The History of Chrismons
In 1940, Reverend George Pass, an elderly minister who visited her home during the Christmas season, influenced Frances Kipps Spencer. Reverend Pass was from a poor church and, in order to acquire the materials to make decorations, asked Mrs. Spencer for her discarded wrappings. His creations from these meager materials were then shared with his congregation.
Reverend Pass' great devotion moved Mrs. Spencer and her husband, Harry, to continue the tradition and make their own ornaments for decoration of their tree.
In 1957, Mrs. Spencer volunteered to be in charge of the decorations for her church, The Ascension Lutheran Church of Danville, Va. She decided instead of traditional balls and colored lights, that handmade ornaments would be more appropriate.
Mrs. Spencer began to study the monograms of Christ and, after discovering the Latin word chrisma, the name Chrismon was born. Four instructional books were written by Mrs. Spencer with the help of her congregation so that this "ministry" might be shared throughout the United States and the world.
As the popularity of Chrismon making grew, it became increasingly difficult to get supplies. In 1964, Rufty's Garden Shop in Salisbury, NC became the chief supplier of Chrismon components. Harold and Barbara Rufty searched and found manufactures in New York and Japan who could supply the necessary materials for making Chrismons.
One should not underestimate the contributions of Harold Rufty to the growth of Mrs. Spencer's Ministry. He was willing to satisfy this small market ignored by the established crafts industry
"Early Christians used symbols of the early church to transmit the faith and beliefs of the artist/teacher to the viewer. Thus the inspiration was shared and passed on."
- Frances Kipps Spencer