Zions Lutheran Linen Ministry head retires
Position involves tending to the church’s purificators, paraments, dossal curtains and veils with care.
WEATHERLY — The sacristan of Zions Lutheran Church remembers when a new altar curtain arrived in the mail.
“It came in a tiny box, and when we got it out, I said, ‘Oh! It’s so wrinkled,’” Todd Gimbi recalled.
He telephoned Jean Frable, head of the church’s Linen Ministry, hoping she’d be able to work her magic.
The Weatherly woman labored over it all day, taking care to iron each and every crease from the yards of linen.
“It was just perfect when she finished,” Gimbi said.
After more than 60 years of laundering, drying and ironing the church’s vestments, Jean recently retired.
She came to the Linen Ministry in 1958 after being asked by the late Rev. Byron Stauffer. The position meant she’d tend to the church’s purificators, paraments, dossal curtains and veils, which are often made of delicate linen that needs extra special care.
“I would launder them by hand in cold water,” she said.
Once washed, she’d hang them to dry outside her Weatherly home, then gather them up and iron them.
The secret, she said, is to iron the material when it is still damp.
“I would sprinkle them with water, roll them up and place them in the refrigerator,” before ironing, she said. The result is a crisp linen that doesn’t need to be starched, she noted.
The items are then folded according to church tradition.
For the most part, Jean said the linens wouldn’t be dirty since they’d be changed often according to the Lutheran calendar.
Sometimes, however, the cloths used during communion would become spotted with drops of wine.
“I never wanted to use Clorox on linen,” she said. “It would destroy it.” Instead, she treated the would-be stains with Shout fabric cleaner.
Her husband, Jack Frable, often helped her transport the materials.
“I was the going-up-and-down-the-stairs person,” he smiled.
To mark her retirement, the Rev. Janell Wigen, pastor, offered a celebratory prayer of recognition and the congregation presented her with flowers.
Gimbi said that the church is seeking someone to fill Jean’s shoes.
On Nov. 25 the congregation of Zions Lutheran Church in Weatherly celebrated and thanked Jean Frable, who retired from the church’s Linen Ministry after 65 years of dedicated service. Jean’s role on the Linen Ministry included but was not limited to the care of the Fair Linen, Corporal, and Purificators. At times Jean would send the paraments, dossal curtain and veils for dry cleaning and or pressing. The Rev. Janell Wigen, pastor, offered a celebratory prayer of recognition during the service and the congregation presented Frable with flowers. Following the service, Frable spent the afternoon with her family. Pictured is Jean with her husband, Jack, following the service in which she was recognized for her service before retiring.