‘Christ have hulb’

Hmong church un­der­takes trans­la­tion of Book of Com­mon Prayer



The unique sta­tus of Holy Apos­tles, a mod­est wood-and-con­crete parish on the work­ing-class east side of Min­nesota’s cap­i­tal city, has earned spe­cial at­ten­tion in the wider Epis­co­pal Church. James Je­linek, the Epis­co­pal bishop of Min­nesota, is re­tir­ing in Fe­bru­ary, and he re­cently chose Holy Apos­tles as the site of his last Sun­day parish visit as bishop. Katharine Jef­ferts Schori, the pre­sid­ing bishop of the U.S. Epis­co­pal Church, has also vis­ited.

“ Just in prac­ti­cal terms, if the Epis­co­pal Church doesn’t adapt, it’s go­ing to die, and it should die,” Je­linek said.

The Hmong are an Asian eth­nic group who come mainly from Laos. Tens of thou­sands of Hmong peo­ple fled in the late 1970s af­ter a Com­mu­nist takeover of Laos, with the largest groups set­tling in Min­nesota, Wis­con­sin and Cal­i­for­nia. In St. Paul, Hmong im­mi­grants have es­tab­lished their own in­sti­tu­tions and busi­nesses and won po­lit­i­cal of­fice.

The Hmong re­li­gious tra­di­tion has roots in an­i­mism, a be­lief in spir­its and con­nec­tions be­tween all liv­ing things. But var­i­ous Chris­tian de­nom­i­na­tions have made in­roads in con­vert­ing the Hmong in re­cent decades, with par­tic­u­lar suc­cess by the Chris­tian Mis­sion­ary Al­liance, an Evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tant de­nom­i­na­tion, and by Ro­man Catholi­cism.

St. Paul has deep Catholic roots, and many of its new Hmong res­i­dents found a home in that church. But in 2004, not long af­ter the death of a priest pop­u­lar with lo­cal Hmong Catholics, a group of Hmong parish­ioners at St. Vin­cent De Paul went looking else­where af­ter dis­putes with an­other Hmong fac­tion. KITCH­ENER, Ont. — There are lit­tle plas­tic bags filled with dryer lint tucked away in the stu­dio of quilt fi­bre artist Judy Gascho-Jutzi.

There’s or­ange lint, blue lint, lint the colour of the sun­set — bags and bags of fluff that peo­ple have scraped out of their dry­ers on laun­dry day and saved for the artist.

“ They slip it to me at church,” GaschoJutzi says, chuck­ling.

Some days a bag or two will ar­rive in the mail.

Here in Gascho-Jutzi’s liv­ing room, which she has con­verted into a comfortable, in­spi­ra­tion-in­vok­ing stu­dio, laun­dry lint takes on a whole new mean­ing.

In Gascho-Jutzi’s hands, the lowly lint is trans­formed into the most amaz­ing skies — glo­ri­ous swirls and streams of colour that fig­ure promi­nently in her three-di­men­sional quilt art; art that may also fea­ture yarn, twigs, maybe a bead or two sewn into the pieces of fab­ric. “I like lit­tle sur­prises.” Gascho-Jutzi has an affin­ity for skies, birch trees, rivers, land­scapes. Pic­tures of Tom Thom­son’s paint­ings, her in­spi­ra­tion right now, are tacked on her stu­dio walls. She fell in love with Thom­son’s art af­ter vis­it­ing Al­go­nquin Park with her hus­band five years ago.

Thom­son, the Group of Seven, Im­pres­sion­ists like Claude Monet “ just take your breath away,” she says.

Thom­son, es­pe­cially, “sort of grabs you by the throat.”

“Look at that,” she says, point­ing to a Thom­son print. “I feel like I’m stand­ing in the for­est. I want to em­u­late the for­est.”

“I would love to go to Al­go­nquin Park and live in a cabin and sew there and be sur­rounded by that.”

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