An Expression of Faith in Needlework

In 2004, after worn out carpet in the nave of the Cathedral was replaced with stone tile, an inspired and dedicated group began a needlework project, named Expressions of Faith in Needlework. Rather than kneeling on the tile, the idea was to provide comfortable kneelers by engaging needle pointers from all around the Diocese.

Parishes and summer chapels of the diocese have stitched the most beautiful kneelers that are now used at St. Luke’s, honoring their churches with a permanent and beautiful visual presence – at their Cathedral.

The original goal was to stitch 400 kneelers, a daunting task. The initial effort included interfaith, and even international, participation. With this tremendous effort, there are 115 completed kneelers at St. Luke’s.

Half of them are from around the diocese, summer chapels, friends of the Cathedral, and half from St. Luke’s parishioners. In addition 22 kneelers from an earlier 1976 project have been refurbished.

Complete details are printed on the back of each kneeler explaining the name of the church, the meaning of the kneeler design and the name of the stitcher.

Kneelers welcome anyone interested in needlepoint or knitting, on Thursday’s 3-5 pm in the Upper Hall, wear masks & safe distancing.
On Nov 22, 10 am service the Kneeler Dedication will be held.
Please submit your kneeler for the Dedication by Oct 8, Thursday, at 3 pm.
Contact Jeri Edgar or Nancy Mawhinney

* You can order your kneeler kit using the online form at the bottom of the page or by clicking on the button below and mailing your check and form into us:

A Timeline for Needlepoint at St. Luke’s

1976: A Diocesan Altar Guild was begun and all active parishes in the Diocese were invited to make 200 needlepoint kneelers for the Bishops’ Emmanuel Chapel at St. Luke’s. After many years of use the kneelers were replaced by leather kneelers gifted from St. Mary the Virgin, Falmouth.

2004: When Saint Luke’s renovated parts of the Cathedral in 2004, the carpet in the Nave was replaced with stone tiles. Rather than kneeling directly on the new tiles, it was decided that cushioned prayer kneelers were needed and, a very enthusiastic group of volunteers, formed the Kneeler Guild.

Funded by $10 parishioner contributions, the first project was to machine stitch 118 fabric kneelers. In addition, the youth ministry made 18 kneelers with fabric paint on fabric designs. The project was completed in three months, in time for Christmas services that year.

2005: Twenty two of the original Emmanuel Chapel kneelers, in desperate need of repair, were “found” in the Cathedral. Dr. Joseph Edgar, MD. volunteered to restore them and these kneelers became the model for the new kneeler needlepoint project, primarily by using similar dimensions and the predominant deep red color of the background.

Following those guidelines for dimensions and color the design of the Kneeler kit and instruction manual was created. Upholstery foam, hollofil, plywood, rubber feet were ordered and the Kneeler Guild was in business.

The word went out and to cement the marketing effort, and to sell needlepoint kits, a booth was set up at the Diocesan Convention in Bangor that year – and sales were brisk.

2014: Today there are115 kneelers hanging behind pews in the Cathedral, and several more are being stitched. In the future we are planning a kneeler catalog to record the history of this incredible effort by everyone who has participated.

And, the effort will continue to ultimately reach our initial goal. Thank you, everyone for your participation, your support and your continued enthusiasm.

* You can order your kneeler kit using the online form at the bottom of the page or by clicking on the button below and mailing your check and form into us:

300 St. Peters by the Sea Cape Neddick

334 St. Luke’s Church Farmington

339 Trinity Church Saco

363 St. Dunstans Ellsworth

314 St. George Chapel Tennants Harbor

359 St. Albans Scouting Cape Elizabeth

362 All Sts. By the Sea Southport

354 St. Brendan the Navigator Stonington

353 Praise God

352 St. Columbas Boothbay

341 St. Andrews Newcastle

338 Trinity Church Portland

337 St. Francis by the Sea Blue Hill

326 Trinity Church Castine

322 St. Thomas Mosaic Camden

316 St. Peter’s Fish

317 St Andrew & St. John Southwest Harbor

309 St. James Scallop Shell Prouts Neck

306 St. James Sailboat Prouts Neck

308 St. Martins in the Field Biddeford Pool

305 St. Saviours Bar Harbor

304 Andrews Church New Castle

303 Aroostook Cluster

26 Episcopal Shield

25 God’s Garden Flowers

22 Portland Head with USCG Barque Eagle

19 Psalm 24

1 Cathedral Tree of Life

18 Dove Descending

11 Peaceable Kingdom

9 Anchor Cross with Holly Wreath

7 The Lord God Made Them All

5 Oh Jerusalem

3 St. Luke Winged Ox

Ordering Kneeler Kits

To order your kneeler kits, please complete the form below and press “Submit” when finished. The Kneeler Guild will contact you to complete the details of your order.

The complete Kneeler Kit contains:

  • Two #20 Needlepoint needles
  • #14 Deluxe Mono Canvas 20″ x 24″ marked and bound with tape
  • 1 1/2- 1/4 lb. hanks of #940 Paternayan 3-ply wool (enough to cover the entire kneeler)
  • Handbook of illustrated instructions, designs and symbols Information sheet and envelope for mailing the completed canvas
  • Marked graph paper to show placement of designs on all sides.
  • Supplies Not Included:  Paternayan wool for your design, or a wood frame for canvas.

Once you have completed your Kneeler kit Order, please make your check ($75.00 per kit) payable to:

Cathedral Church of St. Luke (Kneeler Guild in memo line) and mail your check to:

St. Luke’s Cathedral
P.O. Box 4141
Portland, ME 04101


 Phone: (207) 799-3061


Thank you for your submission!

Kneeler Kit Order Form

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