‘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.”