'Quilt of vestments' celebrates vocation and ministry of Rev. Richard T. Carruth who died in 2016


Top photo shows the quilt of vestments made for Amanda Carruth Peevyhouse by Carrie Rudy. Bottom left photo shows Rev. Richard T. Carruth and his wife, Patsy, with their grandchildren. Bottom right photo shows the quilt and pillow combination on a rocking chair. (Submitted photos)

By Lane Gardner Camp, Director of Communications, Memphis Conference

Soon after her United Methodist minister father died in 2016, Amanda Carruth Peevyhouse was trying to decide what to do with his many clergy robes and stoles.
While his favorite vestments were buried with him in March of that year, she found herself with many more “cherished” clergy garments in a closet in her home in Newbern, Tennessee.

Amanda said her father wore his vestments “with the utmost respect” during a 37-year career of “leading worship, baptizing infants and adults, and marrying and burying those he loved.”
Rev. Richard T. Carruth, an elder in the Memphis Conference, served numerous appointments, beginning in 1979 until his death in March 2016. He retired in 2005, but was serving three churches (Hornbeak, Mount Manuel and Zion in Obion County) up until the fall of 2015. Amanda’s mother, Patsy, died in 2009.
Amanda said she was “brought up” understanding the importance of her father’s clergy garments and that they should always receive correct care and proper respect.
“Every move we would make within the Memphis Conference,” she recalled, “Dad's vestments were taken by his hands in his vehicle -- taken directly to the new church upon arrival at the new appointment.”
Several months after Carruth’s funeral service in March 2016, Amanda said her oldest son Joyner noticed the garments were “hidden away” in a closet and asked, “Why not make something out of them – like a quilt?"  
And that’s how the idea for a quilt of vestments was born.

But it took Amanda longer than she originally thought to find someone she believed “really understood” her family’s “emotional ties” to the garments and with whom she felt comfortable entrusting the items.
After letting the project “sit for a while,” the answer came via the United Methodist connection.
“Methodists go full circle,” said Amanda.
Amanda’s best friend from high school, Will Hair, attends Ellendale United Methodist Church in Ellendale, Tennessee.
After Ellendale received a new pastor, Rev. Jeff Rudy, in June 2016, Will's wife Katie was telling Amanda about their new pastor and his wife, Carrie, who sews.
Amanda did not know the Rudys, but after learning about Carrie’s sewing business and creativity, she decided to ask Carrie to make the quilt.
“A preacher's wife would certainly understand the symbolic nature of the vestments, along with the respect I yearned for while making this memorial quilt for me and my family,” said Amanda.
Once Carrie agreed to make the quilt and got started, Amanda said she needed little direction.
“Honestly (Carrie) jumped in and made exactly what I had in mind. …I couldn’t believe she was able to complete the quilt just as I had imagined.”

Carrie said she was “honored” to make the quilt for Amanda and her family.
“I have really enjoyed making things for people to help them remember loved ones that have passed on,” she said.
Because Carrie makes stoles for her husband and understands how they are constructed, she believes that helped her fashion the Carruth stoles into a quilt.
"Created by Carrie" is the name of Carrie’s “small side venture” she said has become a ministry for her. “The work isn't perfect, but I do take great care and spent time praying for Amanda and her family while I sewed. I have made a habit of doing that for others as I sew, similar to the way prayer shawls are crafted.”
The front of the quilt Carrie made for Amanda features Rev. Carruth’s stoles and his master’s degree hood while the back is constructed from his robes. Carrie also made a pillow with square scraps from the stoles.
Amanda believes her parents would be pleased with the quilt she describes as “gorgeous.”
Amanda is “grateful” to Carrie for helping create the memorial to her father’s United Methodist vocation and ministry.