All Saints Day & The New Processional Cross

Rev. Linda McConnel

When you come in the doors of our church, the first thing you see is the magnificent cross on the sanctuary wall behind the altar. It is large enough for the building. It is graceful and modern and ancient all at the same time. It was clearly designed by an artist who cared about the message this cross would send - one of transcendence, permanence, and welcome. We can thank David Tolerton, who passed away in 2000. Betsey Pearson’s cousin, David was a potter and sculptor, whose works are displayed worldwide, including at the Crown Zellerbach building in San Francisco and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. He was living in Big Sur at the time of the commission. (For more on Tolerton’s art, please see the November magazine.) 

David was Betsey’s mother’s cousin. Her mother, Eleanor Hampson was a life-long faithful Episcopalian. Before Eleanor arrived at Good Shepherd, she had held virtually every post a lay person can hold - from Vestry to Altar Guild to Diocesan Representative to Annual Convention. When Eleanor moved to Monterey and became a COGS parishioner she joined the Good Shepherd Legacy Society, and when she passed away in 2017, a portion of her estate came to Good Shepherd, some of which has been used, under Betsey’s guidance, to create the new processional cross which we are blessing this morning. 

This is the transformative power of generosity. It flows out in ways that the original giver cannot know, but that continues to generate art, life, and blessing. Thank you to the original artist, David Tolerton, to the Good Shepherd folk who hired him and participated in the vision, to Betsey who maintains our personal link with the Tolerton vision, and to Eleanor, whose legacy of love for her church lives on.

Tralee Johnson