The All Faiths Chapel hosts three church services each Sunday as well as twice weekly communion services. It is also available to residents for memorial services, Bible study and private meditation.
Eight years ago Mrs. Martha M. Smith of Wheatland, Wyo., then 62, sat in a hotel room in her native village of Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Although surrounded by magnificent scenery, she was lonesome for her beloved Wyoming prairies.
"I was so homesick, I wept," she recalls. "I wasn't able to go out and buy a ticket to start back home right then, so I turned to something that I had learned in Wyoming and which had been a great comfort to me there. I picked up a piece of canvas 12 feet long and 5 feet wide and started a petit point tapestry of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.
Now, eight years and more than 3 million stitches later, Mrs. Smith has completed her work. The finished tapestry is so large (11 feet by 4 feet 6 inches) she can't display it in her apartment at Denver's Eden Manor where she has lived for the last two years. It's a tribute to her patience and ability as a seamstress and artist.
Martha Smith's life had had its share of tragedy. She was orphaned at 13 and had to work in a textile factory. She married in 1916 and her husband drowned a year later. Again she went to the looms to support herself. In 1923 she came to the United States to keep house for her uncle R. Good of Wheatland. Nine years later Good's two sons had married and moved away. The household chores at the Good household declined and Mrs. Smith had free time on her hands. She turned to her sewing skills and petit point as a hobby.
She started with simple designs but soon advanced to making tapestry copies of famous paintings. She works out her own patterns using graph paper. Among the paintings she has recreated with yarn on canvas are The Resurrection, Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, Madonna della Sedia, Castle of Chillon, William Tell Chapel, Peasant Girl at the Well, Winter Night and Rhineland Scene.
In the 33 years she has followed her hobby she's completed an average of a tapestry a year. About half of them have been given away. Up to now she's never had a tapestry up for sale.
"I would like to sell the big one of the Last Supper for a nominal price to a church or religious organization who could in turn sell it for a good profit," she says.
The Last Supper averages 484 stitches a square inch. There are 7,128 square inches in the work and that adds up to 3,449,952 stitches. Mrs. Smith says she has had to use a magnifying glass once in a while to help her eyes.
She says there are 150 colors and shades in the tapestry. Many of the shades are produced by intertwining two, three or four colors of yarn. Mrs. Smith has yarn in some 100 colors, much of it purchased from Europe. Mrs. Smith is not going to make any more big pieces, but she'll carry on her hobby with a small tapestry a year.
Reprinted by permission, Denver Post 1965
The Denver Post, Empire Magazine, April 18, 1965
Hover Senior LIVING Community • Longmont, COlorado • 303-772-9292
DONATED BY GUIDED HANDS
The All Faiths Chapel was dedicated on April 12, 1991 thanks to the financial support and vision of Cordell and Shirley Richardson. When planning to build the Beatrice Hover Assisted Living Residence began, a chapel was in the original design. Because of budgetary considerations the chapel had to be eliminated. At that point the Richardsons, who have ties to the Hover family, decided to finance the chapel. Mrs. Richardson believes that the financing for the chapel came about by a series of what might be called coincidences, but what she knows were God's guiding hands. The Richardsons' owned a piece of property in Longmont that hadn't sold. Miraculously theproperty sold at the time plans for the Chapel fell through. Pat Meade helped the Richardsons' design the Chapel to accommodate a beautiful 11 feet by 4½ feet tapestry art piece depicting the Lord's Supper.
Although Hover Community may not have happened without the leadership and hard work of the Methodist Church, the Richardsons' wanted to emphasize that the Chapel was for every denomination, so it was named "All Faiths Chapel". Friends of many different denominations donated their meditation booklets. One Bible was given by the Congregational Church, another Bible by First Methodist Church, and one Bible had been re-bound and displayed, as it originally belonged to Beatrice Hover. The organ was given by Mr. McGaughey -- a music teacher of many years and the lectern was made by Pat Meade's son and donated by Vivian Lauck -- a long time member of First United Methodist.
ALL FAITHS CHAPEL
Masterpiece in Tapestry by Fred Baker
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