Advent calendar – December 10

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Photo: Epiphany Lutheran Quilters

The Epiphany Lutheran Quilters in Winnipeg, MB, would like to share with you the many blessings we have experienced since our inception nearly a year ago. Our aim was to produce much-needed quilts for refugees across the world. To date, our small group of four to 10 ladies who meet two evenings a month, have produced 122 quilts.

Looking back, our enthusiasm and determination far exceeded our knowledge and we had no means to support such a project. We proceeded, literally, with hope and a prayer.

Our first announcement to the congregation resulted in the plate being passed for a generous donation. We had decided that in order to speed up production, we would make quilts from used sheets and fabric with a batting insert, rather than making traditional quilts using small squares of fabric. Our congregation, our families and friends were plied with requests for sheets but when the response was a little slow at first, the ladies spent their own money at garage sales and thrift shops. Obviously, this would not be sustainable over time.

In April, we applied for and received a grant from the ELCIC Women of Faith Fund which thankfully covers the expensive costs. As well, we contacted several hotels and were able to get laundered sheets, cutting our costs considerably. Brad and Suzanna at the Hilton provided such a bonanza of sheets that we were able to share our good fortune with two other quilt-making congregations. Lakeview Management Inc. and Shauna at the Best Western Hotel added sheets of a different type. We are immensely grateful to all these people as this work, without their kind help, would be much more difficult.

Attendance at our sessions varies. Among the regulars are three people from other congregations whose presence and contributions have been invaluable. Some ladies who cannot attend our twice-monthly Tuesday evening meetings take assembled quilts home to finish the machine-stitched borders.

epiphanyquilts03Stories of interest: One of our ladies has sewn two dozen tops from three-inch strips of fabric which had been prepared as bandages for lepers, but could no longer be used for that purpose.  Another lady was given new material by a neighbour which she prepared for another two dozen quilts. There were other nice surprises: a friend from Selkirk has, on three occasions, brought a shopping bag full of sheets for which she wants no reimbursement—it is her way of supporting our project.

On one garage-sale outing, when we asked for sheets and explained their purpose, the man was really sorry he had none. Twenty minutes later and two streets over, this same man appeared, carrying two boxes of new fabric which he donated free of charge. A few weeks ago, in our collection box at church we found a brand new, unopened queen-size set of sheets. Combined with the hotel sheets, we can make half a dozen quilts of various sizes from that one set.

We feel so fortunate with what has transpired to this point. We believe it is our good Lord working behind the scenes, opening people’s hearts, so that God’s less fortunate children can experience the warmth of those quilts and the reassurance that others care.

And so we wish to express our thanks to everyone who has allowed us the opportunity to be involved with this mission.

We also wish to put out a suggestion or challenge to other congregations across Canada—to start a quilting group in your own congregation if you don’t already have one. Guaranteed, you will be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from seeing those sheets transformed into some really nice quilts. If you picture someone cuddling into that quilt on some cold night, it makes everything worthwhile. Add to that an evening out, a chance to share stories or ideas, an opportunity to make new friends or strengthen existing bonds…honestly, it doesn’t get better.

Submitted by the Epiphany Lutheran Quilters

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