The Akron Children’s Hospital Beeghly campus’ renovated chapel took possession of a beautiful, custom-designed altar cloth that came about after a chance meeting at a hospital-sponsored grief counseling session for children.
Chaplain Sean Drummond got to talking with Trudy Barker during a break at the 6-week session in Akron and came to learn they shared an appreciation of quilting. Barker, whose husband passed away last year, was there with her 11-year-old granddaughter, who she raises.
“We ate together every week, and I told him what I do with quilting. I showed him pictures of ones I’ve made,” Barker said.
The lightbulb went off for Drummond, who had recently added an altar to the Beeghly chapel. The altar was made by hospital maintenance employees, Kevin Gallagher and Gene Eliser, from wood from a tree on the original homestead property where the hospital now sits.
“I mentioned to her we were renovating a chapel and could use some special cloths for the altar,” Drummond said. “I envisioned adding vestments for special services we do for Ash Wednesday, Easter and the Christmas season.”
Although Barker had never made altar vestments before, the two set out undeterred to collaborate on a design. It was Barker’s idea to make them reversible – the first one having an Ash Wednesday theme on one side and Easter on the other – to save on cost and storage space.
“I’m so excited,” she said after finishing the first one. “I can’t wait to see it on the altar at the chapel. I spent so much time on these, and I’ve never had my work placed anywhere before.”
Drummond says the cloths are a nice complement to the other improvements in the renovated chapel, which include a stained glass window, new carpet and paint, a privacy screen for Muslim prayers and soundproof walls.
The chapel is located in Building D on the 1st floor behind the information desk tucked away in a quiet alcove. Chaplaincy services can be reached anytime by dialing ‘0’ on a hospital phone or by calling 330-543-8254 during business hours.