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.
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Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
8000 St. Martin’s Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215.247.7466

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.

It makes me imagine that I’m feeling what the medieval craftsmen felt building the cathedrals.

Jack Dundon

Jack Dundon feels God’s presence in the ordinariness of his daily life, especially when he’s working with his hands.

God didn’t give me the gift of words. So when I say a prayer it doesn’t seem to do for me what happens when I work with my hands. He did give me the gift of being able to work with my hands or even the visual skills that often go with that. So, for instance, when I’m an architect, a potter, a gardener, a cook, a carpenter or a mason, I feel it. And I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Whenever I do any of those things, I feel like I’m doing what God made me to do. And that’s a very comfortable feeling. It makes me feel very close to him.

This is not something that I probably felt for the first 50 years of my life. I was so busy growing up, providing for my family, which I did as an architect and a teacher, on a very demanding schedule, that there was little time to be a cook or a gardener or a mason or a potter until I had time for such things.

I remember feeling it for the first time, although it may have happened before, when I was standing up on a ladder constructing a new, installing new roof joists on our deck on our back porch. And driving screws into the joists I thought – this is strange; I feel like I’m praying. To be doing something as mundane as that and to feel like you’re praying really caught me off guard.

It doesn’t seem to matter what the context is. There are the obvious things, such as the work I do at the church. You could say – oh, that’s God’s work. But I feel it working in the garden. In some ways it makes me imagine that I’m feeling what the medieval craftsmen felt building the cathedrals. They were working anonymously but they were doing what God made them to do. And it was an offering. I’m sure that they felt very close to God.

And isn’t that, after all, what you hope prayer is?