10 am service when she was here January 31.

Some years ago, before I was ordained, Lori found similar objects in an art gallery in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco along the Pacific Coast. She located the artist and commissioned a pair as a present for my ordination. They were first used by Bishop Jerry Lamb at my priesthood ordination in January 2001.

I used the chalice and paten every Sunday that I celebrated the Eucharist at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, which with many canons on the staff, was about once a month.

The 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, in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. You can see Jack's work on his website Turned Stone by clicking HERE.

Jack says we are relatives, so I believe him. We aren't sure how, though.

When I was serving at All Souls Berkeley, 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.

Jack was an art teacher in Humboldt County 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 a couple of years ago to spend a few hours with him, listening. 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.

Photos by Bonny Bronson.

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