The Women of Grace for Missions group at the Worthington, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church, has been working on a sewing project for Project Hope & Charité orphans. We asked their president, Sherry Hammers, to tell us about the ministry. Here’s her explanation:
I got the idea for our ladies to get involved in supplying dresses for the orphan ministry while watching “Sewing with Nancy.” The originator of the idea was on her program and immediately I thought that if women from all over the States could supply thousands of dresses for orphans in many African countries, we could and should support our Grace Brethren Ministry Project Hope and Charité. If Brethren women don’t do this for a Brethren ministry, who would? Our leadership team thought it was a great idea and we began planning.
We ask our congregation to donate fabric and double wide, double fold bias binding, encouraging them to first check their “stashes” at home that they have never used and probably wouldn’t be using. The fabric began to come in. My house has become a depot for the materials and I’ve tried to keep them organized. We made templates of the pattern furnished on the Nancy’s Notions web site.
During the year, we had two sewing days that we called “Sew-Ins.” Women brought their machines, we provided irons and ironing boards, and encouraged the ladies who don’t sew to come to help do the non-sewing tasks. At each Sew-In we had between 25- 35 women, each doing a particular job. We supplied lunch and continued sewing into the afternoon. It was such a delight to see the creativity of the ladies as each dress was finished! The dresses were displayed on a clothes line for everyone’s enjoyment.
The dresses were made in three sizes: small, medium, or large. Within those categories, differences in length created “sub-sizes” for a more accurate fit for each little girl. Barb Wooler wanted us to concentrate on the elementary sizes because, just as is true here, the older girls prefer to wear the more European styles available in the market. Teens are teens no matter where they are!
I decided to put each dress in a separate ziplock bag with the size category and the length written on each bag. We haven’t heard how that worked out or if it is necessary to do that, so we still need to evaluate everything we did to know what is the most useful on the field.
We ended the year with almost 250 dresses. Since dresses are subject to wear and tear, I’m sure the need has not been met. It is my conviction that this project could be duplicated all over our Fellowship. It has been such a joy to see Scripture practiced: Matt. 25:36-40, “I needed clothes and you clothed me… ‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”’’
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