by Pamela Bleisch
On Sunday April 19th, at the 10:30 service, the congregation consecrated a new Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is a small cabinet that sits on the altar, to hold the reserved sacrament. A portion of the consecrated bread is set aside after communion has been received; this reserved sacrament can be taken to the ill or housebound, so they can share in the Eucharistic feast.
Anne Kanter created two stained glass panels for the Tabernacle, and Bill Hayes crafted the wooden structure for it, out of oak he had set aside from the old chapel’s oak front pews’ modesty railing. The stained glass panels depict the Holy spirit descending as a dove, and the Eucharistic bread and wine. The panel shows the communion chalice surrounded by sprays of bay laurel.
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) was important in Greek and Biblical culture. A wreath of laurel crowned the victor of the Pythian games. Paul refers to this victory crown in Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 2 Timothy 2:5, and 2 Timothy 4:8. The native California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica)
is also known as Balm of Heaven or Oregon myrtle. Just like our dear Anne, this plant thrives both in California and Oregon.
It was fitting that the St. Benedict’s Tabernacle was dedicated on the Sunday we celebrated Earth day. After the service, folks were able to admire the beautiful Tabernacle up close, and talk to the craftsmen. At coffee hour, everyone was invited to take home a fresh sprig of sweet bay laurel provided through the thoughtfulness of Barbara Schippers.