“Tons of Gratitude Sunday” celebrated August, 22, 2021
Every August, MLC celebrates an annual “Blessing and Sending of Kits and Quilts.” That is because over the span of the previous year, two Messiah Lutheran Church groups, the Comforters and Kit Ministry Team, work diligently to deliver to Lutheran World Relief, the quilts and kits each group sews, collects and puts together. This year, “Kit and Quilt Sunday’ coincided with a planned visit by Bishop Kevin Strickland, Bishop of ELCA’s Southeastern Synod, and Assistant to the Bishop, Pastor Justin Eller. Bishop Strickland and Pastor Eller presided and preached at both services of worship and also led a forum in between the services to answer questions about new ministries developing out of the Synod. To cap off the Sunday morning, a “Tons of Gratitude” Celebration took place. It was an outdoor picnic planned and served by the staff and council members in appreciation for the congregation’s unfailing support and generosity through the past eighteen months of COVID-19. The title, ‘Tons of Gratitude,’ was fitting as over 3 tons of kits and quilts were blessed and sent on for distribution by Lutheran World Relief.
During each service, Temple Talks were given by Rhonda Gaede representing the Kit Ministry Team, and Jeannette Beamer, representing the Comforters.
Rhonda Gaede’s Temple Talk on MLC’s Kit Ministry
Here is a summary of Rhonda’s Temple Talk.
Rhonda began by saying she began her adult start in Kit Ministry in 1996 sewing school bags out of donated denim after attending a regional WELCA gathering. She confirmed that yes, indeed, “Tons of Gratitude” was an accurate moniker for the day. She went on to say that as of Tuesday, August 16th , the calculated the weight of baby kits, personal care kits, and school around 4,000 lbs. But on Thursday, August 18th, students attending a UAH Welcome Back service project assembled and boxed 708 more school kits, bringing the final weight of kits to 6,201 lbs!
Here’s the breakdown:
- 183 Baby Kits,
- 791 Personal Care Kits,
- 1463 School Kits
Rhonda encouraged members to bring hand-trucks on Sunday, August 29 to help load the boxes into the trailer which LWR drops off for the weekend as an intake location for other churches also making kits and quilts.
She encouraged anyone interested to get involved to get on her email list. Kit Ministry meets on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall, but work can also be done at home. They do take September off as well earned and deserved rest!
Rhonda finished her talk by reporting that earlier in 2021, baby care kits were delivered to Bosnia and personal care kits were sent to Serbia. She thanked the congregation and volunteers for the generosity received in donated goods and monetary support throughout the year.
Jeannette Beamer’s Temple Talk on MLC’s Comforters Ministry
Here is a transcript of her Temple Talk:
My name is Jeanette Beamer. I am honored to represent the Comforters group at Messiah Lutheran Church in Madison, Alabama. Our group of dedicated ladies make a variety of quilts, lap robes, afghans, and prayer shawls for those in need. Last year, 2020, our work ended in mid- March with the COVID lockdown. During the lockdown many of our Comforter members made hundreds of masks for family, church members, local hospitals, and care facilities. In November we were able to box up 60 quilts we completed before the lockdown and ship them to Lutheran World Relief.
In January 2021, with lockdown fever and weary of making masks, three of us got permission to meet at church to see what we could do to restart our very important ministry despite COVID. We came up with a plan to set up quilt projects to do at home. Quilters could pick the projects up from church and complete the work at their own pace in their own home. We set a goal of 61 quilts – one more than we shipped in 2020. Each Tuesday we would come and replenish the projects and pick up completed quilts. On July 27th, less than a month ago, the Comforters were back meeting together weekly. Despite the shortened year and COVID setbacks, we are blessed to have accomplished much for our brothers and sisters in need at home and around the world.
- 101 quilts will be shipped to Lutheran World Relief for distribution in America and around the world.
- 20 baby quilts have been given locally and to the Huntsville Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
- 8 quilts were sent to the local hurricane relief effort.
- 12 lap quilts were sent to Redstone Hospice for distribution to local hospice centers.
In addition, the Comforters responded to local requests distributing 16 prayer shawls and lap robes this past year. These are available to anyone in need of comfort and prayers
While we get many fabric donations and can always use clean, colored flat sheets in good condition, we need to purchase batting and additional sheets for backings. The current lowest price for quilt batting is $8.12 per quilt with Joann’s coupons and free shipping. Twin flat sheets at Walmart are $8.70 each, so each quilt we make can cost up to $17. We are planning to have our annual fund-raising quilt auction again this November. We make many special quilts and this year have a few donated antique quilts for purchase. The proceeds from the auction pay for the batting, sheet backings, and also thread, tools, sewing machine repair/replacement and shipping costs.
I would like to thank all the Comforters members and others (including husbands, friends, and staff) who have contributed to our ministry this past year. They have been blessings to us, and I thank God for them.
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