The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania that is centered on the worship of God, the ministry of all baptized persons, and the call to be agents of Christ’s love in the world.
Parish Calendar
Sermon Archive
Upcoming Events
The Cloak
Other Resources
Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
8000 St. Martin’s Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118

The Rev. W. Jarrett Kerbel

St. Martin's Cloak

The Cloak is a collection of audio vignettes—stories that reveal parishioners’ faith journeys. Share your thoughts by sending us an e-mail.

Being able to work on autopilot and leave the mind free is my meditation.

Daphne Raasch

Daphne Raasch learned to sew and, eventually, knit when she was 8 years old in boarding school. While she admits to having a hard time with traditional group “meditation,” she has found another way to be with God.

Fortunately for me there is an alternative silence in which to allow that “still small voice of calm” to enter. This is during the repetitive action of creating simple stitching—knitting or needlepoint background—where the hands are busy but the mind is free to wander and kind of open to being blown by the spirit where it will.

The repetitive motion is in itself a soothing experience. Once my granddaughter, sitting by me while I stitched and she did her homework, suddenly broke our silence saying:

“Granny, that looks so peaceful.”

She was right. The peace of creativity without the tension of seeking creativity. I don’t know whether I make myself clear . . . .  Being able to work on autopilot and leave the mind free is my meditation, I suppose.

Have you ever been in a doctor’s waiting room surrounded by anxious patients waiting the results of tests are where the tension is palpable? Bring out knitting and very soon there will be a lively group conversation of:

“What is it for?” (the baby)
“How long should it be?” (the scarf)
“How do you do that?”

And tension relieved, community established and ministry effected.

Likewise on planes – once I was sitting next to an 8 year-old who was obviously fascinated by the knitting and who was asked if she would like to try.

“Oh, yes, please.”

We arrived cross country in no time: my friend with a scarf for her stuffed dog, myself less a ball of yarn and a pair of needles but warmed by the experience of sharing.

Creativity, for me, also needs solitude sometimes. Being in an empty church with a box of flowers to arrange for Sunday requires inspiration. It comes. Is this Divine inspiration, a creative gift or are these things one in the same?

“If we look, we will see; if we listen, we will hear.”

But I would add another line: “First we must unplug.”

There are more ways than one of praying with hands.