The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first
ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn, arrived in
early October excited about their opportunities.  When they saw
their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They
set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first
service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting,
etc., and on DEC 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished.
On DEC 19 a terrible tempest -- a driving rainstorm hit the area
and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank
when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of
plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the
sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.
The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing
what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service,
headed home.  On the way he noticed that a local business
was having a flea market type sale for charity so he stopped in.

One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored,
tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross
embroidered right in the center.  It was just the right size to
cover up the hole in the front wall.  He bought it and headed
back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running
from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She
missed it.  The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church
for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he
got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall
tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked
and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle.
Her face was like a sheet.  "Pastor," she asked, "where did you
get that tablecloth?"  The pastor explained. The woman asked
him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were
crocheted into it there.  They were.  These were the initials of the
woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he
had just gotten the Tablecloth. The woman explained that before
the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria.
When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband
was going to follow her the next week.  She was captured, sent
to prison and never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the
pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving
her home, that was the least he could do. She lived on the other
side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a
housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church
was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end
of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the
door and many said that they would return. One older man,
whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued
to sit in one of the pews and stare & the pastor wondered why
he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the
tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that
his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria
before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife
to flee for her safety, and he was supposed to follow her, but
he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his
home again all the 35 years in between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a
ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the
pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man
climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked
on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever

True Story - submitted by Rob Reid
The Tablecloth