A dedicated group of quilters at Kernersville Seventh-day Adventist Church needs the community’s help in donating materials so they can continue making prayer quilts for those who are ill and in need.
And if anyone wants to join them, they can do that, too.
God’s Helping Hands Prayer Quilt Ministry first began at the church in March 2012 after member Rena Whitley heard about a similar ministry from a friend in Florida. When she got to talking to Linda Hosier about starting a group in Kernersville, Hosier mentioned another prayer quilt group that met at a church in Advance.
From there, the women enlisted the aid of several of their fellow church members and friends and a ministry was born. Since then, the group has made and then given away more than 70 prayer quilts.
“They go to people in need. We’ve sent quilts to Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” said prayer quilt ministry member Barbara Peterson, who along with her husband, Duane, himself a former pastor at Kernersville’s Seventh-day Adventist Church, volunteer their time to helping make the quilts.
Most of the people who receive a quilt from the ministry have been experiencing some type of illness. Several of the recipients have since passed away, while others are on the road to recovery. Peterson was presented a quilt from the group when she underwent back surgery.
“Most of the quilts do go to more of the elderly, but we have given some to young people who needed them,” said Whitley.
“Our first two quilts went to cancer victims,” added Peterson.
Whitley has been quilting for almost 40 years. Others in the group have varying degrees of experience. One of the newest quilters is Oloma McDowell, who started quilting four years ago, and is a regular member of the group.
On Tuesday, member Cynthia Key brought her 12-year-old granddaughter, Sierra Napier, who helped her grandmother work on a brightly colored quilt while others ironed and sewed from the machine or by hand. Church Pastor Don Davis even helped tie several of the knots to one quilt, and member Gloria Davidson sifted fabric through a table top sewing machine.
Each quilt features any number of knots that are tied by hand as a prayer is said. Sometimes, group members, like Davis and Duane Peterson on Tuesday, tie most of the knots, but the group also invites the congregation to tie them and as each one is knotted, a special prayer is offered to the recipient.
Some of the quilts have dozens of ties waiting to be knotted, while others have just a few, but not one leaves the building without each one tied with a prayer.
On Tuesday, group members worked on half a dozen quilts while they talked about their ministry. The quilts come in a variety of styles and designs either hand stitched or machine sewn. The group once made a quilt entirely from the fabric from men’s ties.
For a while, Marsha Pierce helped the group with her long arm quilting machine, but since injuring her ankle, Pierce is unable to participate anymore. She had a machine so big that it took up her entire living room, added Peterson.
Working non-stop, the ladies can make one quilt in about eight hours, said Whitley, who had always wanted to learn how to quilt growing up, but her mother never taught her. Whitley decided in 1975 that she would teach herself.
“She dreams about quilts,” laughed one of the members.
McDowell said what she loves most about the group is that they are using their talents to glorify God.
“If God can’t be glorified by the work of your hands, then you don’t need to do it,” said McDowell.
“It is for the edification of the Lord and to show we love them (quilt recipients) too. We want to spread His love,” said Hosier.
“There is no magic in the quilts. It’s a reminder to people that they’re being prayed for,” said Whitley.
While the group members use their own equipment and supplies, most of the material used to make the quilts has been donated. They could always use more, they said.
“Most of the material has been donated. Occasionally, we have to buy some materials because we may not have the right colors,” said Whitley. “Mostly, we need batting, thread and monetary donations. Of course, we could always use more material, but things we really have to have are batting and thread.”
Whitley said the group would welcome anyone from the community who is interested in joining. They don’t have to be members of Kernersville Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“We would welcome anyone who would like to come to quilt,” said Whitley.
Davis praised the ministry’s work.
“I think it’s wonderful. Anytime people have a talent and can use it to help others, that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.
God’s Helping Hands Prayer Quilt Ministry meets the second and third Monday of each Monday at 1 p.m. at the church, located at 896 Old Winston Rd.