“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book…when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.”
Church women’s groups may have dwindled in recent decades, but make no mistake: a gathering of women with a collective intention can still accomplish great things.
Led by Sarah Higgins, a group of women at Mt. Moriah Lutheran Church in China Grove – who call themselves the Quilting Bee – have been meeting regularly to quilt and sew for more than a year now. With their nimble fingers, these women are serving others in very tangible ways.
The group recently made quilts for the residents of Faith Farm, a home in Dallas, N.C., that provides transitional housing for homeless female veterans. They also made dining scarves for the participants of Trinity Living Center, which offers adult day services in Salisbury. Both Faith Farm and Trinity Living Center are ministries of Lutheran Services Carolinas.
When Quilting Bee members learned about Faith Farm, they wanted to get involved.. They began to sew quilts for the veterans, who will take the quilts with them when they are ready to live independently.
Using donated material, as well as backing and batting purchased with a grant from Thrivent Financial, the Quilting Bee crafted 12 quilts for Faith Farm.
“We had fun doing it,” said Alice Stephens, a retired schoolteacher who worked on the project.
The Mt. Moriah women presented the quilts Tuesday evening to Faith Farm program director Judith Johnston, who spoke to church members about the mission of the home. Faith Farm helps struggling female veterans rebuild their hope and their lives. Knowing that others care for them is uplifting and helps rebuild wounded spirits, Johnston said.
“Every little stitch is important” because the effort shows the women that someone cares about them, Johnston said. “We really do appreciate this. The quilts – I know they’re going to love them.They’re beautiful.”
Working on the quilts was especially meaningful to Kiana Sinz, a Quilting Bee member whose mother was an Army veteran who battled mental illness and experienced periods of homelessness.
“Doing this for Faith Farm was, for me, an amazing thing,” said Sinz, who had never quilted before joining the group.
The women at Mt. Moriah also managed to work in another service project for Lutheran Services Carolinas: sewing dining scarves for Trinity Living Center.
The material for the scarves – in colors and patterns suitable for both men and women – was purchased with a “Dining with Dignity” grant from the Margaret C. Woodson Foundation, a grant that also funded special tables and silverware.
The Quilting Bee group created a “loaves and fishes” sewing miracle – they managed to sew 119 scarves with material intended for 60. Those scarves are now being used instead of bibs at Trinity Living Center as a more dignified way for participants to protect their clothing during mealtimes.
As an organization, Lutheran Services Carolinas learned about dining scarves several years ago when representatives from the Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Connecticut traveled to Salisbury to provide education about compassionate dementia care. One of the presenters wore a pretty and elegant scarf throughout the training session.
No one thought much about it until she revealed that her scarf was actually a dining scarf – in fact, one of the very scarves used at mealtimes instead of bibs by residents of the center. The point was clear: the scarf was attractive and dignified, and an adult would not be embarrassed to wear it.
TLC Executive Director Christina Joyce was thrilled to receive such an abundance of scarves and impressed with the generosity of spirit shown by the women of Mt. Moriah.
“They took on the project with open arms,” Joyce said. “They were wonderful. I look forward to future collaborations with this group.”