Clothing ministry

With around 200 pillowcase dresses available to children, Kernersville Moravian Church (KMC) is looking for area churches to deliver them during upcoming mission trips.
Judith Bullock, member of KMC and Pillowcase Dress Ministry, explained that the ministry started in 2013 after Betty Hollifield, chair of the church’s world mission group, approached women in the church with a story about AIDS being so rampant in countries throughout Africa.
Bullock explained that Hollifield told them that in African countries, men who had AIDS believed that if they had intercourse with a virgin, they would be cured.
“So when girls were being raped, some women came up with the idea of sewing a cross into the bottom of dresses, which scares the men away,” she explained. “These dresses are made by Christian women and each of the dresses are blessed. We gather around and hold hands and bless the dresses, the people that carry the dresses, and the child that will wear it.”
After the Pillowcase Dress Ministry was formed, Bullock said they had about 12 women in the group who met regularly; however, over the years, the group has dwindled.
“Now there are about four of us, so we are happy to have anyone help to make the dresses,” she said. “We have the directions to make the dresses and the fabric.”
Bullock said they initially made the dresses out of pillowcases, hence the name, but because finding an abundance of pillowcases isn’t easy, they now just start with any fabric.
“They are easy to make. You just take a pillowcase and cut off the top, then you make a little casing for the elastic to go through. Then you mend the arms with bias tape and that makes the ties,” she said. “Sometimes, I’ll add ruffles and we always add a cross somewhere on the dress.”
Bullock mentioned that she usually hand stiches or embroiders the cross, while other people will sometimes use glitter glue or other things to make the crosses.
Bullock said that they also work closely with Sparta United Methodist Church, who supplies dresses to KMC’s Pillowcase Dress Ministry.
“They give us the dresses and we get them out to the children,” she said.
Along with the dresses, Bullock said she has also started making tote bags and boys shorts.
“Whenever I hear of a need, I see what I can do to help with that situation,” she said, as she shared that she made 25 tote bags for Sedge Garden United Methodist Church to send to Kenya for women to carry personal hygiene items.
Bullock said they began making shorts for boys after they learned that boys needed clothing too.
“Several years into this, we started making simple shorts for boys with an elastic waist and a pocket, then we go buy a t-shirt to go with them. We’ve been told that at some of these places, there are so many children that they can’t all get everything, but they all get something.”
In the five years that Bullock said they have been making pillowcase dresses and shorts, they have made and given 2,483 articles of clothing that have made their way to numerous countries including the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Uganda, Nicaragua, Kenya, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia, El Salvador, and Honduras.
Bullock mentioned that even though she will never meet the children that will wear these clothes, she prays for them.
“I’ll never get to meet this child or hold her, but I’m saying a prayer for her,” she said, as she expressed the joy it gives her to make the dresses knowing that they are going to help children around the world. “It’s something that has been placed on my heart. It’s my mission and my passion, and as long as God allows me to sit at my sewing machine, I’m going to make these dresses.”
Although she doesn’t physically take the dresses to the children that receive them, Bullock said she is very thankful to the many churches who have hand delivered them during their own mission trips abroad.
“I’m so thankful to all these churches that allow us to be part of their mission work through these dresses,” she proclaimed.
When they send dresses with churches during their mission trips, Bullock said they usually pack a suitcase with 50 pounds of clothing, which she said is the airline limit.
“If the church needs it, we will even supply the luggage so that they can leave it there when they come back home,” she said. “We only ask that when churches take these dresses, that they bring back some pictures for us.”
Currently, Bullock said they have some clothing set to go to Uganda during a mission trip in October, but she said she would like to be able to send some clothing sooner as they have roughly 200 dresses available.
If there are any churches that have plans to go on a mission trip that are interested and willing to take pillowcase dresses with them, Bullock said she would love to supply them. If interested in taking the pillowcase dresses, or if you are interested in helping make pillowcase dresses, contact Bullock through KMC by calling 336-993-3620 and leave a message.

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