Zions Lutheran Linen Min­istry head re­tires

Po­si­tion in­volves tend­ing to the church’s pu­rifi­ca­tors, para­ments, dos­sal cur­tains and veils with care.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - BY JILL WHALEN STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: [email protected]­dard­speaker.com; 570-501-3592

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.

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