Needlepoint and Other Art

St. Peter’s members contribute their artistic talents to beautification of our worship spaces and other parts of our building.  Needlepoint kneelers and benches, a parish quilt, icons and a tapestry are described below.  Look around the building, too, for church rubbings, calligraphy, collages, and paintings.

Needlepoint Kneelers and Benches

Mathew and Mark clergy bench cushions

The founders of St. Peter’s decided to follow the tradition of adding needlepoint “adornments” to the church, a long term project that continues to the present.  They designed kneelers for the chancel rail at the front of the church based on the theme “Seasons of the Church Year.”  Parishioners took needlepoint lessons, and between 1962 and 1972 completed the kneelers, which celebrate Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Annunciation, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, the Trinity, and All Saints, as well as the Eucharist (pictured at the top of this page), St. Paul, and St. Peter.  According to the records, each kneeler contains over 100,000 stitches and took over 300 hours to complete.  Click here for the history of the chancel rail kneeler project and more photos.

Needlepoint covers for individual kneelers in the church began later and is ongoing, with close to 100 kneelers completed so far.  These works highlight feasts and lesser saints of the church. 

Chair Kneeler

Other needlepoint works include our church banner, clergy benches and kneelers, and benches in the narthex.  The church banner shows symbols of St. Peter—founder of the Christian Church and Patron Saint of our church—and the Episcopal shield, the church name and location. 

Needlepoint clergy benches and kneelers contain illustrations of the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jonah; seals of the Episcopal Church and of the Diocese of Virginia; symbols of the 12 apostles; and symbols of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In the narthex, two benches depict 6 prominent men of the church, and 6 prominent women.  Many of these special projects were designed and executed by former rector the Reverend Doctor Tim Dols.  The narthex benches won the Grand Prize at a Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition.

Narthex bench – Six Female Saints

 Parish Hall Quilt

 The beautiful quilt decorating our Parish Hall was created by several parishioners as a gift from the Love Quilt Project in appreciation for St. Peter’s support.  For the Parish Hall quilt, Sunday School children drew pictures of what St. Peter’s means to them and these drawings are the center of each quilt square.  The Love Quilt Project grew out of a St. Peter’s mission trip to South Africa in 2011 which included taking quilts to children in an orphan home.  Parish quilters taught other members of St Peter’s to quilt, and worked together on the quilts at the church.  Some parishioners have continued to make quilts for the LQP. 


Our chapel contains icons contributed by church members who learned icon writing from a class held at St. Peter’s.  Icons – symbolic paintings of Christ, Mary, archangels and saints – arise from Orthodox Christianity, and are used to aid in prayer and meditation.  Look for the icons of the Holy Trinity, Christ, St. Peter, Mary with Christ Child, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, and more.

Cross Tapestry

Near the chapel hangs a tapestry of a cross with representations of the four Gospels and the Holy Spirit, stitched in gold and silver thread on a white background.  The lovely tapestry was made by former rector Rev. Tim Dols as a memorial at the request of a parishioner, and was used as the cross behind the altar in our previous chapel.