Behind Bishop Singh’s Vestments

Excerpted from a message from Colleen Hintz, designer and creator of Bishop Singh’s new vestments. The vestments were a gift from the Episcopal Bishops of African Descent, replacing vestments lost in a house fire last year and marking Bishop Singh’s new start with our dioceses. 

Sign’s new vestment marks his start with the dioceses.

I wanted to share at least part of what was going on in my head as I created your set.

The beauty of the Phoenix rising is, for me, so connected to your reality and all you have been through both personally and professionally. I do believe the Presiding Bishop chose wisely in asking you to take on this unique episcopacy in Michigan. I see you empowering so many with the presence of the Phoenix. I love how the tears of the Phoenix are both yours and theirs to experience. I love how the jewels become sparks lighting the way along the water’s journey. I love how the waters intertwine, interconnect, come close together and move far apart while all at the same time being part of the greater whole.  I see you helping them to experience that reality to the fullest.

The rising phoenix in Sign’s vestments.

I will admit that when it was all finished, I realized there is an error within. Each strand goes over then under then over then under, and on and on throughout the entire chasuble. That is until at one point, there are two overs…

While it was possible to fix, I chose to leave it because of a childhood experience that stays with me to this day.

The blue strand goes over then under the head dress matching the chasuble.

As a young student, I was driven. I wanted only A’s and 100’s. Nothing else was good enough. I can still hear my high school chemistry teacher telling me “girls don’t deserve A’s in chemistry” which only drove me harder. That all was to change when my Girl Scout troop went to NYC the summer of my 15th year on this planet. I can still remember touring the UN. A new Persian rug had just been gifted to the UN and had been hung in a stairwell. It was very large and very beautiful. The guide shared the story that it had taken 3 artisans some 2+ years to create and commented that there were 3 errors within. I immediately tried to find them. She chuckled at me and said I would never find them but each artisan had left their first error in recognition of the reality that only God is perfect… I can still feel that hitting me square in the gut. I didn’t have to be perfect. Only God was!  Even to this day, I prefer to leave my first mistake to honor that reality.

May you wear the set with great joy,

Learn more about Colleen Hintz on her website,