Why I Chose a Medieval Weaving Tool as a “Symbol of Office”

By Leanne Friesen, Executive Minister

On a mild day earlier this spring, I sat with members of our CBOQ Board Executive, reviewing plans for my upcoming Installation service. I hadn’t officially started as Executive Minister yet, and I still needed to be ratified in my role at Assembly, but plans needed to be made. We discussed the music, the words of Installation, and plans for what we would do if the motion wasn’t ratified. Then I was told I needed to select my “symbol of office.” I had no idea what this meant.

It was then explained that at my Installation, I would be presented with an item that I felt represented my role as Executive Minister. Tim had chosen a lantern, symbolizing his call to be God’s light. What would I like to choose?

Well. This was a question I had not anticipated, and it gave me pause. The issue wasn’t that I didn’t know the calling God had given me. In fact, I knew exactly what kind of symbol I wanted. I just didn’t know if it existed.

I wanted something that spoke to the call I felt to serve in this role as an institutional weaver – someone who would help gather people in, and keep people connected. Someone who would help bind us together in common mission and purpose, from all our different perspectives and backgrounds.

Obviously, a loom came to mind. But a loom is expensive. And big. Knitting needles weren’t quite right. Neither was a sewing kit. So, I googled. I googled “weaving tools” and “stuff for weaving” and “ancient sewing devices.” Eventually, I was led to an item I’d never heard of: a lucet.

Lucets date back to medieval times and are used to create three stranded cords. Cords woven from lucets are known for being both strong, and slightly springy. The braid they make is strong as a single unit, but flexible, and moveable and able to adapt to a variety of uses. Also, because lucet cords are made using a series of knots, they do not unravel when cut. They do not easily come apart.

I had found the ideal symbol! The lucet perfectly represented my hope to be part of weaving us, as a family of churches, into a beautiful cord – strong and flexible enough to face the challenges that lie before us, and resilient in the face of things that would seek to unravel us.

I received my lucet at my installation service with joy and trepidation. I know the task before me is not an easy one. The challenges that face our churches are not remedied simply by putting a symbolic ornament on a shelf in my new office. But each day when I see that quirky, unusual tool I will be reminded of the call God has given me: to listen, to heal, to serve, to connect to weave. And I will feel honoured to have the privilege God has given me to help create enduring cords together.