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This is one of 52 stoles donated to the Shower of Stoles collection by members and staff of Church of the Covenant. Although each of the stoles is unique, all of them are tied together by the inclusion of a piece cloth from a common bolt of blue and ivory material somewhere in the stole. Covenant is both a More Light and Open and Affirming Congregation. Their strong and public advocacy on behalf of LGBT persons in the life and leadership of the church has drawn many LBGT persons to become a part of the Covenant church family. Their 52 stoles represent the largest subset of stoles given to the collection by any one congregation.
Church of the Covenant, a federated United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church, is steeped in history. Located just off the Boston Commons, the gothic revival building erected in the mid-1800's was one of the first churches built in the Back Bay area. In the 1890's the sanctuary was completely redecorated by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co., including the creation of an extraordinary set of Tiffany stained-glass windows and a chandelier that is said to be the first electrified light installed in a public building by Thomas Edison.
Covenant's history of social justice and human rights work is equally rich. When I visited Covenant, I was intrigued to learn that the church was a designated stop along the "Boston Women's Heritage Trail." One of Covenant's members, Abbie Child, was the head of the Women's Board of Missions of the Congregational Church in the late 1800's. Another member, Dr. Elsa Meder, was one of the first women ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Elizabeth Rice and Alice Hageman, ordained in 1974 and 1975 respectively, were the first women to serve as pastors at a Back Bay church. When they were joined by Donna Day Lower, the church became the only one in the United States with three women clergy. Since opening the "Women's Lunch Place" in 1982, the church has served as a haven for poor women and their children. It is fitting, then, that one of the Tiffany windows is "Four Women of the Bible," including Miriam, Deborah, Mary of Bethany, and Dorcus. Covenant remains on the forefront of work for equality and justice, and is active in the LGBT Welcoming movement in the Boston area and beyond.
Founder, Shower of Stoles Project
Stole Number: 757
Honoree(s): Carole Bull
Donor(s): Church of the Covenant
Geographical Designation: Boston, MA / USA
Faith Tradition: Presbyterian Church (USA) / United Church of Christ
Donation Date: 2001